Asus Extreme AX1800XT TOP
Too late, too pricey?
Review The ATI Radeon X1800 XT will go down in history as one of the shortest-lived flagship 3D graphics products in history. Launched three scant months ago, in October 2005, the lengthy delay in its introduction - said to be due to production problems with the R520 graphics processor that powers it - means that it's set to be replaced this month, January 2006, by the next generation of high-end ATI GPU.
In the bare quarter of its existence, however, the Radeon X1800 XT has gathered plenty of praise for its performance and feature set, meaning its legacy is cemented and the product that will replace it will have a strong base to build on.
Retail examples of Radeon X1800 XT have come from all corners of the ATI board-partner collective, including Asus. Asus is the ATI board-partner most willing to have a go at pushing the high-end boat out. As the world's largest vendor of graphics hardware, it's always serving up products with a twist from both ATI and Nvidia.
Take the the ASUS Extreme N7800GT Dual, which pairs two G70 graphics processors in GeForce 7800 GT configuration, each with its own 256MB allocation of high-speed graphics memory, on the same PCB. SLI then does its thing, combining the rendering ability of both GPUs and their memory to produce the daftest - and maybe the fastest - single-board graphics product yet produced.
It even comes with its own power supply.
Not stopping there, Asus bundles it up nicely with its own cooler and even letting you overclock the board. Not bad, Asus, not bad. Enhanced by its limited edition run of just 2000, it's as close as I've seen to the nirvana the enthusiast craves when shelling out the biggest bucks, in recent times at least.
Returning to the ATI GPU, Asus applies many of the same principles - in-house cooler, approved overclocking, mad bundle and presentation, etc - to the its flagship version of the product, the Extreme AX1800XT TOP.