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Power Consumption and Overclocking

We measured the power consumption of the Radeon X1800 GTO on the following testbed:

  • Intel Pentium 4 560 CPU (3.60GHz, 1MB L2);
  • Intel Desktop Board D925XCV mainboard;
  • PC-4300 DDR2 SDRAM (2 x 512MB);
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C HDD (Serial ATA-150, 8MB buffer);
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c.

We used a digital multimeter Velleman DVM850BL (0.5% measurement accuracy). To put a Peak 3D load on the card we ran the first SM 3.0 graphics test from 3DMark06 in a loop at 1600x1200 resolution with 16x anisotropic filtering. Then we created an extremely high 2D load by launching the 2D Transparent Windows test from Futuremark PCMark05. Here are the results:

The Radeon X1800 GTO consumes much less than the Radeon X1800 XL in which all the 16 pixel processors, TMUs and ROPs are enabled and working, but doesn’t reach the level of the simpler GeForce 7600 GT. After all, the R520 is a complex chip which was originally intended for top-performance solutions and its 48 watts is a good result. The card puts equal load on its internal and external +12V channels in 3D mode – each channel provides about 21W of power and the rest is consumed from the +3.3V rail. A high-wattage power supply isn’t required. You shouldn’t be afraid to install your Radeon X1800 GTO into barebone systems which usually come with low-wattage PSUs.

Next we tried to overclock the card and were quite successful at that. Using the stock cooler we managed to increase the core frequency of our Radeon X1800 GTO to 600MHz. The graphics memory was overclocked to 575 (1150) MHz which was an achievement for 2.0ns chips. At 600 (1200) MHz memory frequency the card would freeze after a while.

So, the Radeon X1800 GTO seems to be a good choice for an overclocker even if you don’t succeed in unblocking the disabled GPU subunits. You can also get better overclocking results than ours if you are into water or cryogen cooling and volt-modding, but there’s a higher risk of damaging the card through such experiments, too.

Noise and 2D Quality

The fan speed control system of the Radeon X1800 GTO works exactly like on any other Radeon X1800/X1900 card. The fan rotates at its max speed after you turn the computer on, but then the speed is lowered to nearly silent level. After that the fan may speed up if the GPU temperature exceeds a certain value after your having worked in 3D applications for a while. The Radeon X1800 GTO becomes audible then, but fortunately it doesn’t produce the irritating high-frequency noise the Radeon X1800 XL used to emit. So, the noise characteristics of the Radeon X1800 GTO are acceptable, even though the card is not actually noiseless. You can also adjust the fan speed manually by means of RivaTuner. This method of reducing the noise should be quite safe if you don’t drop the speed unreasonably low.

The Radeon X1800 GTO doesn’t differ from the Radeon X1800 XL in design, so it delivers the same 2D image quality. We saw a sharp picture without fuzziness or shadowing in all display modes supported by our Dell P1130 and P1110 monitors, including 1800x1440.

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