Sapphire Toxic Radeon X700 Pro 128 - HotHardware

Sapphire Toxic Radeon X700 Pro 128

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When shopping for a new video card, naturally, we all want the fastest card available performance wise.  However, many simply can't justify the price that some high-end cards currently command.  With many premium models now selling for more than $500, gamers on a budget often need to focus their efforts on finding a good, mid-range 3D graphics solution.

When we look at the mid-range graphics card market, ATI's Radeon X700 is a popular model that fits the needs of many gamers quite well.  It's got a good feature set, and it won't break the bank.  Today, we are going to take a look at the latest X700 based PCI Express video card to hit our test bench, with a review of Sapphire's Toxic Radeon X700 Pro 128.  This is a promising mid-range card boasting 128MB of GDDR3 RAM and an oversized cooler that aims to control heat while keeping noise to a minimum.  We've seen similar offerings like this crop up as of late, so we're going to take a closer look and see if Sapphire brings anything new to the fray with their Toxic Radeon X700 Pro 128.

Specifications of the Sapphire Toxic Radeon X700 Pro 128
Your Standard X700 Pro - Sort of
Chip/Clock Speed
ATI RADEON X700 PRO / 425MHz

Memory Configuration
860MHz 128MB 128-bit GDDR3

Connectors
1 x VGA(D-Sub)
1 x TV-Out (S-Video/Composite Out)
1 x DVI

Bus
PCI-Express x16

Max Resolution
2048x1536@85Hz

Accessories
S-Video Cable
Composite Cable
Power Cable
S-Video to RCA adapter
DVI to VGA adapter
Game and Software
Manual
Driver CD

System requirements
Intel Pentium 4, AMD or compatible CPUs
128 MB system memory or more
PCI-Express compliant motherboard supporting PCI-Express x16
3D Acceleration Features
Up to 8 Full Precision DX9 Pipelines
6 Parallel Geometry Pipelines
Pixel Fill-rate 3.4 Gpixel/Sec
DirectX 9.0 Architecture
Industry's fully DX9 playable DX9 Architecture
ATI SMARTSHADER HD provides improved programmability and performance
ATI CATALYST™ unified software suit deliver rock-solid compatibility with software drivers
ATI 3Dc image enhancement & acceleration technology
4:1 normal map compression/decompression
Reduced memory footprint
Accelerated surface detail emulates high polygon characters and scenes
ATI SMOOTHVISION HD
Offers the fastest, highest quality, and most flexible anti-aliasing implementation
Improved AA and AF performance for HD resolutions
12x effective Temporal MSAA
ATI HyperZ HD
Reaches the unprecedented levels of rendering performance
Double the Z compression (8:1)
Enhanced Hi-Z buffer for improved performance at HD resolutions
ATI VIDEOSHADER HD
A seamless integration of pixel shaders with video
FULLSTREAM for DivX, Windows Media 9, and Real Media
MPEG 1/2/4 decode and encode acceleration
New Video algorithms that use pixel shaders for 3:2 Pulldown, Interlacing, and Deblocking
Added support for high-end HD resolutions

Operating Systems Support
Windows 2000/XP

Sapphire included several decent games such as Prince of Persia –The Sands of Time and Splinter Cell – Pandora Tomorrow with their Toxic Radeon X700 Pro.  A full version of Power DVD 5 was also included, although it was the 2-channel version, not the full 5.1 edition. The package came with a basic multi-lingual User's Manual that covered the bare essentials of installation and a drivers CD provided the necessary software to complete the installation process.  Sapphire also included their A.P.E. software (Automated Performance Enhancement) that allows for automatic adjustment of clock speeds to pre-specified levels, overclocking the card while staying within the limits set forth in the warranty.

  

The package included a few pieces of extra hardware as well, including a VGA-to-DVI adapter and two video cables, one S-Video and one Composite.  There was also a perforated PCI knock-out to accommodate the second PCI slot occupied by the Toxic Radeon's oversized "Lethal Cooling" assembly.  Rounding out the package was a complete black light kit which included a 10cm black light, On/Off switch, inverter, Velcro strips for mounting and a circular template for drilling and mounting the power switch in a computer case.

  

All-in-all, the Sapphire Toxic Radeon X700 Pro 128 came with a bundle that offered a bit more than usual for a card of this caliber.  The software complement was better than average and a black light kit is not typical equipment included with a video card.

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