Today we not only have our first R520 series graphics card in our hands but also our first full retail offering. While nVidia were able to release their GeForce 7800GTX and GT the day of launch, ATI were unable to match it with the best being the Radeon X1800XL coming after a week or after the initial launch.
While this is a lot better then previous releases by ATI, it would have been nice to see their top of the line X1800XT being released at the same time - unfortunately we are still roughly a month off before it gets into the retail channel and we aren't too sure about supply. Fingers crossed those ATI enthusiasts will get their hands on an X1800XT before Christmas.
ATI's new X1800XL is a similar VPU to the XT variant however clock speeds are slower - both have the same amount of pipelines. The XT variant is available with onboard memory up to 512MB while the XL only has 256MB of GDDR3 memory. Sapphire has clocked the core of their retail card at 500MHz and the memory at 1GHz DDR - the same as the ATI specification. The XT variant is clocked substantially higher at a core clock speed of 625MHz and memory clock speed of 1.5GHz DDR, according to the ATI specification.
Sapphire gave us the heads up the other day that their Radeon X1800XL was coming off their factory line extremely soon and shipped to us straight away. As far as we can tell, this is one of the first retail offerings to be benchmarked so let's see what Sapphire have done package wise and have a look at one of the first X1800XL retail cards which is actually available on the market.