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Sapphire Technology, the world’s largest maker of graphics cards based on the ATI Radeon graphics processors, said Wednesday it would increase performance of its latest graphics card named Blizzard. The graphics card powered by the Radeon X1900 XTX graphics processing unit (GPU) promises to be the fastest graphics card on the planet.

The Sapphire Radeon X1900 XTX Blizzard was announced at CeBIT 2006 exhibition and attracted a lot of attention, as the product features specially-designed water-cooling system that ensures great efficiency of cooling amid quiet operation, something that computer enthusiasts dream of.

“We have found that the cooling is quite efficient… and we decided to overclock [the board] a little,” a spokesman for Sapphire told X-bit labs.

The retail versions of the Radeon X1900 XTX Blizzard will be clocked at 675MHz for the GPU and 1600MHz for the memory, up 25MHz and 50MHz compared to reference clocks of the chip and memory respectively. While the frequency increase is not very significant, it allows Sapphire to declare the world’s fastest Radeon X1900 XTX and also demonstrate the efficiency of the Blizzard’s cooling system. Users will be able to further overclock the part.

The Radeon X1900 graphics chip, also known under code-name R580, features 48 pixel shader processors, 8 vertex shader processors, 16 texture units, enlarged by 50% hierarchical Z-buffer (HyperZ buffer), higher amount of general purpose register arrays as well as Fetch4 feature designed to accelerate lookup of textures consisting of one component by the factor of four. The new chip naturally utilizes ATI’s ring-bus memory controller as well as other improvements found in the Radeon X1000 family.

Recommended price of the Radeon X1900 XTX – the fastest flavour of the X1900 family – is $549.

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