ATi Radeon X800 XT & X800 Pro - Heart Burn For The NV40 - HotHardware

ATi Radeon X800 XT & X800 Pro - Heart Burn For The NV40

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There is no question, the year ahead in 2004, is shaping up to be a banner one for leading edge PC technology.  New features and performance abound, as new technologies such as PCI Express, DDR2 and GDDR3 find their way into the mainstream.  While the past few iterations of platform products have been more or less, "kicker" implementations of legacy technology, this year's refresh marks what could be exponential performance gains with a host of new features.

Likewise, the 3D Graphics market is on a major run with NVIDIA and ATi leading the charge to real-time cinematic effects and what looks to be a significant boost in available rendering power and programmability for the Game Developer community.  In mid April, we gave you a taste of NVIDIA's new GeForce 6800 Ultra and in many areas the card was capable of almost 2X the performance of ATi's historically dominant Radeon 9800XT.  This was an impressive feat to say the least and NVIDIA made believers again out of many, who were losing faith in the Silicon Valley based giant and its ability to execute.

Details have been floating around about ATi's forthcoming R420 VPU but with the obvious potent stinging jab in which NVIDIA delivered their new GeForce, speculation was on the rise.  Would ATi really be able to reach the new bar NVIDIA set?  It seemed unlikely that even ATi could be capable of delivering a product more powerful or with more features, than what NVIDIA had just unleashed.  16 pipes, 2X the pixel engine of their nearest competitor, NVIDIA's got game with the GeForce 6800 Ultra. What could possibly be faster?

You learn not to ask yourself these types of question in this business.   The answer is typically only limited by your imagination.  The good news is, we have a hefty shot of reality for you here at HotHardware today, with our ATi Radeon X800 XT and Radeon X800 Pro showcase.

An Introduction To The ATi Radeon X800 XT and X800 Pro
A 16 Pipe Machine and  A 12 Pipe Machine, All Muscle

RADEON  X800 XT Platinum Edition:

•520MHz engine
•.13 micron copper low-k
•1.12GHz memory data rate
•256-bit memory interface
•256MB GDDR3 memory

•16 pixel pipes
•6 vertex pipes
•8.32 Gigapixel/second fill rate
•HYPER Z™ support for HD resolutions including HierarchicalZ, color and Z compression
•Hierarchical Z and Early Z
•Z Compression
•Fast Z Clear
•Z/Stencil Cache
3Dc Compression Technology
• Lossless Normal Map Compression
•4:1 Normal Map Compression technology
Smart Shader HD
• 1536 Shader Instructions
•Flexible Shader Architecture
SmoothVision HD
• Improved Anti Improved performance
•Temporal Anti Aliasing
•Centroid Sample Anti-Aliasing Mode
•Programmable sparse sample patterns
VideoShader HD
• High quality video processing & acceleration
•Real time user programmable video effects
•Video post processing and filtering
•MPEG 1, 2, 4 encode and decode acceleration
•FULLSTREAM™ Video Deblocking
•WMV9 decode acceleration
•High quality resolution scaling
•Adaptive Per Pixel Deinterlacing
•Motion Compensation
•Noise removal filtering
•Display Rotation

Average Power Consumption under load - 65 - 76 Watts quoted*
*Average power draw while looping 3DMark 2001 and 2003

RADEON  X800 XT Platinum Edition:
Shipping May 21
Suggested retail price $499

RADEON X800 PRO:

•475MHz engine
•.13 micron copper low-k
•900MHz memory data rate
•256-bit memory interface
•256MB GDDR3 memory

•12 pixel pipes
•6 vertex pipes
•5.7 Gigapixel/second fill rate
•HYPER Z™ support for HD resolutions including HierarchicalZ, color and Z compression
•Hierarchical Z and Early Z
•Z Compression
•Fast Z Clear
•Z/Stencil Cache

3Dc Compression Technology
• Lossless Normal Map Compression
•4:1 Normal Map Compression technology
Smart Shader HD
• 1536 Shader Instructions
•Flexible Shader Architecture
SmoothVision HD
• Improved Anti Improved performance
•Temporal Anti Aliasing
•Centroid Sample Anti-Aliasing Mode
•Programmable sparse sample patterns
VideoShader HD
• High quality video processing & acceleration
•Real time user programmable video effects
•Video post processing and filtering
•MPEG 1, 2, 4 encode and decode acceleration
•FULLSTREAM™ Video Deblocking
•WMV9 decode acceleration
•High quality resolution scaling
•Adaptive Per Pixel Deinterlacing
•Motion Compensation
•Noise removal filtering
•Display Rotation

Average Power Consumption under load - 49 - 58 Watts quoted*
*Average power draw while looping 3DMark 2001 and 2003

RADEON X800 PRO:
Shipping May 4
Suggested retail price $399


As noted above, the Radeon X800 XT is the flagship enthusiast product in ATi's new line-up and like the GeForce 6800 Ultra, it is also a 16 pixel pipe machine.  Conversely, it is also has a 120MHz core clock speed advantage over NVIDIA's new standard enthusiast card and a 70MHz advantage over their recently rushed in GeForce 6800 Ultra "Extreme" (more on this later).  Memory speeds for the Radeon X800 XT are clocked within typical limits of the GDDR3 DRAM that is utilized on both ATi and NVIDIA next generation products, although ATi took the high road here as well, dropping in an additional 20MHz, which certainly won't matter much in the benchmarks.  The X800 Pro is ATi's mainstream 12 pixel pipe VPU, with a 475MHz core and a 900MHz GDDR3 clock.

ATi reclaims highest over all peak memory bandwidth and fill rate with the X800 XT, at 8.32 Gigapixels/sec versus even the GeForce 6800 Ultra Ex at 7.2GP/sec.  Additionally, the X800 Pro is within striking distance of the GF 6800U at 5.7GP/sec versus 6.4 for the NVIDIA card.  Beyond that, think of these two new products from ATi as build-outs of the scalable architecture of the original R350 but with significant enhancements that alleviate performance bottlenecks, provide better efficiency and new features as well.  We'll dig into the chip level architecture a bit shortly.  Let's have a closer look at the cards first.

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