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PCB Design

After we’ve seen the package of and accessories to the ASUS EAX1900XTX, it’s time to have a closer look at the card itself.

So, this is the good old reference design developed by ATI. The sticker with the manufacturer’s logo in the middle of the cooler’s casing is the only indication that this is a product from ASUS. On the reverse side of the PCB there is also a paper sticker that reads “ASUS EAX1900XTX/2DHTV/512M/А”.

It’s all the same on the graphics memory side: there are eight chips of GDDR3 memory from Samsung (K4J52324QC-BJ11) in 136-pin FBGA packaging on the PCB. The total amount of graphics memory is 512MB and it is clocked at 775 (1550) MHz exactly as described in the official Radeon X1900 XTX specification. As usual, the memory contacts the cooler’s base through rubber-like heat-conductive pads. The pads are too thick to be very efficient, but they do their job all right. The graphics processor is clocked at 650MHz in compliance with the official specification. To improve the contact with the copper base of the heatsink a thick dark-gray thermal paste with low thermal resistance is used, as usual.

The Rage Theater chip installed on the card endows it with VIVO functionality. It is impossible to use the video input and to attach an YPbPr-interfaced device to the card simultaneously because the appropriate adapters occupy one and the same connector. This is a common problem with almost all graphics cards supporting this functionality.

ASUS’ engineers must have been left pleased with the capabilities of the standard cooling system because they didn’t introduce any changes into it. The cooling system installed on the ASUS EAX1900XTX is exactly alike to the cooler we first saw on the Radeon X1800 XT: the air from inside the PC is driven through the heatsink’s copper ribs and is then exhausted out of the system case (for details see our article called The New RADEON: A Family Portrait). Thanks to a thick copper base and heat pipes, this cooler copes easily with the rather hot R580 chip, but the effective cooling comes at a cost. The high-speed fan and the resonating plastic casing of the system produce a very specific sound that is irritatingly distinctive against the general noise from a working PC. You will hear this sound only when the fan speed is increased above normal, though.

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