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ATI Radeon X600 XT ATI Radeon X600 XT: Today we checkout ATI's budget/mainstream VPU offering. Is it up to snuff in this price range?
Date: January 21, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price: (MSI)

With the release of the nForce 4, both Intel and AMD will each have motherboards that support PCI Express, and while high end technology is naturally migrating over to support the new technology, not everyone that is upgrading to new technology has the money to finance top-of-the-line components. Today we'll be looking at a reference implementation of ATI's Radeon X600XT video card, which is ATI's PCI-Express budget solution.

The X600 (RV380 VPU) is built upon the Radeon 9600 VPU (RV350), and is pretty much the RV350 reworked to interact with a PCI-Express bus. There are two versions of the X600 - the X600 Pro and the X600 XT.

The X600 Pro has a core clock of 400 Mhz, and a memory frequency of 300 Mhz (600 Mhz DDR). This yields a total of 1.6 Gpixels/sec fillrate, and 9.6 GB/sec memory bandwidth (the memory bus is 128-bit).

The X600 XT, which is being reviewed, has a core clocked at 500 Mhz, and a memory frequency of 365 Mhz (730 Mhz DDR). The X600 XT therefore has a 2 Gpixel/sec fillrate, and 11.6 GB/sec memory bandwidth.

Both versions of the X600 support DirectX 9 Shader Model 2.0, and are based on a .13 micron Low-K process.

The heatsink/fan on the reference card cools both the GPU and the memory on the top-side of the PCB, all of the bottom-side memory modules are not cooled by anything (except by surrounding turbulent air.)

The memory modules used are Hynix HY5DU283222 AF-25 DDR1 modules, which are rated at 400 Mhz, at 2.8v, and 2.5 ns.

The card supports VGA, DVI, and TV-OUT. This reference card does not support VIVO, as it is an optional component on the X600 XT.

Seeing as this is a reference card, there was no bundle with the card. You can expect a driver CD and rudimentary productivity software with the retail version of the card.

Test Setup
Intel Pentium 530 (3.0 Ghz), DFI LanParty-UT 915P-T12, 2x512MB Corsair TWINX XMS4000 3-4-4-7 timing, 120 GB IDE Seagate (ST3120026A), Windows XP SP1.

Test Software

Unreal Tournament 2003
Unreal Tournament 2004
Far Cry
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Quake 3: Arena
Call of Duty
Doom 3

Each test was run a total of three times, with the average (arithmetic mean) results displayed here. A combination of Bench'emAll, internal scripts, and built-in timedemos were used for benchmarking. The driver settings were manually configured for AntiAliasing and Anisotropic Filtering, and set to "Quality". All games were set to their highest allowable game settings, except for Doom 3, where we chose high, rather than Ultra.

We'll be comparing the X600 XT against the PCX5750-TD128, MSI's PCI-Express implementation of the nVidia 5750 chipset.

Unreal Tournament 2003 - Antalus

The X600 XT outperforms the 5750 in all of these tests, its' greatest weakness being rendering scenes with Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic filtering on at 1600x1200. At 1600x1200 the framerates drop low enough to make the game unplayable.

Most people should try to stay at 1024x768 if they're using Anti Aliasing and/or Anisotropic filtering, otherwise, for UT2k3, 1600x1200 is playable.

Unreal Tournament 2004 - as-convoy

Unreal Tournament 2004's engine is built off of the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine, and accordingly has been updated, and takes advantage of more advanced GPU functions. We see the scores between the X600 XT and the PCX5750 start to even out here, however a gap still remains. The difference in framerate between the two cards is most obvious once again in the Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering tests, which is largely due to the generation gap between the cards, however once again as both cards reach 1600x1200, they start choking.

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