Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro Toxic Edition Review
As you can tell from first glance, the Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro Toxic Edition is anything but a card based on reference design. The X700 Pro Toxic Edition used the same "Lethal Cooling" heatsink fan we saw with the Radeon X800 Pro Toxic Edition, and is built on the turquoise colored PCB we’ve seen Sapphire use with their mid-ranged products. The card has the standard VGA, S-Video, and DVI outputs and due to it’s Lethal Cooling, takes up to PCI slots in your system.
And here we can take a closer look at the Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro Toxic Edition’s Lethal Cooling unit. Produced by Arctic Cooling, the unit has a copper base that absorbs the heat from the X700 Pro GPU. Mounted onto the copper base is a long aluminum heatsink that is used to disperse the heat, with the heat going through a plastic "wind channel" that gets rid of the hot air through the second PCI slot the card takes up. This in turn is a much quieter and more effective cooling solution than ATI’s reference cooling, with the only trade-offs being a slightly higher price you pay for the heatsink and its two slot design.
To offset the costs of the card’s bundle and cooling unit, Sapphire has chosen to use 128MB of GDDR3 memory on the card, instead of the typical 256MB of GDDR3 we’ve seen from other manufacturers. This move was done to not only stay competitive with other X700 Pro offerings on the market, but also with the GeForce 6600GT, a card that also uses 128MB of GDDR3 memory. Notice that Sapphire has also included memory sinks with the Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro Toxic Edition, a move that should pay off when we overclock the card later in the review.
Now let’s talk about price, at most online retailers, the Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro Toxic Edition can be shipped to you for just over $ 200, around $ 210 at some of the places we’ve been to. This price point is exactly where the Gigabyte and ABIT X700 Pro cards with 256MB GDDR3 are at, but around $ 40 more expensive then where most 128MB GDDR3 X700 Pro’s are sold at. The extra 128MB of memory the 256MB X700 Pro model has over the 6600GT has not helped it beat the 6600GT in the vast majority of our previous testing, so it will be interesting if the Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro Toxic Edition’s overclocked 128MB GDDR3 memory will do the trick.