Noise, Overclocking and 2D Quality
Alas, our apprehensions about the noise parameters of the cooler employed by PowerColor were not misplaced: having installed the card into the system and turned it on, we heard something not unlike the noise from a household vacuum-cleaner. The most terrible thing, the PowerColor X800 XL doesn’t behave like the RADEON X850 XT which slows its fan down a few seconds after the start but keeps the fan speed constant irrespective of the load or video mode. It makes your being near the computer quite an uncomfortable experience. Searching in our memories we could only recall one, even louder, cooler – the one they used to install on the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra! We don’t think the manufacturer did mean such a loud noise – some error in the graphics card’s BIOS must have been the reason for the non-operational control over the fan speed. We didn’t find a BIOS update on the PowerColor website, though. They will probably release it soon.
Like with the reference RADEON X800 XL, overclocking is not rewarding. The graphics processor is only stable at 435MHz at best. That’s the trade-off for the 0.11-micron tech process without low-k dielectrics. The memory did better in our overclocking tests; it worked at 1160MHz, which is an achievement for 2.0ns chips.
The quality of the image the graphics card produced in 2D applications was excellent in all resolutions supported by our monitor.