Recently I reviewed ATIs newest mid level card the X600XT and while it struggled a little at the highest resolutions it walked away with a silver medal for its low power consumption, overall performance, value for money and high 2D and 3D image quality.

It is with alot of interest today I turn Driverheavens new test rig to the PCIe version of the gold award winning powerhouse that is the X800XT. For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last six months its time to get reacquainted with ATIs newest range of cards as well as the new ATI technologies over here.

So whats the big deal with PCIe? Without me going over it all again in this article you can get information over here.

This specific card we are reviewing today, codenamed The R423 is the non platinium edition meaning it is clocked at 500mhz core and 500/1000mhz ram.

As you can see from the shots above the board is basically the same as its AGP counterpart. There are some differences, with the PCIe connector being the most noticeable. The board is the european version as it includes the Rage Theatre chip, this is excluded from the USA model.

There is also a new power connector for the R423 as you can see (above/bottom/left), on this reference engineering sample this is "hotwired" into the connector for older power supplies and ATI will include an adaptor when the card hits the shelves for those of you without a new "compliant" Power supply.

Ive heard talk that the R423 will run without the additional power feed, this is true to a certain extent but I found stability issues unless it was connected.

In the image above left you can see the R423 with the X300 - ATIs new low end board which ill be reviewing at a later date. Above right is an image of ATIs evolution, from the 9700 (left), the X600XT (middle) to the X300 (right).

Now we have looked at the board lets have a look at the testing rigs used for this article. Ill be putting the R423 against its AGP counterpart just to see if there are any speed differences in some of todays most popular games.


Next: Test Setup