With the introduction of ATI's 'R580' graphics core, there is little doubt that the Radeon X1900 XTX VPU puts forth a sensible collection of improvements which make it a compelling videocard for enthusiastic gamers to champion. Yet we're left with the sense that ATi's 'R580' graphics core is what the company should have released many months ago, rather than uncaging the 'R520' onto the world. On the plus side, any wolf cries of "paper launch" are firmly dismissed with this graphics release as the ASUS EAX1900XTX is available now. So for the moment all is balanced between ATI and nVidia product offerings, just as it should be (ie. see PCSTATS' Geforce 7900GTX review).
Still, with ATi's marketing department gleefully showcasing the company's full product lineup on its website, www.ati.com, actually finding all those videocards in stores can be challenging at times. With ATi deemphasizing its own branded videocards, third party manufacturers have been taking up the spotlight slowly but surely... we just wish channel delivery was a bit quicker.
Consumers who want the absolute fastest videocard on the
market have many options and each one uses the ATi Radeon X1900 XTX VPU. Asus is
no doubt a brand with a bit of kick behind it, and ASUS' EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A videocard fits in very nicely with an AMD
Athlon64 FX-60 or Intel Pentium Extreme Edition processor. ;-)
ASUS videocards tend to have a reputation of being the "Mac daddy" of any series, and its prices reflect this position - about $715 CDN ($630 USD / £360 GBP) for this baby. Of course with Asus, consumers get a nice bundle of extras too. The hot Asus EAX1900XTX videocard is a shining example; it comes with a bunch of useful cables, software, and a full version of the game King Kong.
The Asus EAX1900XTX /2DHTV/512M/A videocard packs on 512MB of Samsung GDDR3 memory, sports twin DVI outputs as well as a variety of TV-Output options. The videocard installs into any PCI Express x16 slot and has an extra power requirement we'll go into momentarily. If you think the previous Radeon X1800 XT cards were fast, the Asus EAX1900XTX's VPU is clocked at 650 MHz, with the memory buzzing along at a cool 1.55 GHz... that's 1550MHz!
Quick Setup Guide, Leather CD Wallet,
Driver CD, PowerDirector CD, Medi@ Show CD, Manual CD, King
CD, three game bonus pack, VIVO Cable, S-Video
to S-Video Cable, Composite to Composite Cable, Component Output Cable, 2x
DVI to Analog Converters
To make use of those two DVI outputs with CRT monitors, two DVI-to-analog converters are included in the package. Care of the ATI Rage Theatre chip, the Asus EAX1900XTX videocard also supports and includes a whole arrange of video cables which include a VIVO cable and component outputs.
The Asus EAX1900XTX 2DHTV/512M/A is identical to the ATI reference design, so no surprises on that front.
In fact the Asus videocard even had the famous ATi ticks on the capacitors
which suggests that the card was produced by ATi. On a side note, the PCB design
of the Asus X1900 XTX videocard is also identical to the Radeon X1800 XT.
High end videocards have gotten quite long over the years, and if you are considering equipping your PC with the speedy Asus EAX1900XTX/2DHTV/512M/A, better clear some room. The Asus videocard measures 23.5 x 11 cm in size, and is cooled with a dual slot heatsink. The slot directly below the videocard is taken up by this cooling solution.
The heatsink and fan found on the Asus EAX1900XTX/2DHTV/512M/A videocard is identical to the one found on Radeon X1800 XT's, and it's a good design that does the job reliably. The 'R580' VPU core comes in direct contact with a large copper heatsink, the memory is cooled by a larger cast aluminum heatspreader.
The 65mm squirrel cage fan is temperature controlled and draws air from
inside the case through the heatsink before expelling it out of the case through
the second PCI slot. The graphics card MOSFETs also require additional cooling
and have a passive aluminum heatsink all to themselves.
At startup the Asus EAX1900XTX videocard fan runs at 100% for a few seconds and makes quite a racket. Luckily it just spins up to full speed for a test and quickly slows down to normal operating speeds which are much quieter. Under load the Asus EAX1900XTX's fan was substantially louder, however gamers caught up in the action of a game will probably not notice it too much.
Now with a videocard like the Asus EAX1900XTX, there is a power, and specifically amperage consideration you should be fully aware of, else you won't get very far...