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Sapphire X800 GTO Ultimate

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Posted November 4, 2005 by admin in Video Cards

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Sapphire X800 GTO Ultimate

With the ?Ultimate? Sapphire is attempting something a little different, and in doing so targeting a different type of user. This card is passively cooled using a custom cooler designed by Sapphire and is therefore silent. It uses three heat pipes to transfer heat away from the main heatsink to another much larger one situated at the bottom of the card. You will need some form of airflow hitting at least one of the heatsinks but typical case airflow should do the trick nicely. If you are looking for a silent solution for HTPC?s this might be a good choice, however, make sure the extra size of this card is not a problem for your case and make sure you have at least some sort of airflow sufficient for a passively cooled GPU.

Sapphire has three X800GTO models all designed to target different markets. There is the standard X800 GTO with reference cooler and clocks, another named the Fireblade Edition with higher memory clock speeds (anything north of 1120 MHz) and of course, the Ultimate Edition, which has reference clocks of 400/980.

This card comes with an impressive bundle. You get all?the usual stuff, a?manual, driver?CD, S-video cable, componant lead etc, but you also get a CD with pre-loaded game demos?of which you can test out with the option to buy the ful version for free. It’s nice that Sapphire lets the end user choose instead of a pre-designated game. There is also a voucher inside that allows you to play the?MMORPG?Guild Wars for 10 hours free, not bad, eh?

The cooler is quite unique, with the main heatsink shaped as a big ?S? with large fins extruding from the sides. It?s well fixed and sturdy with plenty of thermal goop between the heat pipes and sinks.

As you may have noticed by now, the PCB is a nice blue, it matches the heatsink well.

The heatsink on the back is much larger and deeper than the top one. Even with this impressive cooler the GOU can get quite hot as you?ll find out later.

The more astute of you might already have noticed there is no PCI-e power connector on this board. It doesn?t need one as this board can be exclusively powered from the PCI-e slot

Regrettably there is no ATI Rage Theater encoder/decoder chip on this board so there is no VIVO. This could be a major downfall for those eyeing up this card for HTPC?s.?

What?s this I see under the bonnet? An R480 no less! From the research I?ve done over this card, there is a good chance of getting an R480 in this model. I couldn?t resist looking to see if this core had all the hallmarks of being moddable to 16 pipes but ATI Tools made me fear it was unlikely. Like I said, the best card for this mod is the GTO2.

The memory on this card was Samsung 2.0ns which is rated for use at 1000 MHz, we?ll see how far this stuff goes on the next page.

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