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.
Features - ATI Radeon X1800 XL
Ring Bus Memory Controller
Avivo Video and Display Engine
Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
Advanced Image Quality Features
• Counter Strike - Condition Zero
• Xpand Rally
• Power Director 3
• Gigabyte Driver CD with PowerDVD 6
• 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.