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ATI RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB
ATI RADEON X300SE HyperMemory 32 (128)MB PCI-E
ATI RADEON X800 AGP 256MB
by the Example of Video Cards from Sapphire
as well as Sapphire RADEON X850XT PE PCI-E 256MB
and Sapphire RADEON X800XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB

June 1, 2005








TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Video cards' features
  3. Testbed configurations, benchmarks
  4. Test results: RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP
  5. Test results: RADEON X300SE HM
  6. Conclusions



Let's talk about the time. Yes, about the time that sometimes drags itself along, making you count days and hours, or flies like a rocket. Of course, it's all relative, it passes through the prism of human conscience and it even depends on an industry.

What concerns me, a veteran (not in the direct sense of this word! :) ) of the IT industry, I remember well the computing machinery "Ural", huge cabinets stuffed with electronics, immense terminals... It seems so close... a couple of years ago maximum. But it was actually decades ago.

To say nothing about the flight of time in 3D graphics. Andrey Kuzin from 3DNews will agree that it's as though he and his partner received the desired Voodoo2 only six months ago and held it in trembling sweating hands, not daring to believe their luck. But it actually happened seven years ago. In this space of time Konstantin Martynenko (aka Kenguru) has grown from a youth carried away by 3D graphics, who established the Reactor Critical web site and published articles with such sentences as "Look at this dude... Can you see the filtering?", into an experienced Sapphire Technology employee (we'll talk about this company a tad later :) ).

I have a friend, who got addicted to NVIDIA products (it was the Riva128 and then the RivaTNT). Even now that this product line is long discontinued, he still feels nostalgic about "Riva-ism".

Thus we can see that the time sometimes holds back its horses, though it generally tends to accelerate. Do you remember that NVIDIA and ATI silently agreed on launching new products each six months and designing totally new products once a year? While ATI manages to keep its promise this year, though it had treated us only with the overclocked R300 under different dressings for two years, NVIDIA is dead calm. A year passed since the NV40 announcement, and nothing new has come up after it. The launch of NV45 does not count, because it's the same NV40, but with a HSI bridge. It seems high time for NVIDIA to offer a cardinally new solution, but we'll wait and see what the G70 will be like. Perhaps the company shamefacedly hides the old technologies under the new codename (that is another overclocked mode or more pipelines).

Though I said that the canadian company managed to keep its promise, and that there would be launched a new generation product soon (R520), and that a new stepping of the R420, called R480, had been launched prior to that, I should admit that all these releases look very pale. Just think about it: the company designed a new 0.13-micron chip with 16 pipelines, it's very intricate though it has only 160 million transistors versus 220 millions in NVIDIA NV40. It was not all plain sailing at first, the yield of effective chips was very low, so the X800 XT had been in deficit until the beginning of this year.

But then the situation with the R420 or the R423 normalized (it's the same R420, but with PCI-E instead of AGP). The processing technology was streamlined, the products were set up for mass production. But why kid around with customers giving a new name R480 (RADEON X850) to the same product and offering it as a new video card? Intel launched many steppings of the same processor, but they are all called Pentium4, instead of Pentium4-a, 4-b, etc. But ATI always gives new names to improved products and shouts about its innovations being the best in the world. But it hushes up that the X850XT equals the X800XT PE in frequency, thus it's THE SAME PRODUCT. It was decided impertinent though to give a new name to the same product and the memory frequency was slightly reduced. But our tests demonstrated IDENTITY of the cards. Indeed, the X800 XT PE and the X850 XT have different Device ID in BIOS, that's why the drivers may be configured so that the X800 XT will have no optimizations, its performance dropping, and the X850XT will have plenty of them, shooting forward. We have seen it with the R350 (RADEON 9800 PRO), which differed from the R300 (RADEON 9700 PRO) ONLY by the frequency. However, the drivers at that time were optimized so that the 9800 PRO was faster than the 9700 PRO at the time its sales started. Later on these optimizations were introduced for all cards, the delta dropped, but that didn't bother the Canadian company. It already skimmed the cream.

