Feeds

Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro

ATI's mainstream chip arrives in retail-land

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

TrustedReviews.comReview It's been over two months since I was in Toronto at the launch of the Radeon X800 platform, and during that time I've done a lot of testing and writing about the latest generation of graphics cards. However, it has taken this long for that announcement to turn into a tangible retail product, writes Riyad Emeran.

Before me right now is the first retail card based on the Radeon X800 chipset I've seen. Of course I've looked at a few reference boards, but until I see a proper, boxed retail card it's all a bit ethereal - after all, you can't buy a reference board, so the existence of engineering samples means little to the general public.

It comes as no surprise that the first retail X800 board came from Sapphire. Back in the days when ATI branded and sold graphics cards itself, Sapphire was the company that actually manufactured the boards. So when ATI moved to a partner model, Sapphire obviously had a head start on the competition. It also comes as no surprise that this board is based on the X800 Pro variant of the chipset, rather than the top of the range X800 XT Platinum Edition. The official launch of the latter was a couple of weeks after the Pro, so I'm fully expecting to have to wait a while longer before I see a retail X800 XT Platinum Edition board.

It's fair to say that Sapphire hasn't skimped on the extras with the Radeon X800 Pro. As far as games go you're getting a full version of Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. This was one of the first games to use proper DirectX 9 effects, and it does look very good in places. However, it was never a particularly great game, and it's showing its age visually now as well. But, to be fair, bundled games are a pleasant bonus to find inside a graphics card box.

Besides Lara's latest adventure, the box also contains a copy of PowerDVD, Redline Overclocking software, a composite video cable, an S-Video cable, an S-Video to composite video converter, a DVI to D-SUB converter and a power splitter. What's particularly interesting is that Sapphire also provides a cable that splits into three discrete RCA ports allowing for a component video signal to be output, giving the highest possible video quality. So, Sapphire has pretty much covered all the bases, and you should have everything you could possibly need at the point of purchase.

Sapphire Radeon X800 Pro

Given that Sapphire traditionally sticks to the ATI reference design, I was slightly surprised to see that this card is using a blue PCB rather than the traditional ATI red. Other than the colour though, this board is pretty much identical to the reference boards that I've tested. There's a copper heatsink and fan assembly covering the VPU, but it's small enough to keep the card a single slot solution. A single Molex connector provides the X800 Pro with enough power to operate, while the backing plate sports a DVI connecter, a D-SUB port and an video output.

Next page: Verdict

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.