The R600 chip is probably the most delayed chip in the history
of ATI. It was supposed to show its face in October / November time but too many
things went wrong.
The biggest problem of all was that the G80 was far better than anyone could have expected and Nvidia had a secret weapon, Shaders clocked twice as fast of the GPU speed.
R600 was a nice concept with 320 stream processors or Shader units divided in four blocks and 512 Mbit memory interface. Unfortunately this 700 million transistor chip was way to hot and the performance was not that great.
ATI was ready with its R600 generation in early March, but the performance was so bad that the company decided to postpone the launch till it gets a better driver. Well, they could not push it any further and ATI decided to launch the Radeon HD 2900XT, a cheaper high end card, and to cover the R600 flaws with a Half life 2 episode two voucher.
We had a chance to take a look at two cards, an ATI reference Radeon HD 2900XT and Power Color's Radeon HD 2900XT. As both cards were the same we decided to post the Power Color stuff only as it is based on the same reference design.
The card is clocked at 742/1650 MHz and these are the final clocks of the reference design cards. You can read more about the cooler here, but the story is simple. The card ends up very hot. My biggest problem with the cooler is that it tends to be quite noisy in 3D. In 2D mode the card works at 507 MHz core and it doesn't make much noise.
Well, we wont pay much attention to the temperature of the card as the high end cards can get hot and even the 8800 GTX card ends up close to 80 Celsius if not more on the power components. The r600XT GPU heats up, up to acceptable 71 Celsius and it works stable.
The card comes with a voucher the same as we pictured a few days ago here.