The Card - Up Close & Personal
As we mentioned earlier, the AX800 Pro/TD is powered by the 12-Pipe version of ATi's R420 core; the same GPU used on ATi's Radeon X800 Pro. As such, it has the same specifications, so we'll reuse a chart from our initial preview to compare its peak fillrate and memory bandwidth to competing products at both the high and low-end of the spectrum...
With a peak fillrate of 5.7Gpixels/s and with a maximum of 28.8GB/s of memory bandwidth, the AX800 Pro (Radeon X800 Pro) is one of the more powerful graphics cards currently available. Only the 16-Pipe variants of NVIDIA's and ATi's GPUs offer higher fillrates and more memory bandwidth. And although they were the cream of the crop a few short months ago, the ATi Radeon 9800 XT and GeForce FX 5950 Ultra have peak pixel and texel fillrates that don't even come close to this new generation of graphics products.
The Asus AX800 Pro/TD looks a bit different than ATi's reference card, but the underling technology is basically identical. The layout and component placement is analogous to ATi's reference design, but Asus is using a unique, orange colored PCB with a purple Molex connector. They've also customized the cooler slightly, with swank "Asus" and "AX800" decals affixed to the fan and shroud. The GPU is identical, as is the 256MB (8x32MB) of Samsung GDDR3 RAM (K4J55323QF-GC20) installed on the board. A quick search of Samsung's web site revealed that these particular RAM chips are rated for 1GHz (500MHz DDR), so the AX800 Pro should have a respectable amount of overclocking headroom "built-in". (More on this topic a little later)
Aesthetically speaking, the Asus AX800 Pro/TD is quite attractive. The single-slot cooler isn't terribly noisy and doesn't encroach on adjacent expansion slots. The PCB color is a bit of the ordinary, but we think it looks pretty cool. One thing is for certain, in side-by-side comparisons, you'll definitely be able to pick out Asus' card over most other Radeon X800 Pros!