IntroductionIt has been months down the road since the Radeon X700 launch, and still no X700 XT. At this point, it is very likely that the new mid-range X800 part will push the non-existent X700 XT off the map altogether, but we have other ideas about what ATI needs to do with it. If performance is lower than the newly announced X800 line, ATI have an opportunity to offer a greater variety of price points. What is shipping in volume now is the little brother of the X700 XT, the X700 Pro.
The ATI Radeon X700 Pro, clocked at 425 MHz at the core and running 2ns GDDR3 at 432 MHz (864 effective data rate), is ATI's current $200 PCI Express graphics part.
While ATI currently lacks an equivalent mid-range AGP part, we are hearing that they are working on a bridge chip that should be ready sometime next month. It is unclear what parts will make it onto the AGP platform.
Today, we will be taking a look at four different Radeon X700 Pro vendors: ABIT, HIS, PowerColor, and Sapphire. We will also take a quick look at the X700 Pro vs. the 6600GT, just to get everything in perspective before we begin.
UPDATE: The card we received from HIS was apparently an engineering sample. The final version of this board does have the thermal sensor on board. The fan switch is also not included in the shipping product, but is software controlled via their overclocking software which the X700 Pro IceQ will ship with.