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GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB (PCIe)
By Vincent Chang - 5 Apr 2006

The GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB

The GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB

Being a stripped down version of the Radeon X1800 XL has done the GTO no favors in terms of size or appearance as the red PCB of the GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO is the same length as the XL, making it one of the longer graphics cards in the market now. This card would hence be impossible to squeeze into some of the smaller form factor casings. The single slot cooler is somewhat similar to that found on the Radeon X1800 XL and covers almost the entire board, with thermal pads sandwiched between the memory chips and the cooler. A significant improvement lies in the noise produced by the GTO's cooler thanks to some redesigning on ATI's part. The disturbing din that we found in most of the older Radeon X1800 cards has been lessened to a very reasonable level. Even during intense test runs, the card remained fairly quiet in operation and that's a wonderful welcome.

We got an early review unit that came without the proper retail box, so here's the stock picture so you'll recognize it in the shops.

Put a Radeon X1800 XL and GTO side by side and you would have a 50% chance of picking the correct card. The GTO looks almost alike the XL from this distance, but the GTO has a more refined cooler with a larger fan that produces far less noise than its other ATI counterparts.

As we have stated earlier, the actual difference is internal as the original R520 core of the Radeon X1800 GTO has one quad of pixel pipelines disabled, giving it only 12 compared to the 16 found on the original Radeon X1800 XL. The core and memory frequencies are similar to the Radeon X1800 XL, at 500/1000MHz DDR and GeCube has conformed to the specifications with its re-badged reference Radeon X1800 GTO. So for those of you hoping for a faster overclocked version, you just have to wait for another vendor. Besides, the 2.0ns rated DDR3 memory chips on the GTO is specified for only 1000MHz DDR.

The heatsink for the power regulating components is typical of ATI's higher end Radeon X1000 cards while the power connector is a standard for almost all decently powerful ATI and NVIDIA cards nowadays.

Another crucial difference is that the Radeon X1800 GTO can run CrossFire without the need for a master card. This latest refinement of ATI's dual GPU architecture works only with the newer Catalyst drivers and of course for the maximum benefit, getting one of those new motherboards with dual 16-channel PCIe lanes for graphics (read: Radeon Xpress 3200) is recommended but not necessary. A standard Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire Edition board, which is easily available in retail, is more than adequate. Alternatively, there are other Intel based motherboards that support CrossFire as well.

Just like many of ATI's higher end graphics cards, the GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO has video capturing functionality courtesy of its Rage Theatre ASIC hidden below the cooler. Together with the Avivo technology found in every Radeon X1000 series card, the Radeon X1800 GTO could be a rather decent card for multimedia purposes, including hardware acceleration for the high quality, high definition content that is increasingly popular. This is one aspect where the Radeon X1800 GTO can justify its steeper price compared to its performance rival in the GeForce 7600 GT. At least in terms of the number of dual-link DVI-I connectors, the GeCube triumphs the standard GeForce 7600 GT by offering two instead of one.

Dual DVI-I connectors on the Radeon X1800 GTO are both dual-link capable, unlike the single dual-link found on the competing GeForce 7600 GT.

It's been a while since we last reviewed a graphics product from GeCube but sadly the unimpressive game (the mediocre budget first-person shooter Delta Force Xtreme) provided by the company remains unchanged. Thankfully, the other applications are more up to date, especially the relatively new version of CyberLink's popular DVD playback utility. The bright spot are the generous cables and other accessories included. They were similar to what we found on the Radeon X1800 XL so we believe that these accessories should be standard fare for Radeon X1800 GTO cards. Here are the items we found in GeCube's modest package:

  • 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
  • Driver CD
  • CyberLink PowerDVD 6.0
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 2.5ME
  • Delta Force Xtreme Game
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