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MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E 512MB-Version RX1800XT Videocard Review

MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E 512MB-Version RX1800XT Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The MSI Radeon RX1800XT-VT2D512E videocard that is the focus of this review incorporates Radeon X1800 XT GPU and includes and extra 256MB memory above the standard amount.
 87% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Computer Jan 31 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > MSI Computer RX1800XT-VT2D512E

A closer look at the Radeon X1800 XT

The ATi Radeon X1800 XT Video Processing Unit (VPU) is built on TSMC's 0.09 micron manufacturing process (90nm) and contains a massive 321 million transistors. The Radeon X1800 XT and X1800 XL videocards each use identical VPU's, however, the Radeon X1800 XT's silicon adheres to "a higher quality." This is why the Radeon X1800 XT is clocked higher at stock speeds than most Radeon X1800 XL VPUs can reach when overclocked.

The ATI Radeon X1800 XT 'R520' core has sixteen pixel rendering pipelines as well as sixteen texture units, render backends, and Z-Compare units. It can handle up to 512 threads.

The R520 core comes clocked at 625 MHz, while the 512MB of Samsung 1.2ns GDDR3 memory runs at a blistering 1.5 GHz, or 1500MHz.

One of the biggest new features of the ATI Radeon X1000 series VPUs is that it brings in Shader Model 3.0 support across the board; from low to high end graphics chips.

nVIDIA was previously the only vendor that supported SM3.0, so the inclusion of this technology levels the playing field once more. Lack of SM3.0 support was a major knock against previous ATi videocards so we're glad to see ATI taking steps to wipe out the disparity.

That lack of SM3.0 support was somewhat understandable because the R480 was based on the previous R423 core, and that VPU which did not support the feature because games in those days did not use SM 3.0.... Perhaps following on nVIDIA's PureVideo lead, the videocard also comes with a bit of technology ATI term 'AVIVO.' What AVIVO does is accelerate High Definition content, among a few other things. We'll touch base on AVIVO in a moment.

Experts Tip: Keep the Heatsink and Fan Clean of Dust

The heatsink and fan on the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E does a good job at keeping the VPU cool, but since it draws in air through a small opening it's important to keep it clean throughout the year. With the tight spacing of cooling fins, it's only a matter of time before the heatsink becomes full of dust bunnies. Owners of ATi Radeon X850 XT/PE videocards will definitely be able to relate to this problem. Chances are if you start noticing higher operating temperatures from your videocard, or increased noise from the fan spinning faster all of a sudden it's most likely due to a dust build up.

PCSTATS recommends that every two-to-three months you turn the PC off, pull out the videocard and give it a good dusting with some canned air. In fact, while you're at it have a look through the Annual PC Checkup Guide to see a few other steps to keeping your computer operating in tip-top shape.

Comments and Feedback? Suggest a Tweak.

While the specifications of the ATI R520 core are impressive compared to the previous generation, there is a sense of disappointment amongst the enthusiast crowd. Considering the amount of time ATi has spent on the R520, it's unfortunate that the company allowed the pixel pipeline to remain at sixteen, the same as the previous generation. With nVIDIA upping the ante by making the GeForce 7800GTX a 24 pipeline videocard, expectations were that ATi would follow suit eventually as well.

The 16-pipeline R520 core is not a poor implementation compared to nVIDIA's G70 by any stretch of the imagination, it's just different. Think about it this way; ATi went with a Pentium 4 style approach where less work is coupled with a higher clock speed. ATi has built future compatibility into the R520 core since it is able to address up to 1GB of memory as well as use GDDR4 DRAM when that is readily available.

Now, in terms of high definition content, ATI is relying upon something called AVIVO which we'll look into next...

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Contents of Article: MSI Computer RX1800XT-VT2D512E
 Pg 1.  MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E 512MB-Version RX1800XT Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  Power Support and Supply
 Pg 3.  — A closer look at the Radeon X1800 XT
 Pg 4.  ATI AVIVO High Definition Content Accelerator
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: 3DMark03, 3DMark05
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: AquaMark3
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Halo
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: FarCry
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: SplinterCell: Chaos Theory
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: Doom 3
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: Quake 4
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 13.  Advanced Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3
 Pg 14.  Advanced Benchmarks: FEAR and Conclusions

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