Powercolor X800 GTO 16 Video Card Review

Admin - 2007-01-15 20:19:06 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: March 26, 2006
Powercolor
Powercolor
Price: $195 USD

Introduction

On occasion many of us, whether just wanting to upgrade our video cards or needing to replace a video card, delve into a market that produces so many choices it becomes quite confusing. The task would be simple if we just had one or two options to choose from but unfortunately it’s not. So we must narrow our choices down to three main factors, chipset (ATI or nVidia), performance and affordability. (There are also other producers of chipsets on the market but those chipsets are manufactured for other uses.) Which chipset you choose is usually a matter of preference; performance and affordability are based on what you are willing to spend to achieve your needs. Video cards are broken down into three categories, high end (performance at a price), mainstream (slightly less performance more affordability) and lower end (budget priced with possible outdated performance). With that in mind let’s focus our attention on a mainstream video card.

Today, I will be reviewing the PowerColor X800GTO 16. This is a mainstream video card with PCI-E x16 interface. PowerColor was established in 1999 and while researching the company, I learned that PowerColor is not just a trading company who does not have a production facility of its own; they produce all their boards in their own certified labs. So without further delay, let’s take a closer look at our card.

Closer Look

“Eye Candy”, most consumers’ act on impulse or something that catches their eye, this card comes packaged in a grey box with a big shiny 16, it pops out and says; “pick me up”.

 



Now that it has your attention and you further examine the box, you see that it comes with free bundled software; 256 MB of GDDR3 Ram and it also supports DVI and HDTV.

Since it has sparked your interest, you look at the rest of the box, to find out if this graphics card is right your system.



So now you’ve purchased the card and have it home, you open it to reveal its contents.



Inside you find the Set-Up CD, an installation guide, DVI to VGA connectors, S-Video to Composite cables, Software Bundle (which includes Pacific Fighters and Power DVD) and The Power Color X800 GTO 16 Series Graphics Board.

All right, now it’s time to take the Graphics board out of the anti static bag, so you can examine it.



First you notice the bright silver heat sink and fan with the ATI and Power Color logos on it. Your eyes then come to the cards PCI-E X16 interface connector.

You turn the board over to look at its base checking the serial number, bar codes and overall integrity of the board.



Flipping the board back over you now look at the front connectors to find, two DVI and one S-Video input.



This next step Overclockers Club recommends you do not attempt, we are trained professionals and are removing the heat sink and fan to expose the GPU Core. By removing the stock heat sink and fan, you can and will void your warranty.



Now that we have removed the heat sink and fan you can see that the GPU core used on this graphics card is the ATI Radeon 430 chip.



So now that you have inspected your new Graphics Board the time has come to see how it works.

Installation

With your trusty screwdriver you go to your case and open the side panel to reveal the its contents, you find your PCI-E Slot and snap in your new Power Color Graphics board, attach it to your case chassis and hook up your VGA cable to one if the DVI ports. You then replace your side panel and boot up your computer.

Your computer is now up and you realize that the picture on the screen isn’t that good. You now will need to install the graphics card drivers provided for you on the installation CD that came as part of your software bundle.

Installation of the drivers is quite easy, once the CD is in, the auto run process starts and guides you through the installation with its onscreen display.

After you finish your driver installation your thinking about playing Pacific Fighters, which was, bundled with your video card but you also want to know the graphics board specification and how it benchmarked to some of your favorite games.

You then remember a review you saw on OverclockersClub.com a few weeks ago that had a detailed list of specs and some great benchmarks. So you then hop on the Internet and find the review.

Specifications

PowerColor X800 GTO Technology Specifications

SMARTSHADER™ HD



SMOOTHVISION™ HD



3Dc™



HYPER Z™ HD



VIDEOSHADER™ HD




DISPLAY FEATURES



ADDITIONAL FEATURES

We at OCC strive to be different; although you will see some familiar games benchmarked you might also see some games that few other sites use.

