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Sapphire Hybrid RADEON X800 XL 512MB (PCIe)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Wednesday, 18th May, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


Consumers Get Half A Gigabyte Of Frame Buffer

Having launched all major product SKUs, the two primary commercial graphics processing solution leaders (ATI and NVIDIA) have been a little too quiet as of late. Instead, strong rumors, speculations and even leaked information have been spreading all around the Internet with regards to their next generation visual processing units (VPU) and graphics processing units (GPU) respectively. Once again, we are nearing the verge in time where these two titans of the graphics industry are gearing to unleash their new generation product lineup, while the tech-savvy folks battle it out in online forums as to who would reign supreme. Of course it's still more than a month before the shroud is officially unveiled with all the hard facts and numbers, which we hope, would awe us.

You'll get half a gigabyte of memory and much more on this Sapphire Hybrid RADEON X800 XL graphics card.

NVIDIA has been comparatively quieter than ATI in graphics product releases as of late and that's because they were lucky to have had the right GPUs along with the HSI bridge chips to populate both the AGP and PCIe platforms in short notice with new solutions. While waiting out to debut their upcoming G70 (codename) based graphics cards, NVIDIA launched a 512MB version of their GeForce 6800 Ultra. However, it seems that ATI too had plans for 512MB frame buffer solutions and quickly volleyed back with the RADEON X800 XL 512MB with plans for a RADEON X850 XT 512MB in the near future should the need arise. Sapphire was among the earliest vendors who had one of these products ready and we were fortunate to lay our hands on a retail unit with their RADEON X800 XL 512MB graphics card. Read on to find out more about this card as well as a first hand look if half a gigabyte frame buffer made any impact to existing gaming scenarios.

Sapphire Hybrid RADEON X800 XL 512MB Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • ATI RADEON X800 XL Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
  • 400 MHz Default VPU clock
  • 16 parallel rendering pipelines
  • 6 parallel geometry engines
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • SMARTSHADER™ HD
    • 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
  • SMOOTHVISION™ HD
    • 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
  • HYPER Z™ HD
    • 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
  • VIDEOSHADER™ HD
    • 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
  • 512MB DDR3 SDRAM (Samsung GC-20, 2ns)
  • Default Memory clock = 490 MHz (980 MHz DDR)
RAMDAC
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant and HDCP ready)
  • Secondary DVI output powered by Silicon Image SiI1162 TMDS transmitter
I/O Faceplate Connectors
  • 2 x DVI-I connectors
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN connector
Drivers & Software
  • Driver Support for Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP
  • CyberLink PowerDVD 5.0 (2-channel)
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 3.0 DE
  • Music Match
  • Sapphire TRIXX Utility
  • Sapphire Select (game choice package)
  • Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (optional)
  • Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (optional)
Other Information
  • 2 free expansion slots required

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