ATi’s answer to the top end NVIDIA Geforce 7800GTX, the Powercolor Radeon X1800XT is certainly one of the fastest ATi card you can buy today. Let’s see how its gaming performance fare compared to NVIDIA’s GeForce 7800 GTX as well as the overclockability of the X1800 XT card.

A while ago, we’ve seen the introduction of NVIDIA’s next generation flag
ship card, the GeForce 7800GTX. Since then, they’ve been winning hearts of
gamers and reviewers alike with their immediate availability and offering
performance a level higher then the last generation. As a long time
competitor, ATi definitely do not just sit around amid much fanfare generated on
since June when the 7800GTX was unveiled.

Come 5th of October, ATi launched the X1000 family of products, an answer to
NVIDIA’s GeForce 7 line of products. Lots of rumors and speculations are
surrounding the late delivery of their new lines of GPUs due to poor yield from 90nm process
technology at TSMC or fundamental design flaw. ATi so far openly admits that it
is only the circuitry bug is preventing from getting the cards out in time. The
circuit bug is said to stop them from attaining the clock speeds they desire and
strangely it happens only on X1800 and X1600 series not X1300 or even the 90nm
Xenon GPU for Microsoft Xbox 360.

With circuit bug problem solved, ATi is ready to deliver the X1000 series
into the market. We have started to see some X1800 XL and X1300 cards trickling
into the market but we have not seen volume availability yet. The ATi Radeon X1800XT 512MB is among the
products launched on that day and is the much anticipated top end card
from ATi. Previously known as “R520″, this card is touted to be a “GeForce
7800GTX killer”. However, how much of a killer is this? Featuring only 16 pixel
pipes, these X1800 cards are no "overclocked" X800/X850 family of cards. With
various new technologies like their Token Ring Memory Bus technologies, SM3.0
support, and built on a 90mn process, the X1800XT is quite a worthy contender to
the 7800GTX.

Since the launch of X1000 series in early October, there have
been some exchange of fires across
both ATi and NVIDIA over the SM 3.0 compliant. However, i am more interested in
how each maker trying to optimize their drivers to improve gaming performance
especially when there are a slew of new games such as Quake 4, F.E.A.R, Call of
Duty 2, Serious Sam II, Age of Empires III launched in October. ATi has been
working hard to get their Catalyst drivers ready for X1K series to improve
gaming performance as well as inclusion of dual-core optimizations. NVIDIA too
has been busy at this aspect with their Forceware 80 series drivers.

Today, VR-Zone takes a look at one of the first retail X1800XT card out in
the market currently. After a long wait from its launch day, we finally received
the PowerColor card with anticipation. The PowerColor Radeon X1800XT 512MB
makes its way into our labs, as we take an insight on the top end card of the red
camp. Can this card really make it’s mark as a “GeForce 7800GTX killer?” Read
the coming pages to find out.


Here’s the packaging of the PowerColor Radeon X1800XT 512MB.
With the new X1000 family, PowerColor had also changed it’s design theme to
one with a lighter shade of color.


Here’s some quick specifications on the card:


Visual
Processing
Unit

ATi
Radeon
X1800XT
(R520)


Interface

PCI
Express
x16


Memory

512MB,
GDDR3
1.25ns,
Samsung
K4J52324QC-BJ12


Pixel
Pipelines

16
Pixel
Pipelines


Vertex
Pipelines

8
Vertex
Pipelines


Memory
Interface

512-Bit
(Token
Ring
Memory
Bus)


Core
Clock

625
MHz


Memory
Clock

1500 MHz


RAMDAC

400MHz


Max
Resolution

2048 x
1536 @
85Hz


Rear I/O
Ports

2x
DVI, 1x
S-Video
/ TV-Out


Power
Connector

1X 6pin
PCIe
Power
Connector
Required