The company designed a chip that easily runs at 540 MHz instead of 520 MHz (the difference is not that great!), so what? Why didn't it call the chip like X800 XT EE (Extreme Edition) and switch the production to a more profitable chip? Why on earth did they cut a dash and pretended that the X850 differed from the X800? Do you remember the old story with the RADEON 9200 and 9250, when the same chip with lower frequencies got a higher index? Is the arithmetic forgotten in Canada? It applies both to PCI-E solutions as well as to AGP solutions, because the R420/481 (R423/480) are like twins.

I understand that the middle end R430 is manufactured by the 0.11-micron processing technology and it also needs a name. So where were marketing specialists, when cards were named X600, X700? Why AGP video cards are called 9600, while PCI-E video cards are X300? The overclocked versions of the same AGP products are named logically - 9600 PRO, XT. But for some unknown reason, their PCI-E counterparts are called X600 PRO, XT instead of X300 PRO, XT. These cards should have been called X300, the X700 series would become X500. And the new R430 would be called X700. There would be no need in confusing people with the X850, the product would retain the X800 name. And each series would have its SE/PRO/XT. Everything would be nice and logical. But no, it's too boring for marketing, it's not interesting, they need confusing people and make them buy THE SAME PRODUCT under a different name... Alas.

Later on, I will get back to criticism. And now let's return to the subject of the article. So, we are going to examine five video cards: from the currently most powerful X850XT PE to the weakest in a huge series of DX9 cards - X300SE HM. HM stands for HyperMemory - a counterpart of TurboCache from NVIDIA, that is when a video card uses the system RAM as its own when necessary, taking advantage of the huge PCI-Express bandwidth.

The new cards have some unique solutions among them, i.e. those cards that we are going to review for the first time: the RADEON X850 PRO (a counterpart of the previous X800 PRO, but running at higher frequencies and having the PCI-E interface) as well as the RADEON X800 AGP. The latter card is very interesting, because the AGP segment already suffers from a great deficit of accelerators at $280-$350 (only the GeForce 6800 scarcely manages to satisfy the demand, but ATI offers nothing in this sector).

The five video cards under review include only three video cards manufactured by Sapphire: the X800 AGP, the X800 XL Ultimate, and the X300SE HM. The two remaining cards are manufactured by ATI's orders. Its partners just buy ready solutions.

As ASUS or Gainward with Prolink, eVGA, BFG taken together are important to NVIDIA, Sapphire is the first ATI's partner, actually one of the largest nowadays, that manufactures products ONLY on processors from this canadian company. It has earned great authority for the years on the Russian market, so there is no need in describing this Hong Kong manufacturer.

We should proceed to video cards.

Video Cards



Sapphire RADEON X850 XT PE PCI-E 256MB
Interface: PCI-Express x16

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective):: 540/590 (1180) MHz

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 6

Number of pixel pipelines: 16

Dimensions: 190x100x31mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: red.

Output connectors: d-Sub, DVI, S-Video.

VIVO: available (RAGE Theater)

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB
Interface: PCI-Express x16

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective):: 505/530 (1060) MHz

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 6

Number of pixel pipelines: 12

Dimensions: 190x100x16mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: red.

Output connectors: d-Sub, DVI, S-Video.

VIVO: available (RAGE Theater)

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB
Interface: PCI-Express x16

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective):: 400/495 (990) MHz

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 6

Number of pixel pipelines: 16

Dimensions: 190x100x35mm (the last value is the maximum thickness of a video card including a cooler).

PCB color: sky-blue.

Output connectors: d-Sub, DVI, S-Video.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Sapphire RADEON X800 AGP 256MB
Interface: AGP 2x/4x/8x

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective):: 400/350 (700) MHz

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 6

Number of pixel pipelines: 12

Dimensions: 220x100x16mm (the last value is the maximum thickness of a video card including a cooler).

PCB color: red.

Output connectors: d-Sub, DVI, S-Video.

