With all of our recent articles concerning NVIDIA's latest round of products, it seemed as if our analysis in the graphics space was getting a bit lop-sided. Today, we're aiming to change that with a new card from Sapphire, dubbed the Sapphire Toxic X800 Pro ViVo. This card alone could make up for some of the new mid range Radeon's missing fanfare. From the shiny metallic alien-adorned box to the exotic looking card within, this product is definitely an eye-catcher. Based on the Radeon X800 Pro VPU, the Toxic X800 Pro is a complete solution for both performance users and multimedia aficionados.
Sapphire is branding this, as well as some other new cards, as the "TOXIC" series. They are essentially top-of-the-line products with lots of extra features, including a solid game bundle, oversized cooling options, hardware monitoring, and software controlled overclocking called Automated Performance Enhancement, or "APE" for short. Let's start off with the specifications of the Toxic X800 Pro, and see what kind of "monkey business" Sapphire is up to.
DVI to VGA adaptor
7 Pin S-Video to HDTV(YprPb) cable
S-Video to composite adaptor
RCA composite cable
ATX power cable splitter
Sapphire Case Badge
Sapphire Driver CD
Redline Tweak Utility CD
PowerDVD 5 (2 Speaker version)
Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow
Prince of Persia - Sands of Time
Graphics Engine: ATI Radeon X800 PRO
Video Memory: 256MB GDDR3
Engine Clock: 475MHz
Memory Clock: 900MHz(450MHz DDR)
Bus Standard: AGP8X/4X/2X
Memory Interface: 256-bit DDR
Max Resolution: 2048x1536
VGA Output: Standard 15-pin D-sub
TV-out: S-Video and Composite
DVI Output: DVI-I
2nd VGA Output: Yes
Sapphire has included what has to be one of the most complete bundles that we've seen recently. All of the cables that one would normally need are there, including a power cable splitter, S-Video cables, RCA and component video, as well as a DVI-to-VGA adapter. Unfortunately, the user's manual is far too sparse on information about properly setting up the card using these connections. The pictures describing the power connection do not match at all, and little thought was given to installing and running the card in any other manner than standard VGA. More experienced users will not be put off by this, which is almost surely the market that Sapphire is leaning to, but we still feel that more effort was needed in the documentation. We should point out, however, than the online version of the manual was much more complete, and covered cabling and advanced settings much more thoroughly.
On the software side, there were not one, but two complete games: Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow and Prince of Persia - Sands of Time, both from Ubisoft. Splinter Cell actually comes in a DVD-ROM format, which differs from what is available in stores. To complement these games, we also found a 2 channel version of PowerDVD 5, a PowerDirector CD, and Sapphire's driver CD and Redline Tweak application. The driver CD is straightforward enough; install the drivers and Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view the online manual. There's also a link to install the Automatic Performance Enhancement (APE) software, which in and of itself sounds innocent enough to install. Who wouldn't want better performance? What isn't explained right away is what APE actually does, which is raise the memory speed from the default speed of 450MHz (900MHz effective) to 520MHz (1040MHz). The VPU speed is not altered, but this can be remedied by using the Redline Tweak application. Best of all, even though APE is running the memory at higher than normal speeds, the Toxic X800 Pro is still warrantied by Sapphire under these conditions, so there's really no reason not to install it.