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Digital-Daily : Video : x1600_x800_6600gt

"X1600PRO, X800GT/GTO/GTO2 versus GeForce 6600GT" confrontation

"X1600PRO, X800GT/GTO/GTO2 versus GeForce 6600GT" confrontation
Author: Aleksandr Chernoivan
Date: 18.02.2006

Emergence of video cards built on X1600PRO and X1600XT in the mid-end pricing range has somehow puzzled the buyers. On the one hand, prices for video cards based on GeForce 6600GT (a major competitor) have started going down, whereas 256 MB memory versions are increasingly filling the market. On the other hand, unsold X800 have been turned to X800GT/GTO/GTO2 after a series of tricks with the pipelines, so have become more affordable. Well, what to choose? We are going to help you answer this question.

GPU specifications and recommended frequencies:


 
X1600PRO
X800GT
X800GTO
X800GTO2
X800XL
GF6600GT
Chip
RV530
R423/ R480
R423/ R430/ R480
R430/ R480
R430
NV43 GT
Q-ty of transistors
157 mln
160 mln
160 mln
160 mln
160 mln
143 mln
Process technology
90 nm
130/110 nm
130/110 nm
110 nm
110 nm
110 nm
Pixel pipelines
12
8
12
12 (16)
16
8
TMU
4
8
12
12 (16)
16
8
Vertex processors
5
6
6
6
6
3
Hardware support for DirectX
9.0c
(PS 3.0, HDR )
9.0c
(PS 2.0b)
9.0c
(PS 2.0b)
9.0c
(PS 2.0b)
9.0c
(PS 2.0b)
9.0c
(PS 3.0, HDR )
Memory type
DDR 1/2/3 PC3200
DDR 1/2/3 PC3200
DDR 1/2/3 PC3200
DDR 1/2/3 PC3200
DDR 1/2/3 PC3200
DDR 1/2/3 PC3200
Memory bus
128 bit
256 bit
256 bit
256 bit
256 bit
128 bit
Clock speed of the chip
500 MHz;
475 MHz;
400 MHz;
400 MHz;
400 MHz;
500 MHz;
Memory clock speeds
780 MHz, DDR2
700/980 MHz, DDR/DDR3
700/980 MHz, DDR/DDR3
980 MHz, DDR3
980 MHz, DDR3
1000 MHz, DDR3

As a reference, i.e. a card which imparts sufficient performance limits, we chose ASUS EAX800XL. Since this card was once privileged to be at our test lab right after the announcement, let's briefly recall its major features to find out if something has been changed since then.

ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The video card is shipped in the same huge box with a handle to facilitate carrying the abundant package bundle around.


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The video card comes bundled with two 15-pin D-Sub/DVI adapters, a VIVO (9-pin S-Video/HDTV(color difference)/Composite) cable, a user's manual, a CD-box with drivers, utilities, and the game Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising;


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The video card is made on a red-orange board, traditional for ASUS cards built on ATI chips. The front side containing the graphic chip and half the memory chips is fully covered by the cooling system, with no cooling components provided on the reverse side. The card does not require additional power supply, although there is a pad for its soldering. Monitors are plugged in via two DVI connectors (directly or via adapters), with a TV-out/video-in connector in between.


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The cooling system made up of a turbine with a heat-pipe copper radiator held by three screws and a bracket is easy to remove with a screwdriver. Its contact with the VPU is established with the "silver" layer as before. To spread heat, the memory chips on the front side are also equipped with a contact to the cooling system through heat-conductive washers. By the way, the cooling system runs quietly enough.


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The R430 processor the video card is built on was manufactured quite long ago - on the 3rd week of year 2005. The chip comprises 16 pixel pipelines with a texture unit on each, as well as offers six vertex processors able executing version 2.0b pixel shaders. Therefore, it is compatible to merely DirectX 9.0b. The operating clock speed is 400 MHz. The operating clock speed is 400 MHz. The 256 MB video memory running at 980 MHz is linked to the GPU via a 256-bit bus.


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The card uses eight GDDR3 memory chips made in the BGA package by Samsung and offers 2 ns access time (which is equivalent to 1000 MHz).


ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB

The VIVO features are implemented with a ATI Rage Theater chip.

Therefore, we can state that the package, the bundle and the video card itself haven't undergone any changes. Since we chose that video card as a reference, we didn't try overclocking it, but believe the past result - 440/1060 MHz - could be easily reproduced. Now move on to introducing the contenders…

Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

This video card is shipped in a small-size box of proprietary design, although it is available in the OEM package as well. Besides the image of a charming lady extraterrestrial, the buyer is welcomed by the inscription "Sapphire GTO2 Limited Edition". I reckon something very special is awaiting us inside.. Opening it…


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

Despite the small size of the box, the bundle is very rich. Besides the video card itself, the package bundle includes: two CDs with drivers and trial versions of games, a 15-pin D-Sub/DVI adapter, S-Video and Composite cables, S-Video/Composite and S-Video/HDTV adapters, an additional power adapter.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

This video card is made on a red board and is almost covered with a one-tier cooling system, with the GPU and half the memory chips hidden beneath. In the upper right-hand corner, there is a connector for additional power supply.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

On the reverse side, there is the other half of video memory which is cooled by an aluminum plate. The VIVO chip is also here. The video card has two DVI-outputs and a combined TV-in/out connector.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

The cooling system made up of a fan and a composite radiator is fastened with five screws, two of which press the spring-loaded bracket. Heat is removed off the GPU with a copper plate, but the remaining part is cooled by an aluminum alloy plate. As the thermal interface, a "silver" paint is used for the GPU and white thermal paste - for memory chips. It is not quite clear why varied heat-conductive alloys are used for various components.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

As can be seen, the paste is not applied uniformly enough over the memory, whereas there is too much of it over the processor. The "silver" paint is always hard to rub, but sometimes it is nice to see something beneath.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

And here is the reward for struggle against the thermal paste. This board uses the R480 chip which was quite recently used to assemble the most powerful video cards. The major positive thing about R480 is the higher overclocking capability versus R430, which could have also been found over here. The GPU runs at 400 MHz.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

It proved quite difficult to get down to the marking either. The thing is that a small quantity of thermal paste applied is rubbed with the marking, too. The video card is equipped with 256 MB of video memory as eight chips (four on the front side and four on the reverse side of the board) made in the BGA package by Samsung. The memory bus is 256-bit wide. The access time is 1.6 ns, although the memory runs at merely 980 MHz.


Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB

The ATI Rage Theater chip is in charge of video input/output features.

The overclocking capability has proved rather high for the GPU, which was predictable - as many as 560 MHz, and unexpectedly low for the video memory - merely 1120 MHz, which is much less than the 1250 MHz which we hoped for (the memory frequency for the 1.6 ns access time).

Content:

  • ASUS EAX800XL 256 MB, Sapphire X800GTO2 256 MB
  • ASUS X800GTO, HIS X800GTO, Sapphire X800GT
  • ASUS, Sapphire (X1600PRO), PoV GeForce 6600GT
  • GigaByte GeForce 6600GT SILENT-PIPE 128 MB
  • Benchmarking and conclusions




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