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Digital-Daily : Video : abit-rx600xt


Author: Andrey Kuzin
Date: 08.08.2004


GPU chip ATI RV380 (0.13 low-k)
Memory 128 Mb; DDR 128-bit
Frequencies: 500/380MHz (760MHz)
Bus: PCI-Express x16
Category: Middle-End
Price: $235
It was at Computex`2003, at Asus' expo stand, when the "new Intel chipset" was first introduced alive. They brought the system to public for merely a few hours, rang around all the related reviewers inviting "to take a look", but refused to give any comments. Just guess for yourselves as to what it is and why it is for. It was anyway very easy to see the new graphic bus and the DDR2 memory.

That was an early live-demo engineering sample of what is now known as the Alderwood chipset. That was most likely the very first working system in Taiwan that time, and the "risky show" was not aimed at visitors, but at the competitors.

It is quite understandable for ASUS, of course. Overcoming all the compatibility issues in the early engineering samples of the platform made of entirely new components and making it work all right is like launching a spacecraft. Even nowadays, 10 months past that remarkable event, after all the announcements of the project participants, while assembling already the third LGA775 system, the only concern is "will it really start up?.." All the three did start up.

The project for the new standard of the PCI-E graphics bus started a couple of years ago, and then a year ago the PCI-E versions of semi-operative cards existed physically at labs. In February 2004, ATI and NVIDIA already had their finished solutions and were awaiting the launch from Intel. ATI was the first to get nerves, and on the third day of Computex`2003, on 3rd June, Dave Orton, ATI's vice-president presented the whole PCI-E line of ATI to the public - from X600/X300 and Radeon X600 (used in notebooks) up to the complete line of FireGL chips (V7100, V5100, etc...) with the native PCI-E interface.

ATI PCI Express Launch

No one cared about the lack of space to fit the cards - all were deadly tired of waiting. In any case, the press, the manufacturers and sales community were aware that in two weeks an official launch of CPU LGA775 and i915P/i925X chipsets would follow. The announcement took a load off the minds of all, and then .. it rolled along..

The very same day, ATI's partners presented their own versions of X600/X300. All in one day :).

ASUS AX600XT Palit X800
ASUS AX600XT *758x590
Palit X800 *900x675

Sapphire R600XT/Pro Sapphire R300
Sapphire R600XT/Pro *900x675
Sapphire R300 *900x602

Gigabyte R800XT R600Pro HIS X800XT/R600XT
Gigabyte R800XT/R600Pro *900x675
HIS X800XT/R600XT *900x675

Powercolor X800XT Powercolor X600XT
Powercolor X800XT *900x675
Powercolor X600XT *900x675

The PCI-E Family for July 2004

To date, not so many PCI-E solutions have been announced. NVIDIA presented its own series of cards on the base of the latest GeForce 6800 (it's still unknown how many cards on the base of the chip the PCI-E product line will make up) and three cards of the old arsenal - the "old hi-end" is presented by GeForce PCX 5900, the mid-end will be filled by GeForce PCX5750 (on the FX5700 chip plus the PCI-E bridge), and the low-end sector is presented by PCX5300 (on the base of FX5200 chip plus the PCI-E bridge).

For ATI, the situation is simpler - for the high-end two X800XT/Pro cards are to be presented, with two more X600XT/Pro for the mid-end, and X300SE for the low-end. All the chips by ATI for cards of the PCI-E standard offer integrated support for the PCI-E. On the one hand, there is no need to complicate the card through installing a bridge (the chip is inexpensive, but there are too many pins, which results in cumbersome and problematic wiring, higher defect ratio during assembly and formidable sizes of the card themselves). On the other hand, this is just another order to TSMC for as many as three more chips with the demand still uncertain.

Both approaches have a right to exist and poorly correlate with the "performance" concept. That's because ATI cards seem to be easier and cheaper to produce, whereas for NVIDIA cards there is no need to develop and order new chips. All in all, this is about "pure marketing" that has nothing to do with us. For now, there aren't games which will require double AGP 16x bandwidth! But they will appear eventually.

The following table shows a performance correlation between all the new video cards:

PCI-Express x16 Roadmap `2004

Hi-End GeForce 6 Series Radeon X800XT/Pro
Old Hi-End GeForce PCX5900 -
Middle GeForce PCX5750 Radeon X600XT/Pro
Low-End GeForce PCX5300 Radeon X300SE

I can say straight off, the table does not reflect the reality a bit. At the end of today's tests, we'll publish its corrected version.

ABIT RX600XT-PCIE was the first video card that arrived at our test lab in the PCI-E make, so we'll start reviewing all what is to come to the retail shelves soon.


  • Introduction
  • ABIT RX600XT-PCIE Video Card Features
  • LGA Test Configuration
  • System Tests
  • Testing ABIT RX600XT-PCIE
  • Final Words

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