ASUS EAX1300PRO Preview
Released late last year was ATI's next generation GPU solution for gamers on a budget. The budget part, the X1300, came in three varieties -- X1300, X1300PRO, and X1300 Hyper Memory. All three of these graphical processors possess identical features to the X1600, X1800, and X1900 series; however, they utilize less pipes and lower clock speeds. Of course, the X1300 part is designed to compete against NVIDIA's recently released GeForce 7300GS and to replace the previous Radeon X300 edition. The specifications for the X1300PRO include a 600MHz core clock, 800MHz (400MHz x 2) memory clock, and 128-bit memory interface with 256MB of video memory. The X1300PRO also utilizes a 90 nanometer manufacturing process and four pixel pipelines. Meanwhile, the vanilla alternative runs with a 450MHz core clock and 500MHz effective memory clock, while the Hyper Memory variant provides a 450MHz core clock with 1000MHz effective memory frequency. If you will recall with the introduction of the X300 and its Hyper Memory abilities, it has the capabilities to address system memory for video use. ATI's Hyper Memory is similar to NVIDIA's Turbo Cache and XGI's eXtreme Cache. Onto the subject of Linux support for these various solutions, lately NVIDIA has offered support for their GeForce 7 parts on launch-date, while ATI has not yet offered any X1000 support to their Linux display drivers. Even though the X1300PRO cannot enjoy the benefits of 3D acceleration under Linux, or any of ATI's proprietary features, it is compatible with X.Org's VESA driver for 2D usage, and later on in this preview, we will share some exclusive details as to when penguin users will see software improvements from ATI Technologies. The X1300 RV515 part we have our hands on today is the EAX1300PRO from ASUS. The Extreme AX1300PRO combines the X1300PRO core with exclusive ASUS innovations to offer a competing card on the budget front for PCI Express users. The ASUSTeK implementations include Splendid, GameLive Show, GameReplay, GameFace Manager, Video Security Online, On Screen Display, and HyperDrive overclocking. Of course, other X1000 key improvements include Shader Model 3.0, Avivo Technology, and High Dynamic Rendering. Also supported by the X1300PRO is ATI's CrossFire.
With the X1300 part being of budget nature, the ASUS packaging remained minimal and shipped in a slim container. On the exterior of the packaging were various graphics along with a list with the features and specifications. Opening the packaging, the contents were separated using a cardboard carton. The various parts consisted of a speed setup guide, DVI dongle, S-Video adapter, EAX1300PRO PCI Express graphics card, ASUS driver CD, and ASUS multilingual manual CD. The driver CD not only contains the official ATI Windows XP CATALYST drivers but also an ASUS enhanced version as well as various software. Unfortunately, none of the ASUS software is presently available on Linux thus rendering the drive CD inoperable. Everything had arrived safely, although one of the heatsink mounting screws had popped off during shipping.
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