ATI Radeon X1800 Linux Preview
The card ATI provided us with today for these initial Linux results is the Radeon X1800XL. ATI (and not one of its AIB partners) built this card but it is indeed a retail unit so the results should be representative of other like cards. The ATI X1800XL provides 16 pipelines, 256MB of video memory, and is based off the infamous R520 core, which in the instance of the XL variant is clocked at 500MHz while the memory is set to run at 1000MHz. The big brother to the XL in the X1800 series is presently the X1800XT. The ATI Radeon X1800XT is very similar in specifications and based upon the R520 core but comes in a 256MB and 512MB model while shipping with a core clock of 625MHz and 1500MHz memory. Other cards in ATI's lineup include the RV530-based X1600XT and X1600PRO, and the budget RV515-based X1300PRO, X1300, and X1300 HyperMemory. On top of this basic selection are also the X1800GTO, X1800 CrossFire Edition, and the flagship X1900 series -- the X1900XT, X1900XTX, and X1900 CrossFire. Outside of the gaming arena is the multimedia designed All-in-Wonder X1900 and All-in-Wonder X1800XL.
Examining the X1800XL retail unit, ATI continues in their scrupulous artwork. The front of the packaging states the needs to have one PCI Express x16 lane (no AGP variant of this card is presently available). The packaging also emphasizes that the card is an ultra-threaded graphics solution that can drive to the maximum visual velocity. Being ultra-threaded is referring to its newly designed ultra-threaded pixel shader engine. As referred to by ATI's documentation, ultra-threading is similar to a large-scale multi-threading environment that breaks down the pixel processing workload into a higher quantity of smaller units that consist of 4x4 pixel blocks. Ultimately, this design should lead to improved efficiency and higher results. On the rear of ATI's packaging is an image of Ruby as well as pertinent information to CrossFire, Avivo, Shader Model 3.0, and the feature-rich CATALYST Control Center for Windows.
Getting around to opening up the packaging, inside were the various contents being individually wrapped inside of plastic bags, while the graphics card itself was safely contained within an ESD bag and was protected by two thick layers of foam. Even back into the Radeon 9000 days their Built by ATI cards have always had top-notch packaging, and this Radeon X1800XL is no different. Even through all of the architectural changes the artistic work also remains on the package exterior. The key components included with the ATI X1800XL 256MB retail unit was the PCI Express card itself, setup CD, composite and S-Video cables, HDTV-out cable, two DVI to VGA dongles, and the various ATI manuals and product information.
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