The first thing you notice about the Radeon X1800XL is the length - at first it does feel a lot longer then the GeForce 7800GTX but quickly pulling out a spare does show that it is the same length.
The Sapphire X1800XL is a good looking card and uses an equally attractive single slot design for cooling. On the right side of the front of the card we can sees another red heatsink that covers the card and helps cool down some of the other bits and pieces that get hot. It works by the air being pushed out of the heatsink and running through the fins.
As you would expect of a card of this caliber, we do have a 6 pin power connector since the PCI Express slot cannot provide all required power. The fan is slightly smaller then the one on the 7800GTX and but we did notice a small whining noise when at full speed. Fortunately it is becoming quite common amongst most companies to utilize temperature throttling which means the only time it speeds up is when you're playing a game and your sound would normally drown this out.
The back of the X1800XL is very plain, with no memory being on the rear of the card we just have a bracket and some screws holding the heatsink in place. Apart from all our normal information like model, serial number and so on, there isn't much else to be found on the back of the Sapphire X1800XL.
As we mentioned when looking at the box the card comes with Dual DVI which is becoming extremely common throughout higher-end graphics cards. We also have our VIVO port located between the DVI ports for people who want to make use of the video in and video out feature.
While we would normally be worried about a card of this length, the GeForce 7800GTX has been out for over four months now and no real problems with its length has been reported. We don't see why anyone who does want to venture down the ATI path (instead of the nVidia path) would run into any troubles in a typical computer case.
On the other hand if you're running a small form factor we would recommend that you venture over to Google before rushing out and buying one of these cards to make sure that people with a similar model SFF have not had any troubles with the GTX card length.