PowerColor Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics card
Worth the wait?
Review AMD/ATI has been working on its DirectX 10 graphics chip, codenamed 'R600', for an awfully long time, which is somewhat surprising when you consider that this is its second-generation DirectX 10 part. The first was the Xenos chip that powers Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console.
Although AMD is announcing a full range of Radeon HD 2400, 2600 and 2900 chips today, the only chip that is actually available is the Radeon HD 2900 XT. It won't make the mainstream HD 2400 and 2600 parts available until the end of June.
Priced at £249/$399, the HD 2900 XT is aimed squarely at Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTS so we're in the upper ranges of gaming performance but this is the first time in living memory that a manufacturer hasn't claimed the 'Fastest Ever' performance crown with a new generation of chips.
The HD 2900 XT reference board measures in at 23.8cm (9.5in) in length and has an impressive specification. Feel free to imagine a Sid James laugh at this point. Fabbed at 80nm, the chip contains 700m transistors, no small number of which comprises its 320 'Stream' unified shader processors. The core's clocked to 740MHz, while the memory - 512MB of GDDR 3, connected across a 512-bit, eight-channel bus - runs at an effective 1650MHz. There are connectors for CrossFire and a second power port.