ATI X700 Pro - Let the Mainstream Battle Begin!
Introduction and Card Layout
When NVIDIA released their 6600 mainstream card into the market, it was leaps and bounds beyond anything ATI had in the same price range. The X600 XT was simply not made with that kind of performance in mind. But ATI wasn't about to let NVIDIA have that market all to themselves, so the X700 GPU was born.
The X700 GPU, coded the RV410 core, is a completely new tape out, meaning that this is not a crippled or hacked down RV423 core at all. The 0.11 micron process chip was designed from the beginning around the same technologies as the X800 core but stands on its own technology. Below is a quick diagram of the core architecture:
ATI is set to release three versions of their new mainstream graphics card: the X700, X700 Pro and X700 XT.
Since we first saw this table, the final speeds on the XT have been set at 475 MHz core and 525 MHz memory. Notice that both the XT and Pro are set at MSRP of $199. ATI claims the XT is for users that want the fastest framerates while the Pro is for users that have wider uses for their graphics cards like video editing and digital photography, as well as gaming.
ATI couldn't get us an XT (or did they?) but we did get one of the X700 Pro cards to play with over the weekend.
Here we see the simple cooling solution required for the X700 card -- it was quiet and fairly cool. The X700 cards don't require external power, just as the 6600GT did not.
On the back is the additional memory as well as my notes to myself about what card I am looking at...
The retail ATI card sports a VGA port, Svideo output and DVI connection. Notice on the second image that there is no external power connector as the card is able to pull all the juice it needs from the PCI Express slot.
Removing the heatink shows us the X700 Pro core...
... that is actually an XT?!? I didn't get an answer back from ATI about this before press time, but I would guess that ATI was having some ramp up problems on the new core and thus some "hopeful" XT cores were made into the Pro cores reviewers are using today.