Gigabyte GV-RX18L256V-B Radeon X1800XL

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With all the praise that has been heaped upon NVIDIA for their 7800 series of graphic cards, it was bound to cause a bit of dismay for rival ATi.  For nearly two years ATi had been riding high on the success of their 9700 and 9800 series of cards, while NVIDIA had been trying to save face after a few mishaps of their own.  Then, somewhat ironically, the tables were turned.  While the 7800GT and 7800GTX were taking the industry by storm with their outstanding performance and relatively quiet operation, ATi seemed to hit pothole after pothole.

So, it was with some eager anticipation that the Radeon X1000 series was released, with hopes of putting ATi back on the map and into the hearts of their fanbase. With low end Radeon X1300, midrange Radeon X1600, and higher end Radeon X1800 models announced at the time of the launch, there were certainly plenty of cards to choose from.  Today, we will be taking a look at a card based on the Radeon X1800 XL GPU, the Gigabyte GV-RX18L256V-B.

       

Gigabyte's GV-RX18L256V-B Specifications
The Crimson Empire Strikes Back!

Features - ATI Radeon X1800 XL
• 321 million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
• Ultra-threaded architecture with fast dynamic branching
• Sixteen pixel shader processors
• Eight vertex shader processors
• 256-bit 8-channel GDDR3/GDDR4 memory interface
• Native PCI Express x16 bus interface
• Dynamic Voltage Control

Ring Bus Memory Controller
• 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
• Programmable intelligent arbitration logic
• Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
• Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
• Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
• Fast Z-Buffer Clear
• Z/stencil cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
• Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions

Avivo Video and Display Engine
• High performance programmable video processor
_o Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding (including DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray playback), encoding & transcoding
_o DXVA support
_o De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
_o Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
_o Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
_o 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
• Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
• HDR tone mapping acceleration
_o Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
• Flexible display support
_o Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
_o DVI 1.0 / HDMI compliant and HDCP ready
_o Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
_o 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
_o Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion (10 bits per color)
_o Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
_o High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
_o Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
_o Xilleon™ TV encoder for high quality analog output
_o YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
_o Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
_o Fast, glitch-free mode switching
_o VGA mode support on all outputs
• Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550

Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
• Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
• Up to 512 simultaneous pixel threads
• Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
• Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
• 3Dc+ texture compression
_o High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two-channel data formats
_o High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
• Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
• Render to vertex buffer support
• Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL 2.0

Advanced Image Quality Features
• 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
_o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
• 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
_o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
• 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
_o Multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sparse sample patterns, and centroid sampling
_o New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
_o Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
_o Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
• 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
_o Up to 128-tap texture filtering
_o Adaptive algorithm with Performance and Quality options
• High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)

Software Bundle

Counter Strike - Condition Zero
Xpand Rally
Power Director 3
Gigabyte Driver CD with PowerDVD 6

Adapter/Cable Bundle
Composite and S-Video cables
HDTV-out cable DVI adaptor
Power splitter cord

 

 


The Radeon X1800XL's VPU is composed of roughly 321 million transistors, and features ATI's self proclaimed "Ultra-threaded architecture" with fast dynamic branching. The VPU has 16-pixel shader processors, 8-vertex shader processors, and is equipped with a 256-bit 8-channel memory interface. The Gigabyte GV-RX18L256V-B uses the X1800XL, with its core clocked at the default 500MHz and its memory clocked at just under 1GHz. At these clock speeds, a large-single slot cooler is sufficient to keep core and memory temperatures in check. On the surface, the specifications seem much like an X850, but the X1800XL sports SM 3.0 support, the new Avivo engine, and a more advanced memory controller.  Even though the X1800s have fewer pixel shader pipelines than NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GT and GTX, their higher clock speeds help keep fillrate competitive.  Today we will compare the RX18L256V-B against an X850XT and a 7800GT to see which one comes out on top.

 

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