Asus A9800XT/TVD/256 Radeon 9800XT Videocard Review
In an effort to satisfy our never ending need for more bandwidth, the beloved AGP
slot will soon go the way of the dodo... I can still remember when the first brown
AGP slots were introduced about five years ago, billed as the savoir for
3D graphics accelerators. With the switch from PCI videocards, gamers were no longer restricted to the
slow 33 MHz PCI bus, and 133MB/s bandwidth limits of that interface.
66 MHz, there were originally two modes for AGP videocards; "classic" which
could transmit data only once per clock cycle, and "turbo" which transferred data on
both the rising and falling edge of each clock signal, just like DDR memory. Classic mode
offered twice the bandwidth of a PCI videocard (266MB/s) and 2x AGP supplied up
to 533 MB/s bandwidth - an enormous amount back in the day.
Next came AGP revision 2.0 which opened the door
to 4x AGP.... which again doubled the bandwidth, this time to
1.06 GB/s. In 2002 the AGP slot got its last upgrade, moving from 4X AGP to
8X AGP which theoretically supplied a videocard with up to 2.1 GB/s bandwidth.
While 8x AGP is perfectly fine for today's videocards, it's simply too
restrictive a pipeline for future videocard processors. For this reason, PCI
was born. PCI Express scales higher and faster than the AGP slot ever could, but on the down side is completely
incompatible with the old standard. They say change is good, so get ready for
an interesting spring in the graphics market this year. In the mean time, 8X AGP
cards aren't totally obscure yet, and as the Asus A9800XT will soon demonstrate,
they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Installation Guide, Software Reference
Manual, Driver CD, Battle Engine Aquila, Gun Metal, 5 Game
Demo CD, Power Director, Asus DVD, Uled Cool3D, Media Show CD,
VIVO Break out box, DVI to analog converter.
retail price of $653 CDN ($500 US) the Asus A9800XT/TVD/256 is one of the last true high-end
cards to be built on the AGP interface. While it is common
knowledge that the Radeon 9800XT GPU is one fast little chip, what really sets the
Asus A9800XT/TVD/256 apart from the competition is the impressive software bundle it ships
In that software bundle you get Battle
Engine Aquaila, Gun Metal and a five game demo CD. You'll also find a copy
of Asus DVD, PowerDirector and how could I forget, a coupon for Half Life 2 when it's available!
Thanks to the ATi Rage Theatre chip the A9800XT/TVD/256 is full VIVO
compatible, and to this end Asus include a great little VIVO break out box along
with the card. Naturally, dual screens are an option care of a DVI-to-analog