Today we bring you the first review of Sapphire’s brand new high end graphics card, the Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro Toxic Edition. With new features like Automated Performance Enhancement and a brand new cooling solution, does the card have enough to seperate itself from the other Radeon X800 Pro cards currently on the market? Come and take a look.
When you think of this years E3 show, you’ll probably recall the announcement of Alienware’s Video Array technology, the exhibition of the Sony PSP, and the tattooing of Halo 2’s release date. A story that slipped through the cracks at this years show involves a company that has seen great success in the graphics card arena, a company named Sapphire. Behind closed doors, the company announced that they would be retiring their popular Ultimate Edition line and bringing in a new line of graphics cards for it X800 series of products. It would be called the Toxic line, a line that would be unique on two fronts: cooling and overclockability.
But why the new product line, aren’t all Radeon X800 Pro graphics cards the same you ask? The fact is that most of the cards currently on the market on both the NVIDIA and ATI front are pretty much the same, using reference design, similar bundles, and performing almost identically to one another. Part of it is frequency specifications on ATI and NVIDIA’s part, but another part is that many companies try to cut corners and save costs by just using reference cooling and lackluster bundles in their graphics cards.
The Ultimate Edition appealed to the gamer and hardware enthusiast that did not want just another reference board, but would pay a little more for a product that was unique in its looks, excellent in performance, and most of all, highly overclockable. Since graphics cards will only run hotter and hotter as we move into the future, the Ultimate Edition was retired because passive cooling could only scale so high; eventually it would hit a ceiling and active cooling would be needed. This is where the Toxic line comes in. Since ATI will not allow board partners to ship their cards with higher than stock frequencies, Sapphire’s Toxic line includes a feature named A.P.E., or Automated Performance Enhancement. A.P.E. will overclock your graphics card to factory-tested frequencies, just think of it as Overdrive on steroids. Also new with the Toxic line is temperature monitoring functionality, a unique cooling system, and VIVO (video-in / video-out).
It’s been two and a half months since E3 and we finally have a retail version of the Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro Toxic Edition in house for testing. From what we’ve told you, it’s safe to say that the Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro Toxic Edition is not your standard Radeon X800 Pro graphics card. But do all these features translate into better performance and overall value? Let’s take a closer look…
ATI Radeon X800 Pro
256MB onboard DDR2 RAM
Memory / Core interface
DirectX 3D Hardware
Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
DVI-I Output / TV Output / VGA Output
2048×1536 @ 85Hz
•DVI to VGA Adapter
•S-Video to RCA Adapter
•Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
•Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
•Redline Tweak Utility
Once again, Sapphire is on top with their graphics card bundles. They’re using the same bundle that we first saw with their standard Radeon X800 Pro graphics card a few months back, including two of the past year’s hottest PC games inside the box, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Also bundled in is Sapphire’s own overclocking software, the Redline Tweak Utility. With the Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro Toxic Edition, Sapphire continues to have one of the best bundles in the graphics card industry, throwing in two blockbuster games and their own overclocking software with every X800 Pro Toxic Edition card.