ASUS RADEON 9800 XT: Masterpiece or a Graphics Card?
There was a time when ASUS Computer used to produce a wide range of graphics cards on different GPUs, including ones from 3dfx and ATI Technologies. In fact, first graphics cards from ASUS were based on controllers from ATI. But by the end of the 1990-s, the two graphics companies focused on their own graphics card businesses and also lost their leadership in the 3D GPU field to NVIDIA. Times have changed. 3dfx is no longer there, while ATI Technologies is questioning the supremacy of NVIDIA and quite successfully! Every member of the “big four” (ASUS, ECS, MSI and Gigabyte) as well as a number of minor companies released their products on ATI chips throughout the last year.
Products from ASUS are known for the highest production quality that comes at its proper price. That exactly applies to the graphics card we are going to review in detail today.
The package of the ASUS RADEON 9800 XT/TVD surprises with its huge size. You usually see boxes like that at computer exhibitions or in the storefronts of big PC shops, but this time it is a standard package of the new card from ASUS. It is about half a meter wide and 32cm high. Just take a look:
That’s impressive, isn’t it? The design of the box can be called classic: fantasy-style characters are fashionable nowadays. The face side of the box depicts a buxom girl all smothered in jewelry. There is also a sticker giving you some info about the product, particularly, the amount of the graphics memory. The cover with the girl is folded back, revealing a transparent window where you can see the card. Opening the box, we found the following items provided by ASUS:
- ASUS RADEON 9800 XT/TVD graphics card;
- Installation guide;
- Software guide;
- Coupon for a full version of Half-Life 2;
- DVI-I-to-D-Sub adapter;
- VIVO unit;
- A box with CDs containing a lot of software.
The CD box deserves mentioning separately. It contained the following:
- CD with drivers and utilities from ASUS;
- CD with ASUSDVD player;
- CD with CyberLink PowerDirector 2.55 ME;
- CD with CyberLink MediaShow SE 2.0;
- CD with Ulead Cool 3D SE 3.0 and Photo Express SE 4.0;
- CD with Battle Engine Aquila game;
- CD with Gun Metal game;
- CD with demo versions of several computer games.
The video-editing software is most appropriate since this graphics card offers the VIVO functionality. For a description of the exclusive utilities from ASUS you can refer to our ASUS V9950 Graphics Card Review. I wll only describe Smart Doctor II, as the most important component of the hardware monitoring system.
The would-be video directors don’t have to creep under their desk to get to the back panel of the PC to connect a camcorder or a VCR. The VIVO unit included into the package can be attached anywhere with the help of a special sticker. I can only say that unfortunately very few manufacturers show the same tender loving care about the customer.