VIVO: available (RAGE Theater)

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB
Interface: PCI-Express x16

Frequencies (chip/memory — physical (memory — effective):: 325/300 (600) MHz

Memory bus width: 64bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 3

Number of pixel pipelines: 4

Dimensions: 170x80x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: green.

Output connectors: d-Sub, DVI, S-Video.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.






Sapphire RADEON X850 XT PE PCI-E 256MB Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB
The cards have 256 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front and the back sides of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 1.6ns memory access time, which corresponds to 625 (1250) MHz.




Sapphire RADEON X800 AGP 256MB; Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB
The cards have 256 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front and the back sides of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 2.0ns memory access time, which corresponds to 500 (1000) MHz.




Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB
The video card has 32 MB of DDR SDRAM allocated in two chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips. 3.3ns memory access time, which corresponds to 300 (600) MHz.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
Sapphire RADEON X850 XT PE PCI-E 256MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X850 XT






Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB






Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X800 XL






Sapphire RADEON X800 AGP 256MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X800 XL AGP









Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X300 SE











Comparison with the reference design, back view
Sapphire RADEON X850 XT PE PCI-E 256MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X850 XT






Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB






Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X800 XL






Sapphire RADEON X800 AGP 256MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X800 XL AGP









Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB
Reference card ATI RADEON X300 SE








Even a single look is enough to understand that Sapphire doesn't deviate from the reference-designs, all the cards comply with the layout recommended by ATI (which is a good thing considering the PCB complexity). And those cards that are not manufactured by Sapphire are all the more reference copies (hint: if you see a sicker on the back of a card running P/N 102A....., it means that this card is made by ATI order, it's not manufactured by a partner on its own).

Only the X300SE HM has some peculiarities. It's clear that the card differs from the X300SE by only two memory chips (instead of four) in BGA-package instead of TSOP. Nevertheless, the reference X300SE HM has only one DVI connector, while the product from Sapphire has two (it's an advantage of the card from Sapphire).

Let's review the cooling systems.

Sapphire RADEON X850 XT PE PCI-E 256MB

It's a turbine-type device. The turbine is installed approximately in the center of the step housing that draws the air through the end of the plastic pipe and blows it out of the PC case through the bell. The video card is equipped with a special grid bracket so that a user couldn't install the card into a PC case where the second slot after PCI-E is bracketed.

Turbine rotational speed is from 2500 to 6000 rpm, so the startup noise is strong. It's not actually a noise, it's turbine roar similar to FlowFX. The roar stops a couple of seconds after startup and the turbine rpm drops to minimum.

You can watch a video and evaluate the noise at this link (1.7MB, AVI DivX 5.1).




Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB Sapphire RADEON X800 AGP 256MB Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB

It's a closed-type heatsink with an off-center fan, which drives the air along the heatsink over GPU. The air is taken from inside the system unit and is driven out into it as well. The heatsink on the core is made of copper alloy. Memory chips on the front side use the same cooler, chips on the back side are cooled with a special plate.

A fan inside the cooler is equipped with a tachometer, so the rotational speed changes from 2500 to 5000 rpm depending on the heat. The startup noise is insignificant.

You can watch a video and estimate the startup noise of the system unit at this link (1.1MB, AVI DivX 5.1). You can also compare it to the background noise without the video card (740KB, AVI DivX 5.1).







Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate 256MB

The Ultimate title used to be granted to cards with totally noiseless cooling systems (i.e. fanless), but now the situation has grown more complicated. Cards demand more substantial cooling, which cannot be provided even by kilograms of copper heatsinks (except something extremely heavy and consequently expensive).

So the company decided to search for a fan solution, which should be effective and noiseless, so that almost no noise could be heard. Zalman is famous for such products. That was why it was decided to buy products from this company and equip video cards with these huge but very effective and almost noiseless cooling systems.

It's a pity that Sapphire does not take care of its brand as Zalman does of its own. That's the reason we see the proud brand of this company on the back, though Sapphire could have ordered coolers with its own brand, which would have helped its promotion.










