Noise, Overclockability, 2D Quality
The PowerColor X1900 XT being a copy of the etalon graphics card from ATI, its cooling system behaves in exactly the same manner (for more details see our earlier article called ATI RADEON X1000: Brand-New Graphics Architecture from ATI Explored). The fan works at its full speed and is very noisy at a system startup, but then the speed management system slows it down and the card becomes almost silent. You may also catch the fan spinning up when you are working long in 3D applications; there’s more noise then, but within comfortable limits.
We were lucky with our sample of the card as concerns overclocking. We managed to make the GPU work at 675MHz, which is 25MHz above the standard GPU frequency of the Radeon X1900 XTX model. The memory chips followed suit, being stable at 800 (1600) MHz. Our further attempts were fruitless, but at the said frequencies the card successfully passed the full cycle of our tests, remaining 100% stable.
Sapphire’s pre-overclocked Blizzard Radeon X1900 XTX, the card that comes with a liquid-based cooling system, has such characteristics. That’s why we are satisfied with the results especially since we achieved them by only installing an additional 120mm fan to blow at the card’s PCB. We might have had better results by modifying the GPU/memory power circuit or using cryogen cooling, but this review isn’t about extreme overclocking after all.
The quality of the 2D image provided by the card was high in all the display modes available on our laboratory monitor, including 1800x1440@75Hz and 1600x1200@85Hz. The PowerColor X1900 XT delivers a sharp picture without any fuzziness or shadowing.