Sapphire X850 XT PE

Review

posted 9/9/2005 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Sapphire’s a great provider of ATI cards. They have a good range of products and do try some innovation once in a while. I’m looking forward to their upcoming Blizzard line of cards that utilize liquid metal cooling. Until then, we have their top of the line card from them today. For those of you still using AGP, here’s a look at the Sapphire X850 XT PE.



The big boy of the ATI line is the X850 XT Platinum Edition. The card comes in with 256MB of GDDR3 ram with a 256-bit memory interface. Built on the .13 micron process, the R481 core is clocked at 540MHz while the memory is clocked at 590MHz or 1180MHz DDR. There are 16 pipelines and the theoretical pixel fillrate is 8.6 Gpixels/sec. It’s the fastest AGP card from Sapphire right now. NVIDIA uses a bridge for cards that are normally PCI-E and made to work with AGP. ATI modified the chip directly so there’s no bridging chip in this product. Unlike Sapphire’s X700 card, the X850 XT PE’s PCB is the traditional red color.

Looking at the card, you can see that it’s a two slot card with a big heavy fan to help cool it down. It’s pretty much a vanilla cooler with Sapphire’s branding on the side. Air is drawn over the heatsink and expelled out the back of the case through the second slot grill. This should help keep the case a little cooler as the air isn’t blown in the case. With such a lard fan, the card is pretty quiet. Once the card gets through the initial bootup, the fan dials down with noise at a very acceptable level.

On the bracket, there are both a VGA and a DVI connector. Newer high end cards are seeing dual DVI’s but since Sapphire’s copied the reference design, you’ll see that it only has one. If you do have two monitors with DVI connectors, there’s a VGA to DVI adapter included.

Since this is an AGP card, the X850 XT PE needs an external power supply unlike its PCI-E brethren. For that, a molex plug sits on the top rear of the card. Included with the package is a power splitter so if you are out of molex power connectors, you can split one off to use with the card.
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