For a while now the 6800 Ultra and X800 XTPE have been batting
it out for the performance crown at the top of the AGP card
market, until now neither ATI or Nvidia have released a
product to move their AGP lines forward and due to this
users of PCI Express have found their performance is slightly
higher than those using AGP parts. With the development
of Rialto, ATI’s PCI express to AGP conversion technology
ATI began moving lower spec PCI Express products to AGP
a few months ago. Today we have a look at their first move
to convert a high end product…the highest infact,
the X850 XTPE.
As this is a reference sample card all that
arrived with it was the external power cable to allow you
to power the card. Retail packages will vary greatly in
their software bundle so two to watch out for will be Sapphire
and Asus. Both companies always provide decent hardware
and software bundles with their Radeon cards.
display high resolution images, some software may class
these as "popups"
The X850 core has been around
for a few months now, though this core is slightly different
from the rest as the chip features an AGP interface. On
the surface of the core the only distinguishing feature
from the PCIe cores is the AGP logo. Speeds of the card
are the exact same as the PCIe part with core at 540mhz
and memory at 590mhz.
The card itself follows a
standard design, infact it only really differs from the
PCI Express model in 2 ways….
The first difference is the
power connector used. In the AGP model it is a 4pin Molex
rather than the 6-pin of the PCI Express model. And the
second difference is of course the interconnect used…AGP
rather than PCI Express. For comparison purposes here is
a picture of the X850XTPE in PCIe flavour…
Both cards do of course feature
ATI’s stock dual slot cooler which is almost silent
most of the time, it can get a little louder during a demanding
3D session if your case cooling isn’t up to much but
on the whole its very quiet.
The rear of the card is also
a standard design, you have the ram heatsink
which provides passive cooling to the memory on the rear
of the card and the rage theatre chip which as always looks
after the cards video in/out features.
An interesting design
decision we found was the lack of dual DVI ports on this
card. We would have expected that all top end cards would
now come with dual DVI…this doesn’t appear to
be the case though and our X850 XTPE arrived with a single
DVI and a single VGA out. The card is of course capable
of dual DVI should a retail partner decide to add this feature
(Likely candidates will be Powercolor and Asus).
So what’s underneath
all that cooling???
Removing the fan and
heatsink from the front of the card reveals the cards core
and memory. The core is very similar to the other X8 series
cards as you can see.
Memory is split between
front and back of the card and on the front we have 4 chips.
The chips are Samsung branded 1.6ns parts which are rated
up to 600Mhz.
On the rear of the card
you can see the same memory layout…