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Asus EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A Radeon X1900 XTX Videocard Review

Asus EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A Radeon X1900 XTX Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: With the introduction of ATI's 'R580' graphics core, there is little doubt that the Radeon X1900 XTX VPU puts forth a sensible collection of improvements which make it a compelling videocard for enthusiastic gamers to champion.
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Asus Mar 23 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > Asus EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A

The ATI 'R580' Video Processing Unit

Like its predecessor the ATI 'R520,' the 'R580' VPU is built on TSMC's 0.09 micron manufacturing process and contains a nice round 384 million transistors. The architecture from core to core is pretty close. The extra 63 million transistors give the ATI 'R580' core the ability to process 48 pixel shaders at any given time.

Aside from that major change, things are pretty much the same. For instance the 'R580' and 'R520' have the same number of vertex pipelines (there are 8), Z Compare units (16 of those) and have the same maximum threads (512 in there).

ATi also increased the clock speed of the 'R580' core slightly to 650 MHz for its Radeon X1900 XTX, up 25MHz from 625 MHz for the Radeon X1800 XT.

ATI's Little (Big) Slip Up

There is no support for HDCP (High bandwidth Digital Content Protection) with the Radeon X1900XTX. With ATi incorporating H.264 decoding and transcoding into the graphics core, without HDCP support it is basically a wasted feature.

ATi does state this on its website about HDCP "This feature is supported by the ASIC and can be specified by PC manufacturers for its add-in-boards. This feature is not typically enabled on stand alone cards."

While this might not be much of a concern right now, when Windows Vista and high definition movies are released later in the year, consumers who forked out a ton of money to buy a Radeon X1900 XTX videocard may be out of luck.

I guess the only saving grace is that users who are contemplating such a videocard right now are often enthusiasts who have a short upgrade cycle, but usually the group likes to upgrade on its own terms, not someone else's. Daily Tech has a great news blurb on ATi's on again/off again HDCP support and FiringSquad has a nice article on HDCP support and why it is important.

PCSTATS dug through the mirky world we're all going to be facing in this article - Windows Vista, HDCP and Digital Rights Management - it's a concise read if you like to get up to speed on these impending changes.

Experts Tip: One DVI Port or The Other?

ATi and its supporting manufacturers do not label which DVI output is the primary and which is the secondary because it doesn't matter. With older videocards, if you plug the primary monitor into the wrong port sometimes you'll be greeted by no display. With modern ATi videocards, plug the monitor into whatever port you want and it will auto detect which port the monitor is plugged into. If you're using dual monitors and want the primary and secondary monitors to be reversed, swapping the outputs is as easy as a few mouse clicks since it's integrated into the driver, those dusty VGA cables can stay attached the whole time. ;-)

Comments and Feedback? Suggest a Tweak.

High Definition Video

High Definition video content is right around the corner and 2006 is reminiscent of the time when DVD's were first released. HD videos are promising to be very taxing on system recourses too. In order to meet the High Definition processing task, ATi has built into every X1xxx series core what it calls 'AVIVO technology.'

With the computer industry heavily pushing the digital home, it makes sense for ATi and nVIDIA to integrate some form of High Definition accelerators into each companies respective products. We just wish the silly names wouldn't always have to follow suit.

Now, what do you know about Avivo?

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Contents of Article: Asus EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A
 Pg 1.  Asus EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A Radeon X1900 XTX Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  Radeon X1900 XTX Power Requirements
 Pg 3.  — The ATI 'R580' Video Processing Unit
 Pg 4.  ATI Avivo for High Definition Content
 Pg 5.  Overclocking For Fun and Profit
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: AquaMark3
 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.  Benchmarks: X3: Reunion
 Pg 14.  Advanced Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3
 Pg 15.  Advanced Benchmarks: FEAR and Conclusions

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