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ASUS Extreme AX600XT/HTVD ASUS Extreme AX600XT/HTVD: We take look at a mid-ranged, ATI based PCI-Express solution from ASUS.
Date: August 30, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

ASUS is a name most enthusiasts are familiar with as makers of some of the better performing products on the market. Their motherboards are traditionally very strong, and their video cards also share a similar reputation. With PCI-Express (PCIE) slowly gaining acceptance within the marketplace, ASUS wasted no time getting some solutions for potential buyers. Today, we'll be taking a look at their mid-ranged Radeon X600 product, the . The card is more than just an ATI X600XT though, as along with many changes from ATI's reference design, the AX600XT is capable of HDTV output.

Specifications

" Chipset Feature ATI Radeon X600XT VPU (visual processing unit)
PCI-Express graphics chip with native 16 lane and double the bandwidth of AGP 8X.
4 Full Precision Pipelines-provide over 2 GigaPixels/sec of unmatched shader power
SMARTSHADER" defines the level of realism in latest 2D/3D games and applications.
VIDEOSHADER" - provides seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time.
Microsoft® DirectX 9 and OpenGL 1.5 support
HDTV support

" ASUS Innovation
ASUS GameFace Live is the world's first multiplayer audio and video chatting solution for PC gamers
ASUS VideoSecurity Online builds your own security system on PC
ASUS OnscreenDisplay adjusts your display settings while playing PC games.
ASUS SmartDoctor for optimum PC performance and safety features.
ASUS SmartCooling dynamically adjusts your VGA fan speed for a quiet computing environment.
ASUS HyperDrive provides 3 ways to dynamically boost graphics card power.
High-quality TV output for big screen gaming or presentations
Video input supports real time video captures, high quality video compression and vide editing
DVI output for easy connectivity to digital flat panel display
Diversified displays connectivity (HDTV / Video-In / DVI-I / TV-Out )

The ASUS Extreme AX600XT/HTVD

The ASUS Extreme AX600XT/HTVD's box is not really any bigger than the boxes you'll find with competing products, but the weight of the box tells you that this isn't just a video card and driver CD inside. Inside, you'll find a driver CD, productivity software (full list ), a manual, a plastic CD case (containing most of the software) and Deus Ex: Invisible War.

In terms of hardware, other than the AX600XT video card, ASUS includes a 9 Pin S-Video to composite VIVO cable, DVI-to-VGA output adapter, and a HDTV adapter, similar to those found in ATI's AIW cards.

The ASUS Extreme AX600XT/HTVD is a "standard" sized card, and should have no problems fitting into full height systems. The ATI Radeon X600XT VPU is a native PCIE part, and is clocked at 500MHz. Despite the name, the X600XT is not a neutered X800 part, but a PCIE version of the Radeon 9600XT.

Cooling is provided by a very nice looking aluminum heatsink and fan combination and translucent shroud. For the case modder in all of us, the fan is of the LED variety, and casts a nice blue glow when powered on. The fan itself is not directly above the VPU, but rather, it is above it. The entire cooling scheme works on a "duct" concept, and the off-centered fan will create more airflow to cool the fins cooling the VPU than it would had it been directly above it.

The Extreme AX600XT/HTVD uses Hynix Semiconductor's GDDR SDRAM (Part number ). The BGA ram is clocked at 370MHz (DDR740), but according to Hynix's specifications, the ram is capable of 500MHz.

Though the reference X600XT design doesn't call for it, ASUS has included ATI's Rage Theater chip to the AX600XT. The chip is capable of high quality video-in capture, though not quite up to the level of the Theater 200.

For your input and output options, moving from left to right is the HDTV output, video-in, DVI (where you can use the adapter if you have an analog CRT or LCD). As we've touched upon earlier, the AX600XT is capable of outputting HDTV signals, a boon for some, but you will lose the ability to output to dual analog displays because of this.

Test Setup

ASUS P5AD2 Premium: Intel Pentium 4 560 (3.6GHz), 2 x 512MB Corsair XMS5400 ProSeries DDR2 (4-4-4-12), ASUS Extreme AX600XT/HTVD, 120GB Seagate SATA, Windows XP w/SP1, Catalyst 4.7.

ASUS P5AD2 Premium: Intel Pentium 4 560 (3.6GHz), 2 x 512MB Corsair XMS5400 ProSeries DDR2 (4-4-4-12), MSI PCX5750-TD128, 120GB Seagate SATA, Windows XP w/SP1, ForceWare v61.77.

Test Software will be:

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

All tests were run a total of three times, with the average results displayed here. A combination of , internal scripts, and built-in timedemos were used to gather our numbers. The driver settings were manually configured for AntiAliasing and Anisotropic Filtering (on or off), 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.

Note that the PCX5750 is not capable of 6xAA and 16xAF, so only the X600 results will be shown.

Unreal Tournament 2003 - Antalus

No AA/AF

1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS AX600XT
117.32
74.84
49.04
MSI PCX5750
90.67
56.72
39.07

4xAA/4xAF

No AA/AF
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS AX600XT
61.60
41.86
20.82
MSI PCX5750
50.98
31.20
21.05

4xAA/8xAF

No AA/AF
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS AX600XT
58.31
39.64
20.12
MSI PCX5750
49.46
30.35
20.55

6xAA/16xAF

1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS AX600XT
47.37
32.12
13.09

At 1024 and 1280, the AX600XT is significantly quicker than the PCX5750 across the board, more so with AA/AF disabled. Once we enable AA/AF, the PCX5750 takes a slight lead at 1600x1200, but neither card is what I would consider playable at that resolution.

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