As you would expect our reference ATI card is red as usual and has a clean looking aluminum heatsink fan on it which covers the front memory. The card is quite plain looking but this isn't uncommon in most reference cards as they only place the bare necessities on it - usually the core, some good memory and a cooling solution that does a good job. As you would expect this is exactly what we got.
Paying closer attention to the card you might notice the lack of external power needed for the card to run. Due to PCI Express being able to pass through the extra power and the X700 not being as power hungry as its older brother (the X800) the external power isn't needed and as a result is a more SFF friendly option.
The back of the card doesn't reveal anything surprising with you simply being able to see the bracket that holds the heatsink in place. You can see that ATI are using the 2NS DDR3 Samsung memory which is connected through a 128-bit memory bus which is becoming popular in the mid-range market as it is the same memory found not only on the X800PRO but also the 6800 line of graphics cards. The memory clock speed for the reference is set to 432MHz (or 864MHz DDR) and the core clock speed is set to 420MHz but you may find third party manufacturers push these clock speeds a little higher.
You should notice on the front of the card the very blank looking rectangle shape to the right of the cooler; this is where the ATI Rage Theater chip goes so you can get VIVO function. We can see the reference card comes with your standard TV Out, VGA and DVI port.
With eight pixel pipelines and 128MB and 256MB variants of the card being offered, the X700PRO should be no slouch and with the XT version of the card coming out hopefully by the end of the year we should see another performance jump with increased core and memory speeds. For now we will simply look at the PRO and see how it fairs against the nVidia counterpart. The X700PRO is currently only available in PCI-E and there is no word of it moving to an AGP form anytime soon.
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