The two graphics cards from PowerColor this review is dedicated to differ between themselves of course, despite their coming from the same manufacturer. The PowerColor X800 XL delivers excellent performance in some games and can offer tough competition to the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT, but the strange cooling system installed by PowerColor spoiled the product too much. It is really too noisy. If it is not a defect – the card cannot control the speed of its fan – then we don’t know who’s going to buy such a loud graphics card. If this is really a defect, and if this defect is solved soon, the PowerColor X800 XL has a chance to become popular in its $300 category. The good points about this product are the rich accessories, VIVO functionality, and two DVI outputs (untypical for a RADEON X800 XL, by the way).
This graphics card will hardly suit to overclockers, since all R430-based cards have a poor overclockability due to the specifics of the manufacturing process employed. Even with the efficient and noisy cooler we couldn’t increase the GPU clock rate above 435MHz. That’s why the additional power connector looks unnecessary – the PowerColor X800 XL could have done quite well without it.
PowerColor X800 XL
- High performance;
- Highly effective cooling system;
- Rich accessories;
- VIVO functionality;
- Two DVI outputs.
- Too much noise;
- Low overclockability;
- Additional power is required.
The other tested graphics card from PowerColor, the PowerColor X850 XT, left a better impression due to its highest performance and quiet operation. The latter thing is achieved with the help of the new dual-slot cooling system developed at ATI Technologies.
This graphics card can be recommended to all people who want the best performance money can buy. Unlike the PowerColor X800 XL, the senior model is good at overclocking. When overclocked, it surpasses even the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition and is the performance leader in an overwhelming majority of modern games, especially with enabled full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. So, if you’ve got half a thousand US dollars and want to get the maximum possible performance and good overclocking opportunities for this money, you should certainly consider the PowerColor X850 XT.
PowerColor X850 XT
- High performance
- Good overclockability
- Highly efficient cooling system
- Quiet operation
- Rich accessories
- VIVO functionality