TABLE OF CONTENTS
RADEON X800 XL appeared at the end of last year, being actually a remake of the R423, updated by the new 0.11-micron process technology. That is this chip contains 16 pixel and 6 vertex pipelines. However, it was initially intended for the middle end market, thus it runs at lower frequencies than the R423. Despite the die complexity (16 pipelines and a 256bit memory controller), the prime cost of this product is much lower than that of the R423. That's why it was decided to design the new chip instead of sending the R423 chips, which failed the frequency tests, to the $300-$350 sector. To all appearances, ATI calculated that it would be more profitable than using such expensive chips in cheaper video cards.
Thus, we have a super-powerful architecture, which has already proved itself in High-End cards, but its frequencies are reduced. Of course, I mean ATI processors in general. It's hard to compare ATI with NVIDIA: both 3D graphics trends have their pros and cons. ATI offers very fast calculations, short pipelines, but consequently larger expenses for texturing (these cards have smaller, worse organized caches). NVIDIA provides less faster ALU and shader operations, but its pipelines are long and saturated with caches, so they offer excellent fast texture and stencil operations. We are not going to touch upon supporting shaders of various versions, the common denominator here is Version 2.0 anyway. There is something coming on with Shaders 3.0, but that's in future... And we are interested in the present moment and the nearest future.
Proceeding from the above said, the X800 XL at a reasonable price will have all chances for popularity. That's why all ATI partners at once set their sights on manufacturing it and they are right.
Besides, in this case the canadian company does not impose ready-made solutions but sells chips separately (or together with GDDR3 memory), so the partners can manufacture these cards on their own, sticking to the reference design so far.
MSI is the old friend of the Russian market, currently being ATI's partner (not only NVIDIA), it actually manufactures all models ATI has in stock. It manufactures the fastest High-End cards (they are actually manufactured by ATI and then sold to its partners) as well as the cheapest products like the X300SE. An old friend is always of high account, that's why there is no point in describing MSI merits.
Let's proceed to the card.
This video card is obviously manufactured on MSI plants, but it's a complete copy of the reference design. There is even no need to change the traditional MSI red color, because it matches the traditional color of all reference cards from ATI. I can only note that the MSI lacquer color is more saturated, closer to crimson, while ATI cards have a slightly pinkish-lilac tint.
I repeat that this product supports VIVO, where VideoIn is based on RAGE Theater.
Besides, this card has two DVI jacks, regular monitors with d-Sub can be connected via the corresponding adapters that come shipped with the bundle.
Let's review the cooling system.
The cooling device is screwed to the card (that's very good, unlike the old plastic joint-pins), there is thermal paste between the chip and the heatsink.
Installation and Drivers
VSync is disabled.
Test results: performance comparison
We used the following test applications:
Summary performance diagrams
MSI RX800 XL-VT2D256E PCI-E - first of all I want to say that the quality of this card is very high, 2D image at 1600x1200@85Hz is excellent. The cooling system is very good, it's quiet (I cannot tell you what will happen in a couple of months, I had no opportunity to use this card for so long), the system's got illumination for modding fans.
Here are the test results: the card for about $350-370 fairs very well among the GeForce 6800 and even the 6800GT (the latter is obviously more expensive). Its disadvantages are inherent in all ATI products: defeats in DOOM III and CR (these games require fast texturing and stencil operations, that's what NVIDIA is better at). If a similar product from HIS with an IceQ cooler were available at the same price, it could have borne the palm. But firstly, this card is not on sale; secondly, it's much more expensive, so it seems to me that the X800 XL from MSI is currently beyond competition in terms of price, performance, bundle, cooler efficiency, and illumination.
You can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards in our 3Didest.
According to the test results, the MSI RX800 XL-VT2D256E PCI-E
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)
Andrey Vorobiev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 23, 2005.
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