Connect3D is a leading provider of ATI powered video cards. They make a full line of ATI powered video cards plus a few other products, including flash memory. The latest card we received from Connect3D is the X1800GTO video card. This card is designed to fill the gap between the high end X1800XT/X1900XTX and the mid range X1600. Let’s get the X1800GTO dirty and see how well it holds its ground.
Specifications and Features
Radeon® X1800 Series — Ultra-threaded 3D Architecture for Maximum Visual Velocity
The ATI Connect3D Radeon® X1800 Series hands you the visual and performance possibilities you only dreamed of from a PC graphics processor. It has been designed with a radically new ultra-threaded 3D architecture and Shader Model 3.0, unleashing the most mind-blowing gaming effects. What’s more, the Radeon® X1800 introduces ATI’s revolutionary Avivo™, our new reference for video and display perfection.
The Most Advanced 3D Performance Arsenal
Get the ultimate gaming performance AND image quality with an advanced ultra-threaded 3D architecture, a ruthlessly efficient memory controller and Shader Model 3.0, all enabled by the most advanced 90 nanometer GPU process. Radeon® X1800 series’ 90-nanometer process technology and ultra-threaded architecture combine power and efficiency as well as support for Shader Model 3.0 to deliver new High Dynamic Range visual effects, enhanced realism with Adaptive Anti Aliasing and lightening fast performance in OpenGL® and DirectX® 9 games.
CrossFire™: Multiply and Conquer with Multi-GPU Performance
Designed from the ground up with GPU sharing in mind, the Radeon® X1800 series allows you to get incredible gaming performance by adding a Radeon® X1800 Crossfire™ Edition graphics card for ultra fast performance that works with all games, all the time.
CrossFire’s™ “supertiling” GPU sharing speeds rendering by evenly dividing the graphics processing, intelligently alternating the rendering workload to each Radeon® GPU for efficient load balancing, and optimized performance.
CrossFire™ ignites with the higher anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, shading, and texture settings you desire. Adjust your display configurations, experiment with your advanced 3D settings, and check the effect with a real-time 3D-rendered preview within ATI’s Catalyst® Control Center to rule your CrossFire™ system.
For a complete CrossFire™ solution, the following additional products are required:
CrossFire™ Ready motherboard
Compatible Radeon® CrossFire Edition co-processor
Minimum 500W power supply
High Definition Image Quality with Avivo™
Connect your Radeon® X1800 with your home entertainment devices for high definition convergence, enhanced with ATI’s revolutionary new Avivo™ video and display technology platform. Avivo™ technology creates vibrant colours, ultra sharp images, true-to-life image reproduction, and the smoothest HD video playback ever offered by ATI.
Avivo™ redefines the ultimate visual experience for today’s PCs, and sets the stage for tomorrow’s exciting possibilities. Check your board for specific support of Avivo™ features.
Get high image fidelity with CRT and LCD displays, TVs, rear projection and plasma TVs, as well as projectors. Avivo™ introduces new life to colours across the entire spectrum with an advanced 10-bit-per-color display engine. Gain better digital signal reception, and maintain cleaner video with hardware noise reduction. Enjoy high-quality analog video capture enabled by robust 12-bit analog-to-digital converters.
ATI’s Catalyst®: Power and Control
Control your Radeon® X1800 with ATI’s Catalyst® Control Center, the award winning feature-rich and stable 3D software application. Catalyst® automatically configures optimal settings for your system, and is packed with features that go far beyond traditional driver configuration software.
Catalyst® supports GPU overdrive, and automatically resets the graphics processor when necessary. Keep ahead of fast-moving gaming effects and technology changes with frequent Catalyst® software updates, and discover Radeon® X1800’s exceptional support for Windows® XP, Windows® Media Center Edition and Microsoft® Vista™
321 million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
Sixteen pixel shader processors
Eight vertex shader processors
256-bit 8-channel GDDR3/GDDR4 memory interface
CrossFire Multi-GPU Ready
Ring Bus Memory Controller
512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
Fast Z-Buffer Clear
Z/stencil cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
3Dc+ texture compression
Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® 2.0
Advanced Image Quality Features
64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
High-resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)
Avivo™ Video and Display Engine
High performance programmable video processor
Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding (including DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray playback), encoding & transcoding (requires optional soft DVD player)
De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and colour space conversion
Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
HDR tone mapping acceleration
Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
Flexible display support
Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
Complete, independent colour controls and video overlays for each display
High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
Xilleon™ TV encoder for high quality analog output
YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
Fast, glitch-free mode switching
VGA mode support on all outputs
Avivo™ is a technology platform that includes a broad set of capabilities offered by ATI products. Full enablement of some Avivo™ capabilities may require complementary products.
PCI Express™ based PC is required with one x16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard.
Connection to the system power supply is required (Adapter Included)
450-Watt power supply or greater recommended (assumes fully loaded system)
512MB of system memory
Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
DVD playback requires DVD drive and decoder software (not included)
Operating Systems Support
Windows® XP x64 Edition
Windows® Media Center Edition 2005
DVI-I connector for digital CRTs or flat panels
VGA connector for analogue display
Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
Dual Link DVI-I for high-resolution digital displays
DISPLAY MODES: FEATURES
Resolutions, colors and maximum refresh rates (Hz) for 256, 65K and 16.7M colours
2D DISPLAY MODES
Monitor Resolution Hz
1920×1080* 16:9 120
MAXIMUM 3D RESOLUTIONS
65K colours 2048×1536
16.7M colours 2048×1536
1.07 billion colours 2560×1600
Specifications and Features: 4.5/5
Upon opening the box, you are greeted with an entire frat house piled into a VW Beetle. There are a lot of wires in this box and could have easily used more space that a larger box would have provided. The only protection the video card has from the elements is the antistatic bag it is in and the other components in the box. There is nothing else protecting the card.
