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First Look at GeCube RADEON X800 XL AGP 256MB
Graphic Cards | First Looks
Fri 08 Apr 2005



 

The twin stalwarts of the graphics card industry - ATI and NVIDIA, may have been quick to embrace the new PCI Express x16 graphics card interface upgrade when it was launched, but not so the end users. Many are still reluctant to abandon their AGP compatible motherboards and ATI has recognised this with the introduction of the Rialto bridge chip. Basically, the Rialto bridge chip translates PCI Express signals into AGP signals, thereby allowing ATI to manufacture AGP products based on some of their native PCI Express RADEON X800 Visual Processing Units. This allows ATI to compete more effectively with NVIDIA by filling the gaping hole in their AGP product family. Today, we will be taking a brief look at one of the first graphics cards with the Rialto chip, the GeCube RADEON X800 XL AGP 256MB.

An eye-catching cooler unit but everything else is standard, including the usual rear I/O connectors

The GeCube RADEON X800 XL AGP 256MB is longer than your typical graphics card, which may cause some minor inconvenience for those with smaller or cramped casings. The reason for the extra length has been attributed to the Rialto bridge chip and the additional circuitry involved.

Notice the length of the card. The raised pink square at the lower middle of the card is the Rialto chip.

The colourful decal decorated cooler covers almost the entire card and provides active cooling for the GDDR3 memory chips. The fact that the RAM chips on the GeCube RADEON X800 XL are clocked at a higher than usual frequency of 1.04GHz DDR may be the reason why passive cooling was not adopted. After all, the RAM chips on the reference ATI board was only clocked at 980MHz DDR.

Besides the onboard Rialto ASIC, the GeCube RADEON X800 XL also comes with an ATI Rage Theatre ASIC that gives the card VIVO (Video-In, Video-Out) capabilities. Cables and accessories included with the package are a DVI-to-VGA adaptor, a combo cable for Composite and S-Video output, and a Component output dongle. The bundled software is rather sparse, with only Cyberlink’s PowerDVD, Cyberlink's PowerDirector and only one game which is Counter Strike: Condition Zero.

We also did a quick benchmark of the GeCube RADEON X800 XL on our usual test PC to get a feel of how the new AGP version fares among other graphics card variants.

While only one benchmark score is reflected here, it should give you a feel of what's to be expected from the new RADEON X800 XL AGP 256MB graphics cards. As seen in the graph, the GeCube's higher clocked frame buffer gives it the edge over competing cards that are shipped at default clock speeds. In other words, it is like an overclocked card straight from the box, but this one's guaranteed. The bundled software may be a bit thin compared to offerings from other manufacturers but it is suitable for those who are only looking for a competent card.

The GeCube RADEON X800 XL AGP 256MB is available is stores now at a suggested retail price (SRP) of S$659.

Features:

  • Powered by ATI RADEON X800 XL GPU and Rialto bridge chip
  • 256MB of 256-bit GDDR3 memory
  • 16 parallel pixel pipelines
  • Dual display + HDTV support
  • S-Video TV-out port
  • Full support for DirectX 9.0 and the latest OpenGL 2.0 functionality
  • SMARTSHADER HD technology
  • SMOOTHVISION HD technology
  • 3Dc High quality 4:1 Normal Map compression technology
  • VIDEOSHADER HD
  • HYPER Z HD

For more information, please check out the manufacturer’s website at: http://www.gecube.com/mbu/productCategory.php?proID=77