Sapphire RADEON X300 SE HM PCI-E 32(128)MB

It's a simple pin-fin heatsink made of aluminium alloy. I wonder why black heatsinks with densely packed pins have gone out of use, they used to be so popular?









Now I want to get back to how the coolers look. I've been asking myself one question for a long time: why do engineers always choose the most awkward in form, silliest looking, and even squalid reference cooling systems? Cooler manufacturers are in immense quantity! You can order any solution you like! But no! NVIDIA had been equipping its video cards with horrible militarist-looking coolers for many years (noisy ones at that):




To say nothing of FlowFX, a real laughing stock. By the way, the GF 5950 demonstrates a return to a quieter version of FlowFX. We all remember a piece of steel reinforcement stuffed under this cooler, pretending to be a memory heatsink. It was an atrocity! There seems to be no taste and probably even no designers! Even if it's a reference, the card not intended for sales. But NVIDIA and ATI are well aware that lots of their partners don't even get around to replace stickers on coolers, to say nothing of replacing cooling systems proper. In fact, I can list only 5-6 companies that try to improve this situation. The other ones don't care.

The same applies to ATI. WHY ON EARTH did they replace a decently looking small cooler with a two-slot howling monster, which NOBODY NEEDS? - the frequency difference between the X800 XT PE and the X850XT PE is only 20 MHz (the X800 XT PE and the X850 XT offer equal frequencies!) Do the NVIDIA's laurels for monstrous coolers haunt their dreams?

If a two-slot cooler is inevitable, why shouldn't you look around! Take HIS, for example! It was the first company to cooperate with Arctic Cooling, which cooling devices are famous for their efficient and noiseless operation. We cry out to ATI, of course. I would have never installed into my computer such a monstrosity as a reference cooler from the X850XT. Why should I listen to that howling, even if at startup only? I can always turn to HIS with its cooler, more efficient, more effective, as well as noiseless.

I'm sure I can find other solutions from various manufacturers of cooling systems. Zalman, after all. But no, reference cards always suffer from either howling coolers, or ugly coolers, or inefficient ones. I don't know why. There are only several exceptions: for example, a cooler a la GeForce4 Ti. It looked nice, it was quiet, and it was efficient for its time. This solution is still employed by video card manufacturers in this form or another.

Now what concerns advantages of cooling systems from Sapphire. It goes without saying that offering video cards with such a device already installed has its advantages, even considering that users may buy Zalman coolers on their own. Firstly, it's not that simple to install coolers even in factory conditions; secondly, many users will surely not venture to unscrew anything on a video card to replace a cooler. We have also seen that the cooling systems in X800/X800XL/X850PRO are very satisfactory in their efficiency and noise level, and they are not that large. It's good news, considering that the first X800XL cards from Sapphire had horrible cooling systems, bellowing like slaughtered monsters in games.

Note that not a single video card from those we review today is equipped with two DVI connectors. All of them offer d-Sub and DVI. You can also see that some cards are equipped with RAGE Theater, thus they support VIVO.

Bundle

All the cards except the Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB
User' manual, CD with drivers, games (they are already getting outdated), RedLine, PowerDVD, cards with VIVO come shipped with PowerDirector. DVI-to-d-Sub, HDTV, VIVO adapters (for cards supporting VIVO), external power cable (different for AGP and PCI-E cards, it's not necessary for the X800 XL).


Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB
CD with drivers, S-Video-to-RCA adapter. It's almost like an OEM bundle.




Packages.

All the cards except the Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB

All the powerful (so to speak) cards under review have similar boxes, so we shall show only one of them as an example. A glossy box with a window at the back, which demonstrates the card itself. Everything is conveniently arranged into plastic sections inside. The boxes differ by inscriptions, labels, and art design.







Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB

Starting from this card, the company offers so called Light Retail. It's something between OEM and a sterling box option. To be more exact, products were shipped in this way before, but now the design is different. It's essentially an OEM, but in a small box. It saves room in transit (that's why OEM is so popular), but a card is safely packed inside a box and no sorting is required at a wholesale store.









