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Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E
Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E

May 2, 2006








TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Video cards' features
  3. Testbed configuration, benchmarks
  4. Test results
  5. Conclusions



What is Palit? Oh yes, an old computernik the antiquarian will shut his eyes in delightful memories of Daytona, eternal Noname, and prices for NVIDIA GeForce... In a great number of cases this title had been used for Palit products. The company had a name, but only for Chinese. The trademark also existed for them alone. The company - thing-in-itself: everything was manufactured for its own needs. And customers, who made its profits, were offered noname products with unknown characteristics. All of them came under the famous NVIDIA GeForce title... Even earlier, NVIDIA Riva....

At the sight of an old computer with a purple video card inside, an antiquary computernik will recall all those grudges against noname, against its 2D quality, foraging for the goddamned filters, which must be unsoldered to bare RAMDAC, ... But those days are gone.

While three years ago Palit representatives muttered at exhibitions that they didn't care whether their products were sold under their trademark or as noname, the current situation is totally different. Just as the situation with TUL, which used to be called C.P.Technology, but fell under the influence of Foxconn, got reeducated, and now the PowerColor brand is not shunned, even respected. Meaning that we see a situation when one Chinese company pesters the other one. This process is most certainly accompanied by lots of dismissals, punishments like dinners from a single cup of rice, etc.

A similar thing happened to Palit as well. The company got a new owner and entered a powerful holding. Perhaps, its employees were reprogrammed on a mass scale, as the product quality got much better. The company finally started to care about its brand (but these people still preferred to forget about Daytona, not to remind them of the dark past). The company even decided to promote its own brand. Of course, it is not all plain sailing, so we could come across GeForce 6600 cards with various suffixes (not LE!), where half pipelines were locked, though they were sold as sterling 6600 cards. I hope it was the severe heritage of the past, which the company got rid of.

Now let's clear up the situation, which scares a lot of users. About Gainward and Palit. The fact is, the holding that had bought Palit has now acquired Gainward as well. This holding did a strange thing - it merged both brands to create internal competition. My hopes were for a more reasonable decision to take these brands apart to different sectors (for example, Gainward - Hi-End and Top Middle, while Palit - lower class products. Or Palit might have produced regular cards in all segments at nominal frequencies, while overclocked and non-standard cards might have been manufactured by Gainward). To my great regret, Chinese thinking overwhelmed here and my hopes fell to the ground. So our readers can see THE SAME CARDS, I previously reviewed from Gainward, with stickers from Palit. Besides, Gainward possesses no manufacturing facilities of its own. All the cards for this company are manufactured on Palit plants (this decision was made by owners of both companies). But it must be noted that components and assemblage of Gainward cards are controlled by Gainward. So I rest assured that the famous quality of Gainward cards will not be damaged.

But you may have already guessed that the same cards are used by Palit (why have two production lines, when part of the products can be rerouted to Palit needs). That's bad for Gainward - their brand will be lost as well as their unique nature. But it's good for Palit: the quality of its cards gets much higher and the company can boast of new designs (the fact that it's a Gainward design is withheld). Besides, Palit can sell its cards cheaper than Gainward (R&D must be covered and maintaining a company in Germany is much more expensive than in Taiwan - Gainward HQ are in Munich, Palit HQ - in Asia).

And now let's have a look at the cards.

Video Cards



Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 6800 GS (NV42)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 485 MHz (nominal — 425 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 650 (1300) MHz (nominal — 500 (1000) MHz)

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of Shader Vertex Processors: 5

Number of Shader Pixel Processors: 12

Number of texture processors: 12

Number of ROPs: 12

Dimensions: 220x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: red.

Output connectors: VGA (d-Sub), DVI (Single-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 7600 GT (G73)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 575 MHz (nominal — 560 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 750 (1500) MHz (nominal — 700 (1400) MHz)

Memory bus width: 128bit

Number of Shader Vertex Processors: 5

Number of Shader Pixel Processors: 12

Number of texture processors: 12

Number of ROPs: 8

Dimensions: 170x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: red.

Output connectors: VGA (d-Sub), DVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E
GPU: RADEON X1600 PRO (RV530)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 575 MHz (nominal — 500 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 600 (1200) MHz (nominal — 450 (900) MHz)

Memory bus width: 128bit

Number of Shader Vertex Processors: 5

Number of Shader Pixel Processors: 12

Number of texture processors: 4

Number of ROPs: 4

Dimensions: 170x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: red.

