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» Channels :: Graphics Card
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Saturday, 9th April, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


With the launch of ATI’s X850 series of graphic cards last November, the honor of leading the ATI graphics lineup has passed from the flagship X800 XT Platinum Edition to its X850 counterpart. Although the X800 XT Platinum Edition was certainly a top class performer, it was hindered by the lack of availability in the retail market. As a result, it commanded a hefty premium. No doubt, this situation has contributed to the erosion of ATI’s dominance of the high-end graphics segment but since then, it has improved significantly as supply is finally catching up with demand. Coupled with the passing of the performance crown to the X850 XT, this has led to more attractive prices for consumers hoping to pick up the older, but still powerful RADEON X800 XT P.E. based cards. Gamers who have long lusted for such an impressive card but found the price tag daunting would now have a reason to smile. Therefore, it's about time we took a closer look at this card.

Our review today features an offering from one of the leaders in the market, the ASUS AX800XT/TVD 256MB. One of the largest manufacturers around, ASUS has always strove to distinguish itself from the competition with the quality of its engineering. However, it was the overwhelming contents of the package that caught our eye initially.

Everything but the kitchen sink seems to be included.

Here is the product's full list of specifications for the technically inclined.

ASUS AX800XT/TVD Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
  • Stock VPU clock = 520MHz
  • 16 parallel rendering pipelines
  • 6 parallel geometry engines
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • AGP 8X/4X/2X
    • Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
    •  2.0 Vertex Shaders
      • Supports vertex programs up to 65,280 instructions with flow control
      • Single cycle trigonometric operations (SIN & COS)
    • 2.0 Extended Pixel Shaders
      • Supports up to 1,536 instructions and 16 textures per rendering pass
      • 2nd Generation F-buffer technology accelerates multi-pass pixel shader programs with unlimited instructions
      • 32 temporary and constant registers
      • Facing register for two-sided lighting
      • 128-bit, 64-bit & 32-bit per pixel floating point color formats
      • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
    • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® via extensions
    • 2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes
      •  Sparse multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sample patterns, and centroid sampling
      •  Lossless Color Compression (up to6: 1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
      •  Temporal Anti-Aliasing
    • 2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes
      • Up to 128-tap texture filtering
      • (Adaptive algorithm with bi-linear (performance) and tri-linear (quality) options)
  • 3Dc™
    • High quality 4:1 Normal Map Compression
    • Works with any two-channel data format
    • 3-level Hierarchical Z-Buffer with early Z test
    • Lossless Z-Buffer compression (up to 48:1)
    • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
    • Z cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
    • Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
    • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
    • FULLSTREAM™ video de-blocking technology for Real, DivX, and WMV9 formats
    • VIDEOSOAP™ noise removal filtering for captured video
    • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
    • Adaptive Per-Pixel De-Interlacing and Frame Rate Conversion (temporal filtering)
  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Single and dual link external TMDS transmitter support for high resolution and/or multi-monitor DVI configurations
Graphics Memory
  • 256MB DDR3 SDRAM (Samsung AF-22, 1.6ns)
  • Default Memory clock = 1.12GHz (560MHz DDR)
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant and HDCP ready)
I/O Faceplate Connectors
  • 1x DVI-I connector
  • Video-in, TV-out port
  • Standard VGA monitor output
Driver & Software
  • Driver support for Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP
  • CyberLink Media Show 2.0
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 3DE
  • Ulead Cool 3D SE 3.0
  • Ulead Photo Express SE 4.0
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War
  • Counter Strike: Condition Zero
Other Information
  • AGP 2.0 / 3.0 slot required (1.5V)
  • Webcam (300K pixel) included      

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