Installation and Drivers

Testbed configurations:

  • Athlon 64 (939Socket) based computer
    • CPU: AMD Athlon 4000+ (2400MHz) (L2=1024K)
    • Motherboard: ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe based on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
    • RAM: 1 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz
    • HDD: WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA

  • Athlon 64 (754Socket) based computer:
    • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (2400MHz) (L2=1024K)
    • Motherboard: ASUS K8V SE Deluxe based on VIA K8T800
    • RAM: 1 GB DDR SDRAM PC3200
    • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA

  • GeForce 6800 GT (ASUS EX6800GT, PCI-E, 256MB GDDR3, 350/1000 MHz)
  • GeForce 6800 GT (Gainward Powerpack Ultra/2400 GS, AGP, 256MB GDDR3, 350/1000 MHz)
  • Operating system: Windows XP SP2 DirectX 9.0c
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • ATI drivers 6.552 (CATALYST 5.4); NVIDIA drivers 71.89 WHQL.

VSync is disabled.

Now what concerns overclocking. Of course, such a cooler on the X800 XL Ultimate gives an opportunity to test its overclocking capacities and see what frequencies it can reach without additional cooling, using only the standard cooler from Zalman. We got the following results: 460/1147 MHz! Actually, it's a record among the X800 XL based video cards I have ever reviewed. The temperature conditions are also within the mark (I have deliberately set the rotational speed of the cooler to 100%, because it's noiseless anyway):




It would also be interesting to overclock the X850 PRO and see whether it can catch up with the X850 XT. Especially as the overclocked mode was very impressive: 590/1200 MHz. Temperature conditions are also within the mark.




Test results: performance comparison

We used the following test applications:

  • Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness v.49 (Core Design/Eldos Software) — DirectX 9.0, Paris5_4 demo. The tests were conducted with the quality set to maximum, only Depth of Fields PS20 were disabled.

  • Half-Life2 (Valve/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, demo (ixbt01, ixbt02, ixbt03 The tests were carried out with maximum quality, option -dxlevel 90, presets for video card types are removed from dxsupport.cfg.

  • FarCry 1.3 (Crytek/UbiSoft), DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, 3 demos from Research, Pier, Regulator levels (-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 (FutureMark) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings — trilinear,

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

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



Game tests that heavily load pixel shaders 2.0.

TR:AoD, Paris5_4 DEMO



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: TRAOD






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: TRAOD




This test heavily loads Shaders 2.0, it mostly uses the calculating power of chips. That's why ATI solutions are traditionally good at it. However, it didn't help the X300SE HM, which lost the battle to the 6200TC. What concerns the X850 PRO, this card outperformed the X800 XL, but in the overclocked mode it even reached the X850 XT performance. The overclocked X800 XL Ultimate even caught up with the 6800GT. The X800 AGP demonstrated very good results versus the competing 6800. It expectedly lagged behind the X800 PRO.

Game tests that heavily load vertex shaders, mixed pixel shaders 1.1 and 2.0, active multitexturing.

FarCry, Research



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: FarCry Research






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: FarCry Research






FarCry, Regulator



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: FarCry Regulator






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: FarCry Regulator






FarCry, Pier



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: FarCry Pier






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: FarCry Pier




Obviously, the X300SE HM does not hold up in the race here either. It's completely outperformed. It probably happens due to the lower memory operating frequency, or perhaps the TC algorithm in NVIDIA drivers is more effective than HM in the drivers from ATI.

The X850 PRO demonstrated results, which are nearly identical to those of the X800 XL (at a higher price!), it outperformed the competitors from NVIDIA, and in the overclocked mode it nearly reached the X850 XT level. The X800 AGP proved itself on a par with its competitor.