Output connectors: VGA (d-Sub), DVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.






Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 1.4ns memory access time, which corresponds to 700 (1400) MHz.




Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 1.2ns memory access time, which corresponds to 800 (1600) MHz.




Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front and back sides of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 1.4ns memory access time, which corresponds to 700 (1400) MHz.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E
Gainward Bliss 6800GS Goes Like Hell 512MB PCI-E
<


Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Gainward Bliss 7600 GT Golden Sample 256MB PCI-E
Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E
Reference card ATI RADEON X1600 XT


Comparison with the reference design, back view
Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E
Gainward Bliss 6800GS Goes Like Hell 512MB PCI-E
<


Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Gainward Bliss 7600 GT Golden Sample 256MB PCI-E
Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E
Reference card ATI RADEON X1600 XT


All the cards with NVIDIA GPUs are apparently complete copies of the products from Gainward, which we already reviewed. They even operate at the same frequencies. Only Gainward has a right to use the GLH title for cards with increased frequencies. In this case the company invented suffixes Super and Sonic.

Only the X1600 PRO based card is a unique model. Its design is overhauled and differs from the reference one. For some reason, the card uses 256Mbit memory chips instead of 512Mbit one, which would have reduced the number of chips. Well, it's up to designers to decide what is cheaper. Operating frequencies of the card are almost like in the X1600 XT, much higher than in a usual X1600 PRO card. That allowed to introduce the Golden notion for this product (there was certainly no time to come up with anything more original, Golden is a "hackneyed" word).

The cards have TV-Out with a unique jack. You will need a special bundled adapter to output video to a TV-set via S-Video or RCA. You can learn more about TV-Out for cards with NVIDIA processors here. What concerns the X1600 PRO, you can read about its TV-Out peculiarities here, here, and here.

All the three cards are equipped with VGA (d-Sub) and DVI. Analog monitors with d-Sub (VGA) interface are connected to DVI with special DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit x85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface



Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E
As this cooler is exactly the same as in the counterpart product from Gainward, I'll repeat the description of that cooling system.

The new cooling system is almost based on the reference cooler, which now has slightly different contours.

There is a copper core inside that touches GPU and memory chips to increase cooling efficiency.

It works in the same way: the air is sucked into a heatsink by the turbine and then driven though the cooling fins.

Like all such devices, it has one drawback: the hot air is not driven out of a PC case. But this drawback is not too serious for such cards, which do not lead in heat dissipation.

The cooler is quite noisy. But fortunately, RivaTuner (written by A.Nikolaychuk) can control such devices and the new design does not break this pattern, so the turbine speed can be easily reduced to eliminate noise.

By the way, we have information that the fan blades will become transparent and will be illuminated.







Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E

It works in the same way: driving the air through a closed heatsink. The main advantage of this design is that the fan rotates rather slowly making the cooler very quiet. Just remember how noisy the reference cooler on the 7600 GT card was! Only RivaTuner could calm it down. This one is great, no need to adjust anything.

This cooler has an interesting retention system: I have never seen a heatsink with hooks that go through the PCB and catch on the springy binding on the plate at the back of the PCB.

Unlike the card from Gainward, this model does NOT have separate heatsinks on memory chips.







The X1600 PRO based card is equipped with a cooler from Zalman. That's a well-known product. We shall soon review it separately, so there is no point in describing it here. I'll tell you this - it's very quiet and efficient!

Bundle

Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E; Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers, CD with an old game, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter, adapter for the composite TV-Out.


Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers, CD with an old game, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter, adapter for the composite TV-Out, TV cord.




Packages.

Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E

Quite a traditional box (jacket) design for all cards with NVIDIA GPUs. Card's details are published on stickers. The white cardboard box has all components arranged into sections.




Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E

The company created a new design for the 7th series of GeForce cards - a larger glossy box without a jacket.

All components are arranged into sections inside.




Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E

There has been created a new attractive design for the new series of ATI RADEON X1xxx cards. It's about time. The box looks good!

The glossy jacket also hides a white box with sections, so that the card is secured inside the package.






