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ATi Hits Back (Again) with Mid-Range X700 line, Driver Tweak

Radeon X700 XT

For the time, the XT version will be the top model of the X700 line. This is the card that ATi sent us for our (p)review. Running at frequencies of 475 MHz for the core and 525 MHz for the memory, the card is about on par with its direct competitor, NVIDIA's GeForce 6600GT (500/500). Like its rival, the X700 does not require an extra power connector, as the 75 Watts that the x16 PCI Express for Graphics (PEG) connector supplies are sufficient. Nonetheless, our review sample bore a silkscreen for just such an extra power connector (see picture).

The X700 XT's circuit board features surprisingly few components. Interesting: The upper right-hand corner of the board features a silk screen for an auxiliary power connector.

The back of the card is completely bare. Although ATI has not yet announced a 256 MB version of the XT, the PCB is already prepared for just such a move.

ATi quotes the maximum memory configuration of the X700 XT as being 128 MB of GDDR3 RAM. Interestingly, the back of the card features primings for additional modules, so that a 256 MB XT variation is conceivable as well. The card itself is remarkably compact, since it carries fewer components than the GeForce 6600 GT's PCB.

The massive heat sink that ATi developed for the X700 cards is a completely new development. This L-shaped copper cooler also covers the memory modules, although not coming directly in contact with them. We were surprised by the great weight of the cooler, which didn't seem to fit in with the otherwise compact and lightweight appearance of the card. Where noise level and cooling performance are concerned, though, the new cooler receives full marks.

Despite its comparatively small size, the cooler is quite the heavyweight, weighing in at over 230 grams. As a result, the entire card weighs nearly 365 grams. The memory modules are not cooled, although the cooler covers them.

The "naked" X700 XT. Without the cooler, the card only weighs 133 grams.

The technical specifications of the X700 XT:

  • 8 Pixel Pipelines
  • 6 Vertex Pipelines
  • Memory Bus Width: 128 bit
  • Memory Configuration: 128 MB GDDR3
  • Core Frequency: 475 MHz
  • Memory Frequency: 525 MHz (1050 DDR)
  • DirectX 9.0b
  • 24 bit Floating Point Precision
  • Price: $199 (128 MB)