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Home > Hardware Reviews > Graphics Cards

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
VGA Roundup

2. Exair Radeon 9800 XT


HomepageExcept from being a supporter of Nvidia chipsets, Exair offers great VGA solutions based on ATI's Radeon GPU. The Radeon 9800 XT chipset has many advancements that the former Pro model. Although it is based on the same GPU, the XT series have higher clock speeds on both GPU and Memory. You can say that the 9800 XT is a tweaked revision of the Pro model. But let's have a deeper perspective on this card.

- Specifications

GPU RADEON 9800 XT (R360)
Memory Bus Width    
Memory interface 256 Bit DDR
Memory Type DDR1
Core Clock 412 MHz
Memory Clock 730 Mhz (364x2)
Memory Bandwidth 23.4 GB/sec
Pixel FillRate 3.3 Gpixels/sec
Geometry rate 412 Mtriangles/sec
Bus 8x/4x/2x AGP
Processing technology 0.15µ
Output Connections VGA + TV + DVI
Cooling Dual-slot Fansink
2D Display Resolutions & Hz 640x480@200, 800x600@200, 1024x768@200, 1152x864@100, 1280x1024@160, 1600x1200@120, 1920x1080@100, 1920x1200@100, 1920x1440@85, 2048x1536@75
3D Maximum resolution 2048x1536 with 16.7M colors
Anisotropic Filtering modes (AF) 2x/4x/8x/16x
Full Scene Anti-Aliasing (FSAA) modes 2x/4x/6x
Dual Display Supported
Pipelines 8
Texture units per pixel pipeline 1
Technologies supported - SMARTSHADER 2.1 technology allows users to experience complex, movie-quality effects in next-generation 3D games and applications
- SMOOTHVISION 2.1 technology enhances image quality by removing jagged edges and bringing out fine texture detail, without compromising performance
- Unique VIDEOSHADER engine uses programmable pixel shaders to accelerate video processing and provide better-looking visuals
- FULLSTREAM technology removes blocky artifacts from Streaming and Internet video and provides sharper image quality
- HyperZ III+ technology improves rendering performance
- OVERDRIVE Automatic overclocking
Pixel Shader Support 2.0+
Vertex Shader Support 2.0+
DTV/HDTV decoding
System requirements

The minimum system requirements for the card and complementary software:
- PC with Pentium 4 / III / II / Celeron, AMD K6 / Duron / Athlon / Athlon XP with 450 MHz
-128MB of system memory and 1.6 GB of hard disk space
-8x speed CD-ROM drive, DVD playback requires DVD drive
-300-Watt power supply or greater
- Windows 2000, 98SE, ME, XP and DirectX 9.0
- Microsoft DirectX 3.0 compatible sound card
- Monitor supported: CRT-15 pin, Svideo, Composite and DVI-I (LCD)

- 3D Mark detailed specifications

- The chipset

The Radeon 9800 XT has a higher core speed at 412MHz, 32 MHz higher than the Radeon 9800 Pro at 238 MHz. Also a higher memory clock speed has been achieved at 730 from 700. Although ATI has done a good job by braking the 400 MHz core speed limit, there are some other matters technical issues need to be put into consideration. Having in mind that the now achieved clock speeds were prohibitive with the Pro series, it is interesting to see what cooling method ATI used to perform such admirable a boost.

Front side. Despite the cooler's size, it is very silent. One of the best cooling solutions based on fan architecture.

On the back side we found the holder of the fan which also reacts as heat sink, and covers the 50% of the chipset.

Click to enlarge

The Radeon 9800 XT exposed

The R360 GPU in its all magnificence

Hynix DDR memories used

As you can see, the Radeon 9800 XT wears a new copper cooler. This new cooler is larger and heavier than the heatsink/fan cooling techniques on the Pro cards. The fan adjusts it's speed according to the chip temperature. Despite the fan's size, we didn't experience irritating noise. These features makes it an awesome cooler.

As you can see in the pictures, the 9800 XT is equipped with the standard outputs: one VGA, one DVI, and one video out. With the new cooler, ATI says the 9800 XT is more overclockable and faster than its forerunner. In the comparison test that follows you will be able to see yourselves if ATI's statement is true or not.

- Package contents

-Instruction Manual
-Installation Driver Disk
-Cyberlink Power DVD
-Half Life2 (coupon for free downloading)
-S-Video Cable
-RCA Cable
-S-Video to RCA Adapter

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