Game tests that heavily load both vertex shaders and pixel shaders 2.0

Half-Life2: ixbt01 demo



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: Half-Life2, ixbt01






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: Half-Life2, ixbt01






Half-Life2: ixbt02 demo



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: Half-Life2, ixbt02






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: Half-Life2, ixbt02






Half-Life2: ixbt03 demo



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: Half-Life2, ixbt03






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: Half-Life2, ixbt03




ATI driver optimizations for this game helped the X300SE HM to somehow grade up to its competitor, but still the victory is unattainable.

The X850 PRO also demonstrated the performance similar to that of the X800 XL, it outperformed the competing 6800, and graded up to the 6800GT. But it didn't catch up with the X850 XT even in the overclocked mode (high as it is).

The X800 AGP fairs very good, being a worthy competitor.

Game tests that heavily load pixel pipelines with texturing, active operations of the stencil buffer and shader units

DOOM III



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: DOOM III






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: DOOM III






Chronicles of Riddick, demo 44



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: Chronicles of Riddick, demo 44






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: Chronicles of Riddick, demo 44






Chronicles of Riddick, demo ducche



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: Chronicles of Riddick, demo ducche






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: Chronicles of Riddick, demo ducche




It's all clear in this block of tests: NVIDIA's family won the battle, it's clear even without a thorough analysis.



Synthetic tests that heavily load shader units

3DMark05: MARKS



RADEON X850 PRO/X800 AGP

Test results: 3DMark05 MARKS






RADEON X300 SE HyperMemory

Test results: 3DMark05 MARKS




I guess that the test description alone is enough to understand that the ATI family will have a head start here, except the X300SE HM.

RADEON X850XT PE

Summary performance diagrams



These tests clearly demonstrate that the X850 XT PE is an overall leader among the single-card accelerators (ignoring SLI). Disadvantages only in some OGL tests (DOOM III, CoR)

Conclusions

  1. Sapphire RADEON X850 XT PE PCI-E 256MB is currently the most powerful single-card accelerator, highly popular among the most demanding 3D enthusiasts. This video card also offers very high quality, the 2D picture at 1600x1200@85Hz is excellent. Its disadvantage is a bulky and not very quiet cooler to put it mildly.

  2. Sapphire RADEON X850 PRO PCI-E 256MB - I think this product will not live very long, because it's more expensive than the X800 XL, but performs almost on a par with this card. Its advantage lies in the huge overclocking potential, which cannot be obtained by the X800 XL. That's why this products will be popular only among overclockers, given that the price is adequate. I can say the same about the quality of the card as I said in the previous case.

  3. Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB - this accelerator may become even more popular among overclockers, because its cooling system provides good chances in this respect. Besides, this cooling system is very quiet and the card demonstrates decent 3D performance. Of course, it'll be up to the price. if it's not significantly higher than that for the regular X800 XL, the success is guaranteed. The quality of the video card is excellent!

  4. Sapphire RADEON X800 AGP 256MB is a popular middle end product. I hope that the prices will be adequate. Besides, the card has a great memory overclocking potential (GDDR3 2.0, its frequency being only 700 MHz). The assemblage quality of the card is also very high. In fact, it's currently the only ATI product that can compete with the GeForce 6800 AGP.

  5. Sapphire RADEON X300 SE Hypermemory PCI-E 32(128)MB is an ambiguous product. Firstly, I'd like to know why manufacture cheap accelerators, while prices for PCI-E systems are still too high. They are actually intended for office solutions with limited gaming capacities. It's a common knowledge that even the X300 is not currently popular, to say nothing of cheaper cards. Indeed, it may come in handy in future. But as for now, it's of no use. Secondly, it was outperformed by its competitor in all respects. That's why I cannot possibly give it a good mark today. The PCI-E sector currently requires video cards at $150 and higher: no one is going to buy a motherboard for $150-$200 and install a video card for $60... Positive sides: very good 2D, even though the d-Sub is connected to the PCB via a cable. On the whole, good intentions pave the road...

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








According to the test results, the Sapphire RADEON X800 XL Ultimate PCI-E 256MB gets the Original Design award (May).








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 (anvakams@ixbt.com)

May, 2005.

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AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
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i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
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