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PowerColor RADEON X800 XL 512MB (PCIe)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Sunday, 10th July, 2005
Rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars  

More ATI 512MB Cards Arrive At Our Lab

NVIDIA did not only launch its latest generation graphics card, the GeForce 7800 GTX on 22nd June; the painless and easy availability of the cards in retail stores on the actual day was a gauntlet thrown at ATI. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the paper launches that have characterized other such product launches in the past. What a surprise: we have a product that had already been shipped even as it was launched.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a notable lack of news from ATI. With its CrossFire technology yet to be made available despite its public appearance at Computex, and its next generation graphics core, codenamed R520 rumored to be facing low yields in production, ATI has its hands full at the moment. So technically, the newest product available from ATI is actually one that was launched in May and which we are only now seeing in mass quantities from most vendors. This is none other than the RADEON X800 XL 512MB. In fact, with the spate of cards of this class we have been receiving, we should be reviewing quite a few of them in the very near future.

As in our review of the Sapphire Hybrid RADEON X800 XL 512MB , the extra 256MB of memory only looks good on paper (for now). More is not necessarily better here and the demands of handling the extra memory ends up slowing down the 512MB card compared to its 256MB peers in the gaming benchmarks we tried. However, like some of NVIDIA's 512MB consumer graphics cards, these cards are meant to tackle the upcoming breed of games that could possible overwhelm existing 256MB graphics cards when high quality settings are used. Should that be the case, the RADEON X800 XL 512MB would most likely have the last laugh since it has a big buffer to accommodate all the extra high quality texture maps and effects buffers. We can't really tell for sure till such games do arrive, but let's just say ATI is providing some future proofing options with the release of the RADEON X800 XL 512MB. Our next retail product of this category comes from PowerColor that sports their new SCS2 cooling module and we at® took some time to test this new arrival:-

PowerColor's RADEON X800 XL 512MB.

PowerColor 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
    • 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
  • 512MB DDR3 SDRAM (Samsung GC-16, 1.6ns)
  • Default Memory clock = 490 MHz (980 MHz DDR)
  • 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 connector
  • 1 x mini-DIN connector
Drivers & Software
  • Driver support for Windows 98SE / Me / NT / 2000 / XP
  • Hitman: Contracts
  • CyberLink PowerDVD
  • CyberLink Power2Go
  • CyberLink PowerDirector SE
  • CyberLink MediaShow SE
  • CyberLink PowerProducer DVD
Other Information
  • PCIe power connector required
  • PCIe x16 slot required

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