Included in the box you will find:
2x DVI to VGA adapters
Molex to PCI-e adapter
Component video cable
S-Video VIVO cable
Getting Started Guide
Quick Install Guide
Getting a closer look at the card, we see the single slot cooler on the red PCB. The cooler looks remarkably similar in design to almost every other cooler on the market. The only difference is the graphic on top. The outer covering of the cooler is aluminum with an all copper core. You can see from the underside of the cooler that the part in contact with the GPU is all copper and the rest of the outer layer is aluminum. Unfortunately the memory is only in contact through thermal pads, rather than direct contact.
With the cooler removed from the card we are able to get a good look at the GPU and the memory on the card. The GPU is clearly marked R520 plus the stepping and other info.
The memory used on the Connect3D X1800GTO is Samsung 540 K4J55323QG BC20, rated at 500MHz.
The VIVO processes are taken care of via an ATI Rage Theater chip on the card.
Along the end of the card you will find the voltage regulator heatsink and the PCI-e power connector.
The back side of the card has nothing other than the bracket that helps hold the cooler on over the GPU and some circuitry that most of us don’t understand.
To test the performance of the X1800GTO I choose to run the standard game tests that I usually run; including Battlefield 2, Call of Duty 2, F.E.A.R., and Half-Life 2: Lost Coast. Each game was run at several different resolutions at the highest quality settings. F.E.A.R. was the exception; it was run at only Medium detail since it is unplayable on Maximum.
To add to the game tests I also ran 3DMark05 and 3DMark06 to give an additional idea how this card performs.
DFI LanParty UT RDX200 CF-DR
AMD Athlon64 3000+ Venice @ 2.5Ghz
1GB Corsair TwinX PT PC3200
Seagate 7200.9 500GB SATA3G w/16MB cache
Antec True Power 2.0 550w PSU
Antec Titan case
Driver: Connect3D Catalyst
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
In Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, frame rates were recorded from the time you go through the gate at the bottom until you get into the room at the top. The settings were set at 2xAA, 4xAniso, everything else was on high, water was set to Reflect All, and Full HDR.
Call of Duty 2
In Call of Duty 2, I used the second part of the Winter War level called Domination. This level has some indoors and outdoors parts to the level so it gives you a good feeling of how the game will play. Settings were; 4xAA, Anisotropic filtering. During Crossfire tests the Optimize for SLI option was changed to yes.
Battlefield is a beast on even the best PC’s. To test Battlefield 2, I ran the Daqing Oilfields level to get a good idea how the game would play while on foot as well as in different vehicles. Settings were on High.
For F.E.A.R. I ran through the section of the first level from the time you get out of the car until you get to the roof where you are knocked out by the guy with the board. Computer settings were on High and Graphics settings were set to Medium. Lowering the CPU settings to Medium or lower did not help remove the freezing when the Graphics settings were at Maximum.
The standard 3DMark06 tests were run to get the following scores.
The standard 3DMark05 tests were run to get the following scores.
The Connect3D X1800GTO idles at around 55ºC and recorded a top temperature of 70ºC during testing. At 70ºC the fan increased its speed and cooled the card back off to around 67ºC. Even with the card overclocked the temperature stayed about the same.
I was able to get the Connect3D X1800GTO to overclock enough to give me an increase in game performance in each game I played. The stock core speed is 500MHz, I was able to increase that to 565Mhz without any problems. The stock memory speed is 495MHz and I was able to increase that to 550MHz. This is not a huge overclock but it is reasonable. A performance gain was noticed and that is all that counts, especially since there was no increase in temperatures.
Overall, I was quite happy with the performance of the X1800GTO. It is a night and day improvement over the X1600 and it is just shy of the X1800XT. I was able to play all the games I tried, at the resolutions I wanted to, with the detail that I expected. F.E.A.R. was the only game that I could not play on the highest detail setting. The rest of the games I had no problems playing at 1600×1200 with detail set on the highest available.
Price and Warranty
I was able to find the Connect3D X1800GTO for sale online for $239.69. If you wanted to get the X1800XT you would be looking at at least a $100 more.
Connect3D provides a three-year warranty on the X1800GTO. Requests for RMA are processed by registering for inline support at Connect3D’s web site. You will need the model and serial number of your card to register.
Price and Warranty: 4.25/5
After running the X1800GTO for about a week, I have come to appreciate what it does for the money. I can easily suggest this card for anyone that doesn’t want to spend the extra money on the top of the line cards but doesn’t want to be held back by the midrange cards. The GTO runs quiet and only uses a single slot cooler; this would make it a good choice for a HTPC, especially with the video performance that Avivo provides. The Connect3D X1800GTO recieves our Best on the Planet Award as a mid range gamer card.
– Single slot
– No x64 Driver supplied in box
Specifications and Features: 4.5/5
Price and Warranty: 4.25/5
I would like to thank Connect3D for sending us this video card for review.