Installation and Drivers

Testbed configuration:

  • Athlon 64 (939Socket) based computer
    • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 4000+ (2400MHz) (L2=1024K)
    • Motherboard: ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16
    • RAM: 2 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz (CAS (tCL)=2.5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=3; Row Precharge (tRP)=3; tRAS=6)
    • HDD: WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA

  • Operating system: Windows XP SP2 DirectX 9.0c
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • ATI CATALYST 6.3; NVIDIA Drivers 84.21.

VSync is disabled.

Test results: performance comparison

We used the following test applications:

  • Splinter Cell Chaos of Theory v.1.04 (Ubisoft) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, maximum test settings, shaders 3.0 (for NVIDIA cards)/shaders 2.0 (for ATI cards); HDR OFF!

  • Half-Life2 (Valve/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, demo (ixbt01 . The tests were carried out with maximum quality, option -dxlevel 90, presets for video card types are removed from dxsupport.cfg.

  • FarCry 1.33 (Crytek/UbiSoft), DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, demo from the Research level (-DEVMODE startup option), Very High test settings.

  • DOOM III (id Software/Activision) — OpenGL, multitexturing, test settings — High Quality (ANIS8x), demo ixbt1 (33MB!). We have a sample batch file to start the game automatically with increased speed and reduced jerking (precaching) d3auto.rar. (DO NOT BE AFRAID of the black screen after the first menu, that's how it should be! It will last 5-10 seconds and then the demo should start)

  • 3DMark05 1.20 (FutureMark) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings — trilinear,

  • The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay 1.10 (Starbreeze/Vivendi) — OpenGL, multitexturing, maximum texture quality, Shader 2.0, demo 44.

    I wish to thank Rinat Dosayev (AKA 4uckall) and Alexei Ostrovski (AKA Ducche), who have created a demo for this game. I also want to thank Alexei Berillo AKA Somebody Else for his help.

  • F.E.A.R. v.1.02 (Multiplayer) (Monolith/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, maximum test settings, Soft shadows disabled.

  • Call Of Duty 2 DEMO (Ubisoft) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings — maximum, shaders 2.0, tested in Benchemall, demo and a startup script, readme contains necessary instructions



Summary performance diagrams

As I have already said that Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E and Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E are no different from their Gainward counterparts, the test results of GeForce 6800 GS 512MB can be seen here, the results of 7600 GT - here.

What concerns Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E, thanks to its increased frequencies this card is outperformed by the X1600 XT only by 5-7%. So it makes sense to consult summary diagrams - it's quite easy to find its overall rating.



You can find our comments in the conclusions.


Conclusions

  1. Palit Super GeForce 6800 GS 512MB PCI-E is practically a complete copy of the same accelerator from Gainward. So we can say for sure that specialists from this company did a great job! Excellent performance, even more expensive cards are outperformed, interesting design, moderate prices. Besides, it's gratifying to see such a good product, manufactured by Palit.

    The company still pays much attention to the quality. Excellent 2D image quality even at 1600x1200@100Hz.

    I repeat that cooler noise can be controlled, so there is nothing negative about it.



  2. Palit Sonic GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E is a copy of the previously reviewed model from Gainward. This video card is an excellent choice for a potential gamer, who want to buy a good accelerator for $220-$240 (the prices should drop to $200 and lower in future). This card (operating at its standard frequencies) sometimes catches up with a more expensive X1800 GTO. It's a good product in each respect! Yep, there are some disadvantages in AA+AF mode, where the X1800 GTO features preference due to the 256-bit bus. But on the whole, the resume is positive.

    The accelerator worked brilliantly, we had no gripes with it, excellent 2D quality!



  3. Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E is a no less successful solution from NVIDIA's competitor - ATI. To be more exact, based on a processor from this Canadian company. The $120-$130 card, which performance reaches the level of the X1600 XT (short of 5-7%), fairs well in its sector. A cooler from Zalman is a special treat.

    This accelerator also aced our tests, we had no gripes with it, excellent 2D quality!



You can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards in our 3Digest.








Palit Golden RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB PCI-E gets the Original Design award (April).








Theoretical materials and reviews of video cards, which concern functional properties of the GPU ATI RADEON X800 (R420)/X850 (R480)/X700 (RV410) and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 (NV40/45)/6600 (NV43)



We express our thanks to
Palit Russia
for the provided video cards.



PSU for the testbed was kindly provided by HIPER





Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)

May 2, 2006



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