Gigabyte GV-RX80L256V Radeon X800XL Videocard Review
release of the first Radeon, you might say that ATi has been on a good roll. Except
perhaps when ATi
was eventually 'forced' to 'cancel' its long awaited X800 XT PE videocard altogether...
and let's not forget that the X700 XT card also fell off the radar
So far,it seems that 2005 has been a good year for the company though; the Radeon X850 was slightly late to
the market but at least you can buy them. The highly anticipated Radeon X800 XL
also took a bit long to make it to stores, but they are
now available through a few vendors.
The average price of Radeon X800 XL videocards remains marked up a lot higher than ATi's
MSRP of $299 US (~$360 CDN), routinely selling for closer to $410 US
(~$500CDN)! Hopefully as more manufacturers get X800 XL products out, prices will start
to drop to more reasonable levels.
The Gigabyte GV-RX80L256V
videocard on the test bench today is a silent videocard; a unique thing for any
product wearing a "Radeon" name, but there it is - not
a single fan. This brand-new videocard is built from the ground up around the ATI X800 XL
VPU, which is nicely hidden behind a complicated heatpipe-based passive cooling system. The X800 XL VPU has
been matched with 256MB of GDDR3 RAM. The memory hums along at a full 1 GHz speed on a 256-bit
wide memory controller. The GV-RX80L256V also supports TV/S-Video output as well
as component out for HDTV applications.
GV-RX80L256V videocard applies the same basic PCB layout as
previous X800/X850 class videocards, but unlike its more expensive bretheren this
videocard does not require any extra power sources. That's why the six pin 12V
connector is missing on the top right hand corner of the card.
Looking at the GV-RX80L256V,
the first thing that stands out is the large passive heatpipe cooling system.
Users who are sensitive to the level of sound coming from the PC will surely appreciate a silent videocard solution
like this one, which operates completely based on convection cooling.
As to how
well the heatpipe and aluminum heatsinks
cool... well, we'll talk about that a little bit later.
Gigabyte has not bundled the latest games
with the GV-RX80L256V, but the titles it include are still better than
most out there. Included with the videocard are full versions of Thief:
Deadly Shadows and Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising. They'll no doubt keep you busy for
a good weekend or two before you need a new gaming fix.
break out box included with the Gigabyte GV-RX80L256V is much better than most others on
the market. It's easy to use and well labelled; if you don't know what
Y, Pr or Pb/AV means, you don't have those components on your TV to use anyway...