How we benchmark and or overclock
There are many devices used to benchmark and overclock a graphics board, at Occ we will be using Fraps, Ati Tool and RivaTuner. When available we will also use performance testing from the game itself, some time demos and 3rd party benchmark programs. Prior to each result we will specify which program was used for the benchmark and what settings were used from the game to achieve our totals. By our preference for overclocking ATI graphic boards we will use, ATI Tool .24 and for nVidia Graphic boards, RivaTuner 2.0 rc 15.8. Lets get started; the Power Color X800 GTO 16 graphics board is a mainstream board, which is preoverclocked right out of the box. Its core settings are set at 400 MHz and memory settings at 490x2 for a total of 980 MHz. For testing purposes I did attempt to overclock the GPU achieving a stable overclock at 430/550x2. Also while the GPU was cool on a fresh boot, I was able to obtain an overclock of 481/589x2. The card ran stable for quite some time and it was benched with Fraps on Call of Duty 2. (Results will be last) Unfortunately while trying to test other games at this speed the graphics froze and I was not able to obtain any results. For those of you who are not familiar to overclocking, there is no need to worry this mainstream Graphics board packs a lot of punch right out of the box and will achieve great results on what ever game you choose.

Testing Setup


Gaming Benchmarks



* You may notice that in some games the Albatron 6600LE produced a result, this is a result of the actual FPS being less than 5 or the benchmark would not run at the settings posted.


Benchmark: Far Cry
I will begin our benchmarks with Far Cry. The three resolutions tested were 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x1024.

The Power Color X800 GTO 16 stood up pretty well to the XFX 6800 GT both stock and overclocked in my Far Cry Benchmarks. Frames per second were very close (between 5 to 10 fps) until the resolution of 1280x 1024 was tested. That’s where the X800 GTO 16 lost some of its velocity.

Testing

Benchmark: F.E.A.R
F.E.A.R. is one of the newer First person shooters on the market; this game has its own benchmark built in to the game. Again and as in all of the following benchmarks the resolutions tested are 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x1024.

Settings:

Benchmark: Doom 3

Doom 3 is a favorite first person shooter of many gamers it’s no wonder why it is a very popular benchmark. This is also one of my personal favorites also. The Power Color X800 GTO 16 did very well again in this game. Power Color is starting to impress me, for a mainstream graphics board it stacks up pretty well.



Settings:
  • Graphics: High Quality
  • Antialiasing: x4
  • Advanced Options: Enabled

Benchmark: Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2, the second installment to the Call of Duty Series, is an intense action packed WW2 thriller where you can fight on all battlefronts of the European Theater. Call of Duty 2 was actually the first benchmark that I ran with the X800 GTO, for the first benchmark I was able to achieve a great overclock of 481/589, but as the graphics card heated up the game started to freeze the eventually I lost all video. I’m sure that with an aftermarket chipset cooler better speeds can be achieved than I was able to sustain as most stable.
Settings:

Benchmark: Quake 4

Quake 4, is the newest arrival in the Quake Series. This version is more graphic intense than it’s predecessors, so it may prove to be a great challenge for the PowerColor X800 GTO 16.
Settings:

Benchmark: Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Need for Speed: Most Wanted: unlike the other games we benchmarked, this game is not a first person shooter. This is a racing game in which you can choose from a number of vehicles, different types of vehicle setups and also choose which types of race courses you prefer.



I have to admit, the Power Color X800 GTO 16 stood up well to one of the better graphics boards produced today. For a mainstream card there seems to be no need to overclock it, just take it out of the box and it’s ready to go.

Conclusion

I was at first somewhat skeptical about doing a review on this brand of Graphics Board, I have owned Power Color, Graphic boards in the past and encountered many problems. After speaking with Bosco (OCC site manager), who owns eight various PowerColor Graphics Boards, I decided to go ahead and give PowerColor another try. This time I was impressed, PowerColor has come a long way since I last used one of their Graphics Boards and proves that with age comes experience.

I’m looking forward to reviewing more products from PowerColor in the future, the X800GTO 16, was a worthy adversary to the other test boards. Not only did it compete well with the nVidia 6800 GT at times it actually performed better. The only concerns that I have are its lack of overclockability, which is more, related to the R430 GPU than the board itself and the high temperatures, (80c) while gaming. Which I feel can be remedied with a better heatsink and fan.

The Power Color X800 GTO 16 gets an 8, this mainstream board is perfect for anyone who is looking for out of the box performance.

Pros

Cons