The Product Line-Up (Cont.)
Finally, we have the new flagship Radeon X1800 XT. This is the card that ATI hopes will find a home in many of your high-end gaming rigs when it finally ships, reportedly sometime next month. Its specifications certainly warrant consideration...
|The card you see here is a 512MB Radeon X1800 XT (MSRP $549). At its heart is essentially the same GPU found on the Radeon X1800 XL, but on the XT it is clocked much higher. To reiterate, the Radeon X1800 XT's GPU is comrised of appoximately 321 million transistors and is built using a .09 micron manufacturing process. The GPU on this card is equipped with 16-pixel shader processors, 8-vertex shader processors, and a 256-bit 8-channel GDDR3/GDDR4 memory interface. The Radeon X1800 XT's core is clocked at an impressive 625MHz and its memory is running at a whopping 1.5GHz. To sustain these high clock speeds, the Radeon X1800 XT sports a beefy dual-slot cooler that is very similar to the one found on the older Radeon X850 XT. The PCB is much larger than previous Radeons, and sports Volterra's multi-phase voltage regulator chipset (under the thin, red heatsink). The Radeon X1800 XT is expected to also be available in a 256MB version, which will be priced initially with an MSRP of $499.|
We were curious to see how large the Radeon X1800 GPU really was after hearing that the core is composed of over 320 million transistors, so we popped the heatsink off of the Radeon X1800 XL to take a closer look. And for good measure, we did the same to a GeForce 7800 GTX. Using a trusty old ruler, we found the Radeon X1800 GPU to be roughly 18mm x 16mm, or 288mm2. As you can see, only its corners are visible under a dime. Conversely, a GeForce 7800 GTX, which is built on TSMC's .11 micron line, is a bit larger. We measured the GeForce 7800 GTX at approximately 19mm x 18.5mm, or 351.5mm2. If yields at TSMC are good, it could be more cost efficient for ATI to produce X1800s than it is for NVIDIA to make the GTX, which could push street prices down in time. Then again, packing 512MB of 1.5GHz GDDR3 RAM on a flagship card won't be cheap for the forseeable future either, so watch for those 256MB X1800 variants.