Inspecting the Card
Upon first glance, one quickly realizes that ASUS has opted to utilize ATI's reference design for the Radeon X1900 XTX. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the reference design has proven to be rock solid in practice with no major faults to speak of. Here, the only customization to the overall physical appearance of the card comes by way of an ASUS logo on the heatsink assembly's fan.
Removing the heatsink assembly, we find the heart of the graphics card. Based upon a 90u process, the R580 core is able to run at an impressive 650MHz core frequency. Moving our attention to the memory, we find Samsung K4J52324QC-BJ11 chips on-board. Somewhat surprisingly, these chips are rated for up to 900MHz (1.8GHz effective) frequency. This is well beyond the stock 1.5GHz memory speed the card ships with, leaving ample headroom for overclocking.
Taking a look at the heatsink assembly itself, we find a rather robust dual-slot cooler. The heatsink assembly is comprised of two separate pieces with the first piece being a plastic fan shroud and duct. This piece rests directly over an aluminum baseplate with a large copper heatsink which gets mounted directly over the GPU's position on the PCB. In practice, the heatsink does a respectable job of keeping the flagship GPU's temperature under control. Unfortunately, it accomplishes this at the cost of some excessive noise from the blower fan which can easily be heard over most other fans within the system when spun up under load.
Looking at the bottom of the aluminum baseplate, we see that ASUS has utilized thermal pads to fill the gap and provide thermal connectivity between the memory modules and the cooler. In terms of cooling the GPU, the copper heatsink has a square slug which extends through the aluminum baseplate to mate directly with the GPU.
Inspecting the side-profile of the card, we see how the heatsink assembly utilizes a full two slots. The bottom slot houses the dual DVI and S-Video connectors whereas the top slot is reserved for expelling hot air from the blower fan. Turning our attention to the opposite end of the card, we see a small passive heatsink managing temperatures for the power logic. Looking at the orientation of the heatsink fins, we see that this small passive cooler benefits from the airflow being sucked through the main heatsink assembly duct and across the card.
Positioned near the front of the PCB we find the Rage Theater chipset which is responsible for handling the card's video-in functionality. Although the EAX1900XTX is surely designed for gamers, it is nice to have the additional multimedia functionality brought by this chip. Add to this the GPU's native support for ATI's AVIVO technology and you quickly begin to realize that the EAX1900XTX will be appreciated by multimedia buffs and gamers alike.