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PowerColor ATI Radeon X800VIVO
Bravo Edition 256meg PCI-e Video card
PowerColor has quickly become one of the main manufacturers of ATI video cards in the past few years. This reputation has been built up because of there extra efforts in making their products better then the rest... We got our hands on one of their X800 Bravo series video devices and wanted to see if all the good comments are warranted and just how good this product is..
When discussing installation of a video card there really isn't much to say when dealing with the hardware. But when you install the software especially with a video card such as the X800 VI/VO models there are allot of different aspects worth some extra mention...
Lets start with the drivers. PowerColor uses your standard Catalyst drivers so nothing new here the install is pretty easy and I had no errors when running the standard setup. Not after the drivers are loaded and the PC reboots the getting started ATI menu / help page pops up. This feature is a slightly boring but very good read provided by ATI if you ever have any question concerning features and the functionality of the video card.. Also not when going into the display properties the large number of settings and tabs the X800 has. I am not going to get into the tweaks and extras do the the sheer number of settings available but let me tell you they all seemed to work very well and allow anyone to control every aspect of this piece of hardware...
Also part of the driver installation is what ATI calls a Catalyst Control Panel. You can access this software by double clicking on the ATI symbol on the lower right corner of your task bar. This control panel is a nice way to make editing the video preferences in a more user friendly manner. All your major features are provided from display modes to 3d performance trial to see what exactly you lose when using different display settings. This utility is much better then hacking threw the display drivers for someone that might not have any idea what anti aliasing or dithering or such stuff is used for. I definitely recommend trying it out it is very easy to use and makes setting changes a novelty
Another great piece of software provided with this unit is the CyberLink DVD Solution this is good for all sorts of DV decoding rendering splicing and editing. The reason for this software is to utilize the DV capture recorder on the X800. PowerColor provides all the hardware and software necessary to make this bundle work. This software is very easy to use . After importing your video and audio streams the snip its of media can be dragged and altered in the order you want cutting and editing is a snap. This software also comes with over lays and plug-inn's to make your video project even better..
The last part of installation I wanted to cover was just some info about the actual wring hook-up for the S-Video out and Capture adapters. PowerColor provides everything needed to perform these tasks lots of extra wires to do any type of install possible, and installation is very easy. Just take the desired wire input/output plug it into the center S-Video connection on the card itself and then hook the wires up to your TV or camcorder depending on your desired setup.. They even labeled the wires to make less confusion when hooking your devices up to the video card.
PowerColor makes their products very similar to the ATI models in look in feel. In this models case PowerColor uses a simple yet effective cooling system to keep this card from overheating. the board itself is ATI red and even the packaging is pretty much the stock ATI look. So basically what I am trying to say is PowerColor isn't into the flash and glitter but what they lack in flare they make up for in performance...
The heat sink itself is has a pressure bar securing it to the rear of the card so if you decide on adding an extra cooler removal of the stock sink is very easy to do and unless you have some serious static charge I can't see damaging the unit doing this..
What we did for the performance section of this test is run both real game macros and systemic benchmarks as well. The FutureMark results where compared to an AGP nVidia 6600GT so you can see the kind of performance increase you will get between the two cards. All our results may vary from what you have encountered at home and please note that this test was run using only default settings there are many ways to achieve better results to many to document here so we chose to use the setting a person would encounter when doing a base install...
~Unreal Tournament 2003~
For the Unreal 2003 benchmark we used a very nice utility [H]ard|OCP uses that runs even with a demo version of UT2003. We ran the PowerColor card in both 1024 and 1280 video modes and to my surprise the 1280 mode actually had a better low farm rate then the 1024 mode. However as expected the average and high FPS rate the 1024 ran much better. Also note that in most cases the Direct3D rendering performed much better then the OpenGL...
High Quality mode Direct3D & Open GL
Low Quality mode Direct3D & Open GL
This test was run using the Direct3D &
This test was run using utility provided by [H]ard|OCP
~FutureMark Benchmarking Results~
As I mentioned earlier we did use a multi compare between the nVidia 6600GT and the X800 and I know they are not of the same class but it does show what kind of performance increase you should expect jumping from the AGP Socket 754 setup to the PCI-e 939 socket setup.. If you are not familiar with FutureMark software let me give you a brief explanation of the different programs.. 3DMark2001 is an older version of the 3DMark line of tools this tool focuses on the DirectX7.0 line of 3D engines comparatively as the software gets newer so does the primary testing focus for example 3DMark03 is geared towards DirectX8.0 and 3DMark05 is designed to push the DirectX9.0. All of these utilities use a similar structure in the way they test. Small runs of intense and moderate graphical scenes are executed and the Frames Per Second FPS are recoded then the results are measured and a rating is given based on the performance of the video card...
for all FutureMark Benchmarks
~3DMark01Pro SE Build 3.0~
Detailed Test Results
~3DMark03Pro Revision 6 Build 0~
Main Test Results
Detailed Test Results
~3DMark05Pro Revision 2 Build 0~
Main Test Results
Detailed Test Results
When all is said and done this card performs well beyond my expectations.. The image quality is hard to beat and FPS on all types of video imaging is lightning fast. I can't stress how enough how well the X800 pro handled with not only your standard FPS games like Battle Field and CS. But also games like EverQuest & WoW, where the lag can make or break and adventure or raid... Great Job PowerColor...
Being the flag ship ATI manufacturer I figured that the overall construction and design of this board was going to be at least as goods as a ATI manufactured product and to be honest it is. They make a very clean and professional looking card. I am however used to seeing aftermarket cooling units but thus far the stock unit PowerColor uses has performed very well. I definitely give them an overall thumbs up for the packaging and software as well as the actual board construction. There really isn't a hole lot to say other then that with video cards I have had no trouble with heat or drivers thus far after running a multitude of games and applications...
Easy to install drivers & software.
Clean factory look.
Quality is top notch.
Great DV editing software.
A bit pricy but worth every penny..
Even though this card will cost a bit more it is a great piece of hardware that performs absolutely astounding. Especially when taking into account the great games and software included with the purchase. I am very pleased to give this our "Blue Ribbon Seal of Approval" for an outstanding product.. (The only thing holding it back is the slightly high price..)
Rating: 5.9999 our of 6 Stars
Review Date: 04/07/05
Reviewer: pr101j (Paul)
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