Date: February 18th, 2005
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product Submitted by: ATI
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Adding a noticeable amount of heft to this card is the all copper X800XT VPU cooler. Measuring in at approximately 5 1/4 inches long and 3 1/4 inches wide with the fan, I was glad ATI decided to use a robust cooling solution instead of small heatsink and fan designed to just keep the core under the chip's maximum temperature threshold.
The large 70mm incorporated fan is definitely not as quiet as ATI's past cooler, but I wouldn't call it loud. The fan is thermally controlled and does get noticeably louder when gaming and stress benchmarking and core temperatures start to increase. But even at maximum speed it will be hard to pick it out of the noise caused by your case and processor cooling fans. With the room temperature at 26c, the idle temperature while doing any two dimensional work such as surfing the internet or typing a document was stable at 39c. When undergoing a session of benchmarking such as 3DMark 2005, the maximum core temperature reached was 56c which really is not that bad at all.
The heatsink portion of the cooler is directly placed on top of the core and the fan pushes the air through the copper cooling fins which are soldered directly onto the copper base. Through closer inspection you will see that there is a quite a lot of surface area to transfer the heat to the moving air stream.
The only problem I can see with this cooling solution is that the warm air is blown onto the top memory modules which may not affect anything while at stock clock defaults, but it can't be good for overclocking.
Another thing to note is again the lack of any memory cooling which could possible reduce the videocard's lifetime through electromigration. While benchmarking, the memory did get very warm and during some of the graphically intense portions would literally get skin burning hot within a second. This is no joke, I am now typing with one hand and the other hand has its' index finger in a cup of icewater. I couldn't pull my finger away fast enough.
Today's videocards are pumping out a lot of heat and require cooling even when using the card as it comes right out of the box. It just makes sense that for the one dollar investment on some sort of memory solution, you could easily cut down on product failures and RMA requests.
While on the topic of memory, ATI's version of the X800XT Platinum Edition is equipped with eight 32Meg Samsung GDDR3 memory chips with a latency of 1.6ns. With a theoretical maximum ceiling of 600Mhz with that latency rating and the stock memory clock set at 560Mhz, a possible overclock of 40Mhz could be in the works. Whether not I could obtain that level will be shown in the overclocking section.