When you think of Asus, the word "quality" immediately comes to mind, and this is just reaffirmed with today's newest review piece, their new PCI express top of the range graphics card the AX800XT. There isnt much we havent covered before with regards to the X800XT series of cards, but for those of you new to Driverheaven or the X800 technology you can recap here.

All PCIe variants of the X800 cards are NON platinium editions meaning out of the box the figures you will see are 500 core and 500/1000 ram. AGP platinium editions are 520 core and 560/1120ram.

This card really is very beautiful, its not the usual red we so commonly see with ATI but a burnt orange PCB with pure copper cooler along with a totally user definable fan controller via software (which ill detail later).

The cooler is also attractive in darker conditions as it radiates a blue glow, perfect for those into case modding.

One of my general annoyances with ATI is with their reluctance to have a default design structure with twin DVI ports, commonplace with the top of the range Nvidia 6800's. The R3xx and R4xx chips have a VGA, DVO (digital video out) and a TMDS out (DVI, single TMDS). To get dual DVI you need to get a DVO - TMDS convertor chip, ATI currently do this on their high end Firegl boards but to keep costs down on their boards they dont use the extra chip.

The AX800XT goes all the way and includes this additional chip for dual DVI, those of you on dual TFT will appreciate this extra as the video signal out from a standard VGA gives inferior overall image quality.

Finally an ATI board with high quality dual DVI out (above), perfect for displaying clean, crisp images if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford twin TFT's, like the Dell 2001fp's in the image on the right

With regards to the package ASUS really do cram it in, you get a TV out adaptor x 1, DVI to VGA output adaptor, a free USB webcam with 300k resolution (dont ask me why), Deus EX 2 Invisible War, Power Director 3, Media Show, Ulead Cool 3d and Photo Express, ASUS DVD XP and the ASUS utilities and driver disc.

A very comprehensive package indeed, with a wonderful little cd carrying case which matches the PCB colour of the board ! Im not quite sure why Asus included a webcam with the package but for those without one its actually a decent little performer and with software Asus supply "video security" can inform you on the changes within a location you are recording.


Next: Software/Drivers