Workstation Power: ATi's FireGL X1 under Linux


The first spec-sheets for ATi's new workstation board were published at the end of July, and did those specs look good! Based on the Radeon 9700, the FGL-9700 processor runs at 325 MHz and features eight parallel pixel pipelines, four rendering units, a fully programmable floating point pixel unit and 256 MB DDR-RAM on a 256-bit data bus, promising memory bandwidth of up to 20 GB/s. The chip is also capable of displaying an unlimited amount of colors simultaneously for more realistic results.

Unlike its rivals from 3Dlabs and NVIDIA, the FireGL X1 makes do with only a comparatively small and quiet fan. Actually, it was so quiet that when it was running in our testing system, an HP Workstation X2100, we would have been hard-pressed to make it out. Although our sample, which found its way to the labs through a Linux driver developer, still had pre-production status, the layout is already that of the final boards - also, there were no hand-soldered traces or improvised connections. Final or not, the card needs space - because of the connector for its stereo-vision glasses, it takes up two full slots of your motherboard.