ASUS EAX1300PRO Preview
The ASUS EAX1300PRO part runs at ATI's reference RV515 specifications for the PRO variant of a 600MHz core speed and 800MHz with the memory. However, Microsoft users are able to utilize the HyperDrive software from ASUS to overclock the graphics card in one of three ways with dynamic overclocking abilities. Of course, at the time of writing the ATI Linux fglrx drivers do not support the X1000 series, let alone Rovclock, which is the lone ATI overclocking program presently available for Linux. However, if ATI Linux overclocking abilities are granted, the ASUS EAX1300PRO/TD/256M/A should have no cooling problems boasting a moderate overclock. Cooling the GPU core is a small copper heatsink. The heatsink features a small fan in the corner as well as vertical copper fins to further improve the cooling process. In our tests, the six-blade fan has proven to be quite powerful and the heatsink as a whole had done a respectable job at cooling the GPU. Although the heatsink appears to cover a portion of the memory modules, the base does not actually come in contact with the ICs. The heatsink is attached to the graphics card through four bolts going into the red PCB. Filling up the remaining space on the ASUS graphics card is additional circuitry as well as the 2-pin fan header.
At the rear of the graphics card is a single DVI and analog D-Sub VGA interface, as well as an S-Video Out. The X1300PRO also supports ATI's Avivo Technology, which should greatly assist in mainly media PCs with H.264 decode acceleration and other related video tasks. On the opposite side of the PCB, the plastic heatsink retention frame with four screws can be found, as well as two part stickers. The memory chips used on the ASUS EAX1300PRO are Infineon HYB18T256161AF-25 and come from a batch of 0538. These eight, four on each side of the PCB, 2.5ns part are rated for an 800MHz (2 x 400MHz) operating frequency and have a combined capacity of 256MB.
Overall, on paper this appears to be another respectable ATI Radeon budget part; however, we will have to hold off on drawing any conclusions until we are able to properly benchmark the graphics card under Linux. At this time, the ASUS Extreme AX1300PRO 256MB part is presently selling for approximately $110 USD. How long until the X1000 series will be supported by ATI's proprietary fglrx drivers? Well, earlier this morning we had spoken with Matthew Tippett from ATI's Linux department for a public comment and he has simply said that the supportive drivers are indeed coming and they will be out eventually, and he also said it will likely not be for a couple of releases at least. With the department's present strategy of releasing monthly Linux drivers as of late, these drivers will likely not be in the hands of the public until sometime this spring, unless of course a miracle was to occur with their development process. However, for those that have already picked up an ATI Radeon X1000 solution for a Linux box, using X.Org v6.8.2 we had no troubles running the EAX1300PRO with the VESA drivers. Of course, using the VESA drivers will inhibit the frame-rate and image quality, along with lacking 3D support, and various other desktop features. When attempting to install ATI's latest v8.21.7 drivers, the display would fail to initialize upon restarting X.Org. Listing the PCI devices, the ASUS EAX1300PRO was displayed as 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc: Unknown device 7142 and 01:00.1 Display controller: ATI Technologies Inc: Unknown device 7162. Unfortunately, we are not able to make any other comments at this time in regards to Linux and the X1000 series, however, upon the release of supportive ATI drivers, we will be delivering the ASUS X1300PRO results as well as from various other X1000 parts, and will draw our final remarks in regards to this ASUSTeK product at that time.
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