Introduction, Specifications & Bundle
It has been a few weeks since ATi officially unveiled their Radeon X800 line of graphics cards based on the GPU formerly codenamed R420. In our initial look at the Radeon X800 Pro and X800 XT Platinum Edition back in May, we found ATi's latest flagship GPUs to be very capable performers, besting their previous high-end product, the Radeon 9800 XT, in virtually every benchmark we ran. Image quality was also on par with the 9800 XT, which is to say it was very good. A few day prior to ATi's launch, products based on NVIDIA's NV4x had also debuted, and they too offered huge performance gains and improved image quality over the previous generation. When our testing was complete, it was clear to us that both ATi and NVIDIA had compelling products on tap, but the hardware we tested in those articles were first-run reference boards, and the drivers were early revisions that were the first to support each company's new architecture. These "first looks" are great for assessing general performance and spotlighting new features, but it's not until actual retail products hit the shelves and the drivers go through a few revisions, that we can truly assess a product and offer a rating. Fortunately, that day has arrived. Today we have a showcase for you, of the first retail X800 Pro to arrive in our labs, the Asus AX800 Pro/TD.
The Asus AX800 Pro/TD is powered by the 12-Pipe derivative of ATi's R420 GPU, otherwise known as the Radeon X800 Pro. Its core is clocked at the same 475MHz as the "Built by ATi" products, and it sports the same 256MB of GDDR3 RAM as well. Asus does however, have a few ideas of their own that help differentiate the AX800 Pro/TD from competing products. Let take a look at what Asus has in store for potential AX800 Pro buyers, and while we're at it, lets assess its performance using the latest drivers available. Just for good measure, we've also benchmarked 5 other cards as well, including the 12-Pipe GeForce 6800 (article forthcoming).
|Powered by the ATI Radeon X800 PRO
ASUS AX800 PRO equips with newest ASUS-specific award-winning features and ATI's Radeon X800 PRO Visual Processing Unit (VPU), which owns both ultimate excellent cinematic resolution and fierce graphics computing power. Incorporating various state-of-the-art technologies such as ATI's SMARTSHADER HD, SMOOTHVISION HD, HYPERZ HD, VIDEOSHADER HD, 3Dc, ASUS' GameFace Live, and rich-spectrum of unique ASUS innovations, Radeon X800 PRO is positioned on the enthusiast products and the most complete solution for the 3D and video application market.
SMARTSHADER HD increased maximum shader instruction count to 1,536 from 160; new high-performance shader compiler
SMOOTHVISION HD improved AA and AF performance for HD resolutions; 12X effective Temporal MSAA generates the sharpest and clearest images
VIDEOSHADER HD integrated shader features to provide unprecedented support for digital and high definition video
HYPER Z HD enhanced Hi-Z buffer for improved performance at HD resolutions
3Dc provided image enhancement & acceleration technology resulting in high polygon characters and scenes
128-bit, 64-bit & 32-bit per pixel floating point color formats
Microsoft DirectX 9 and OpenGL 1.5 support
AGP 8X support
ASUS GameFace Live for real-time video/audio communication
ASUS Video Security online for building private security system
ASUS On Screen Display allows you to instantly change various 3D settings in almost any PC game without the need to quite the game
High-quality TV output for big screen gaming or presentations
DVI output for easy connectivity to digital flat panel display
Diversified displays connectivity (DVI, Dual VGA, DVI+VGA, DVI+TV-out)
DVI to VGA adaptor
7 Pin S-Video to HDTV(YprPb) cable
S-Video to composite adaptor
RCA composite cable
ATX power cable
Free CD Case
Counter Strike: Condition Zero
Deus Ex: Invisible War
Ulead Cool 3D 2.0+Photo Express 4.0 SE (2 in 1)
ASUS DVD XP
Power Director 3
ASUS Driver and Utilities
Free Webcam ( 300K pixels)
Graphics Engine - ATI Radeon X800 PRO
Video Memory - 256MB DDR
Engine Clock - 475MHz
Memory Clock - 900MHz(450MHz DDR)
RAMDAC - 400MHz
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
Asus has outfitted their AX800 Pro/TD bundle with an impressive list of accessories and software. Included with the card, we found a DVI to VGA adaptor (for connecting dual analog monitors), a 7-Pin S-Video to HDTV (YprPb) cable, a standard S-Video cable, an S-Video to composite adaptor, an RCA composite cable and a Molex power cable splitter. This complete assortment of cables and adaptors gives users the ability to connect the AX800 Pro's video/TV-Out to virtually any type of video device on the market, without having to spend any extra money.
The AX800 Pro/TD also shipped with quite a bit of software as well. Filed inside the orange, plastic CD case we found two full version games, Counter Strike: Condition Zero and Deus Ex: Invisible War, along with 5 other CDs comprised of Ulead's Cool 3D 2.0 and Photo Express 4.0 SE, ASUS DVD XP, Power Director 3, Media Show and lastly the requisite ASUS Driver and Utilities disc.
The Asus Driver and Utility CD includes copies of Asus' proprietary GameFace Live software, for real-time video/audio communication, and ASUS Video Security on-line. These two applications work in conjunction with the USB WebCam Asus also bundles with the AX800 Pro/TD. To explain how to use all of these programs and accessories, and install the card itself, Asus provided a total of 4 well written users manuals as well. Overall, this is one of the most comprehensive video card bundles we have ever come across.