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Closer Look

What’s the main difference between the PowerColor X800 XL and the classical ATI RADEON X800 XL is the additional power connector installed on the former card. We don’t actually know why they have decided to put it here – graphics cards on the ATI R430 chip are doing quite well without additional powering, being quite satisfied with those 75 watts of juice they can receive through the PCI Express slot.

 

The snapshots show that this device uses the reference PCB design. But unlike many other implementations of the RADEON X800 XL, PowerColor’s card carries two DVI-I connectors, an ATI Rage Theater chip implementing video-In and video-Out functions (VIVO), and a six-pin power connector, typical for high-powered graphics cards with the PCI Express interface. The queer-looking cooling system deserves a closer inspection – the huge aluminum heatsink covers almost the entire surface of the card.

The concept of this system is similar to the standard cooler of the GeForce 6800 GT: a fan with vertical blades is sucking air in through the opening in the casing and is running it then through the grid of thin ribs. However, the ribs here are not a single entity with the sole, but are glued to the sole with thermal glue. This heatsink should thus have a lower efficiency due to the relatively high thermal resistance where the ribs are fastened to the sole, but this is hardly important considering the low heat dissipation of the R430 chip. The graphics core on the hotter GeForce 6800 GT graphics card is cooled with an all-aluminum heatsink, by the way.

The cooler’s sole touches the memory chips as well as the GPU, but there’s no thermal interface between the memory and the heatsink. Putty-colored thick thermal paste is only applied to the spot where there’s contact with the graphics core. The memory chips on the back side of the PCB are not cooled at all.

The ADDA fan has a diameter of 50 millimeters and feeds on 0.35amp current. Considering the voltage of 12V, this can hardly be quiet. The whole design of this cooler is dubious, but we’ll talk about it shortly.

The frequencies of the PowerColor X800 XL are standard: 400MHz GPU and 490 (980DDR) MHz graphics memory.

 
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