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PowerColor X800 Pro Video Card Review

Former staff writer    -   July 14, 2004
Category: Video Cards
Price: $399 +/-


Introduction

ATI and NVIDIA have been at it again with the GPU wars to see who can be the leader in video cards until the next generation of GPU's. ATI has been the leader ATI's Radeon 9800 line of video card has reigned the past couple of years as being one of the fastest, if not the fastest video card available to consumers. They're hoping to claim this title again with their new GPU called "R420" or better known as the Radeon X800 series. They have two high-end video cards made from the R420 core, the Radeon X800 Pro and the Radeon X800 XT. The Radeon X800 Pro has all of the features and benefits of the XT model except the XT supports 16 pixel pipelines and the Pro only supports 12. The XT model also has a slightly faster core and memory clock rates than its little brother.

One new feature on the X800 Pro and XT is a new compression technology called 3Dc. 3Dc is optimized to work with normal maps which allows fine per-pixel control over how light reflects from a textured surface. With up to 4:1 compression possible, this means game designers can include up to 4x the detail without changing the amount of graphics memory required and without impacting performance. In a nutshell, it's suppose to provide better looking graphics and faster performance without taking up any extra memory. Of course developers will have to include the new compression technology in their games for you to take advantage of the new feature on the X800 cards.

In our review today, we will be comparing the Powercolor Radeon X800 Pro to a Radeon 9800 XT video card. ATI says that the X800 Pro consumes much less power than the 9800 XT which also means it generates less heat. This means it's a friendlier video card to users who own a SFF (Small Form Factor) PC, where heat is usually a problem. The X800 Pro also has a smaller and lighter copper cooler on it than on the 9800 XT. From the specs and from the looks of things, the X800 Pro seems like it has a lot to offer in terms of functionality and performance but is it really worth the upgrade? Let's find out!



What's Included

  • Radeon X800 Pro
  • Limited Edition Backpack
  • S-Video Cable
  • Composite (RCA) Cable
  • DVI-I-to-VGA Connector
  • 4-pin Molex Power Connector
  • User Manual
        Software Bundle
  • ATI Drivers
  • CyberLink DVD Suite
  • Hitman: Contracts




When I opened the UPS box that contained the Radeon X800 Pro, I was expecting to see the normal retail type box that most ATI Radeon cards come in. Instead, I saw a black backpack with Powercolor's logo engraved on it. It probably took me five minutes to find all of the cables and the video card itself, because this bag has so many pockets! I found the cables stuffed away inside a mesh pocket within the backpack, the CD's inside a pocket, and the video card was found deep within the inside. The bag itself has tons of pockets to stuff your books in for school or to stuff cables in for LAN parties. With over 15 different pockets, it should make an excellent LAN party bag. This is the first video card that I have ever reviewed with packaging that is actually useful. You're paying $500 and some odd dollars for a video card, so you should expect nothing less. I think all higher end video cards should come with something similar like this.

 



  1. Introduction & What's Included
  2. In-Depth Look
  3. Test Suite & Setup
  4. Benchmark: 3DC
  5. Benchmark: Far Cry
  6. Benchmark: X2
  7. Benchmark: Battlefield Vietnam
  8. Benchmark: Gunmetal
  9. Benchmark: Splinter Cell
  10. Benchmark: 3DMark03
  11. Image Quality & Temperature Test
  12. Overclocking & Conclusion
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