ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT Review 174

ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT Review

Test Setup »

A Closer Look

In case you want to take a closer look at a small detail on the card, we took some ultra high-res photos for you. Each image has a resolution 3264x2448 of and weighs in at about 3 MB.

Several parts make up the cooler, the baseplate that makes contact with the core is made from Copper, so are the heatpipes and the heatsink fins. The fan is radial which is better for airflow than the good old axial design, unfortunately the card is a bit noisy when running at high load. Thermal tape on both the front and the back plate ensure that your memory is kept at an acceptable temperature. As mentioned before, the black metal piece sits on the back of the card and cools the eight memory chips there.

The mounting hole distance is exactly the same as on the X1950. The distance across from hole to hole ( like an X ) is 3" or 7.62 cm.

The board layout is quite complex, all available space is used. You can clearly see how the memory chips are centered around the GPU.

Two fan connectors are placed on the board, which allows Add-In-Board partners to make special designs that use two bigger slower fans.

ATI's Rage Theater chip has also received an overhaul and is now smaller, yet offers better image quality and more video processing features.

The Radeon HD 2900 XT is the first video card to use an 8-pin power supply connector in addition to the established 6-pin one. This allows for better power delivery, which will be handy when overclocking. To use the card you need to connect at least two 6-pin power connectors, the 6-pin will fit into the 8-pin plug leaving two pins open. However, if you plan on doing serious overclocking you may be better off using a power supply that has the new 8-pin connector. PSU manufacturers are already updating their products with companies like Corsair or be Quiet! offering free upgrades for power supplies that were recently purchased.

The voltage regulator area is very crowded, it uses Volterra's VT1165MF voltage controller, which allows software changes of the board voltage up to 2.0V - the default is 1.0V. Actually there are two of them, a second VT1165MF is used to generate the memory voltage MVDDC.

The board uses sixteen GDDR3 memory chips from Hynix (HY5RS573225A FP-1) which are rated at 1.0 ns, so should be good for 1000 MHz.

The GPU is without any markings, its color is actually silverish, but with the reflection of the lens it looks like black. The 45° rotated die approach will make it hard to use existing coolers, especially optimized watercoolers may not fit. Also it seems that on most cards the shim around the core is higher than the core in the middle, R350 anyone? This will add extra cost to any aftermarket coolers and waterblocks as well because a more complex design with a raised baseplate is required. Of course you can file down the shim to be lower than the core, so your old coolers may fit.
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