ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and RADEON X800 PRO: Closer Look
When we removed the package, we didn’t believe our eyes at first glance: the two cards looked so familiar and so similar to the good old RADEON 9800 XT! The compact PCB, flat single-slot cooling solution onboard, everything reminded of RADEON 9800 XT, and only the stickers on the PCB and the memory chips marking indicated that we are looking at the graphics cards based on the new generation chips.
Anyway, take a look yourselves:
Well, this is a npretty modest design I should say, compared with GeForce 6800 Ultra, don’t you think so? The seeming simplicity of the PCB design surprised us most of all, I should say, as we had expected to see really monstrous graphics cards.
But the exterior may make an illusory impression: it was really RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and RADEON X800 PRO, 16- and 12-pipelines monsters from ATI.
All in all, RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and RADEON X800 PRO have the design very similar to that of RADEON 9800 XT, but look maybe even simpler than that, as the biggest part of a pretty compact PCB is covered with a screen and the soldered SIMD-elements are very few.
Just like the RADEON 9800 XT PCB, this one is equipped with a standard connector for additional power supply, as the power consumption of this solution doesn’t allow to give up additional power supply. Next to the additional PSU connector, there is a yellow connector, looking like an internal audio port of the contemporary sound cards. ATI Technologies representative claims that it is none other but a composite video-In, which allows implementing the video In on the front panel of the PC case with the help of a special cable attached to this connector. This is a pretty original and non-standard solution, which we haven’t yet seen anywhere, however, it will definitely make sense in certain situations.
The front side of the PCB doesn’t look that impressive, and so doesn’t the back side: you will find only the chips responsible for the graphics processor and graphics memory voltage regulation, and a traditional set of SIMD elements. The only remarkable thing there is the ATI Rage Theater chip implementing the VIVO function. It is also interesting that for some mysterious reason the cards were equipped with old Rage Theater chips, instead of a more up-to-date Rage Theater 200.
You can also notice a metal clip on the back side of the PCB. It serves as a part of the cooler retention mechanism, and also protects the graphics cards against possible physical damage caused by extreme bending of the PCB during work.
The cooling system of the VPU is almost identical to what we saw by RADEON 9800 XT:
The cooler design is pretty simple: the copper plate with a 70mm fan is equipped with copper ribs, and covered with a plastic case with a hole for the air to get freely to the fan. The case guides the airflow from the fan along the ribs of the heatsink, and after that the warm air is thrown upward in the direction opposite to the fan.
This is a simple, compact and pretty efficient solution, but will it be enough to cool down the chip made of more than 1.5 hundred million transistors?