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Sapphire RADEON X800 XT 256MB
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Friday, 15th April, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

All In the Family

The ATI RADEON X800 series of graphics card now consists of five flavors – X800 XT Platinum Edition, X800 XT, X800 XL, X800 PRO and the X800. Apart from the new RADEON X800 XL and X800 cards, the rest use visual processing units (VPU) based on ATI’s R420 core, with the X800 PRO model as one of the more basic models and the Platinum Edition naturally positioned as the performance leader. While the X800 XT Platinum Edition is used to hogging the limelight, the X800 XT has been resigned to playing the role of bridesmaid. Unlike the 12 parallel pixel pipelines found in the X800 PRO, both the X800 XT Platinum Edition and the X800 XT come with a full complement of 16 pixel rendering pipelines. Hence, the only differences between them are the higher core and memory frequencies found in the Platinum Edition. Given such inherent clock speed disadvantages, it would be interesting to see how the X800 XT performs against the Platinum Edition and whether overclocking can narrow the gap. In this review, we will be checking out Sapphire’s implementation of the X800 XT, the Sapphire RADEON X800 XT 256MB.

Aliens got your tongue?

The Sapphire is an AGP compatible card that comes with 256MB of GDDR3 memory and as is the norm with most high-end graphics cards nowadays, DVI-I output and VIVO (Video-In, Video-Out). At first glance, the Sapphire resembles closely the ATI reference design, even down to the red PCB and the design of its cooler. In fact, the drivers found in the given installation CD are none other than Catalyst drivers from ATI. Only the design of the decals on the heatsink marks this as a Sapphire product. While some manufacturers have started to include dual DVI-I outputs for their cards, Sapphire has stuck to the usual configuration of having an analog VGA connector, a nine-pin mini-DIN connector (S-Video compatible) and the DVI-I connector.

Presenting the Sapphire RADEON X800 XT 256MB.

The retention bracket of the cooler is visible on the other side of the card, along with the four back-facing RAM chips.

The ATI Rage Theatre chip gives the Sapphire video capturing functions.

A good thing about the default cooler is that it has a rather low profile and will not intrude into the neighboring PCI slot when installed. Also, a Molex power connector is required as the AGP slot alone is unable to fulfill its power requirements and a Y-power cable splitter is included for that.

The copper cooler sits low on the VPU. The purple Molex power connector is at the top corner.

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