In terms of its design, Gigabyte has faithfully followed the ATI reference for its Radeon X1800 XT. That means the same noisy two-slot cooler that has been haunting our labs the past few weeks. Undoubtedly the cooler works, as the temperatures are well in line with most high-end cards, but it works like a sledgehammer would: loudly. As usual, we would want to criticize ATI for inflicting that on the public instead of the vendor. As the second overclocked Radeon X1800 XT that we have seen so far, it has the same frequencies as the ASUS EAX1800XT TOP - 700MHz for the core and 1600MHz DDR for the memory.
Judging by its raw clock speeds, its performance should be as fast as the ASUS. With all the overclocked Radeon X1800 XT cards offering similar clock speeds, the Gigabyte GV-RX18T512V-B Turbo is just about the fastest Radeon X1800 XT that you can get off the shelf now. However that's not saying too much because there are quite a few brands competing in that premium, overclocked for enthusiasts segment. For those who think they can do a better job themselves, they may like to know that Gigabyte has informed us that they will be offering two versions of the Radeon X1800 XT 512MB. Quite simply, the normal edition, which comes at the default 625/1500MHz and the overclocked Turbo version that we are looking at today. Besides the clock speeds, both versions should be identical in terms of the bundle contents, though the overclocked one would obviously command a higher price.
All the other idiosyncrasies and features found on a Radeon X1800 XT card are all accounted for, from the Molex power connector that it requires to the onboard video capture chip. We were about to say that there were no unpleasant surprises until we put the card into our usual test system and started running benchmarks. That was when it encountered some problems with finishing 3DMark03. In the end, we managed to get it working fine using a Gigabyte motherboard instead of our own ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard. Although we are unsure about the root of the problem at the moment (and most importantly, not pointing fingers at anyone), we mention it to alert readers about this possible compatibility issue with that particular ASUS motherboard.
As for the bundle, we are gratified that Gigabyte has provided the latest versions of our favorite DVD playback application from CyberLink. The good impression made by these useful applications was quickly undone by the games Gigabyte has included. CounterStrike: Condition Zero was never any good but it is practically stale by now. Xpand Rally is also another mediocre game that is showing signs of its age. Although one could make the point that as long as you have not played them, the games are still relatively fresh, but the fact is they don't stand up to the newer, more exciting games from other vendors. This is something that Gigabyte should improve and we really hope to see some fresh faces bundled with its graphics cards. The contents of the package are listed as follows: