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Sapphire Radeon X1800 XT 512MB (Normal/Platinum Edition)

The Two Sapphires

The Two Sapphires

Outwardly, it can be impossible to distinguish between the two Sapphire cards. Besides the 'Platinum Edition' (a sticker pasted on top of the typical Sapphire decal, by itself a sticker over the original ATI decal) on the decal of the faster version, the two cards are completely identical, a result of Sapphire following the reference design. Therefore, the only distinction between them is under the hood, or more precisely, the clock speeds of the core and the memory.

The Platinum Edition runs at 700MHz, compared to the 625MHz of the normal version. Similarly, its memory is rated at 1600MHz DDR instead of 1500MHz DDR. As we couldn't find any visible difference etched on the cores and memories of the two cards to imply a special revision or better RAMs, we think Sapphire probably hand picked the better performing ones for the Platinum Editions. It probably explains why we found it quite hard to overclock the Platinum Edition further. 700MHz is probably close to the core's limits with the default cooler. Both Sapphire cards are similarly of the noisy kind, basically the main failing of the reference cooler.

The contents for both Sapphire Radeon X1800 XT cards are identical and rather generous. Applications include the latest versions of CyberLink's DVD playback and media content programs. Then, there is Sapphire's own Select programme, where a DVD containing up to four games, of which two can be unlocked completely to their full versions, is included. Hence, users can try all four games before deciding which two to eventually unlock. The selection is also quite good, with relatively new titles that are anything but obscure. The following items are found in the bundle:

  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • S-Video extension cable
  • Composite extension cable
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Composite/S-Video dongle
  • 6-pin PCIe to 4-pin Molex power plug converter
  • User Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Driver CD (Catalyst 5.10)
  • CyberLink PowerDVD 6.0
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 3DE
  • Sapphire Select (Choose 2 from Tony Hawk's Underground 2, Richard Burns Rally, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30)