Product: X800 GTO²
Company: Sapphire
Authour: Mark "Ratchet" Thorne
Date: February 6th, 2006

The bundle is nice, the card is relatively small and doesn’t draw a lot of power, and in it’s factory shipped condition it’s got enough punch to power though most games. That’s all good, but the biggest draw for Sapphire’s X800 GTO² is without question the ability to mod it to make it even faster than how it left the factory.

If you’ve ever updated your motherboard BIOS or flashed a new firmware on some piece of hardware you’ve already got enough experience to handle modding the GTO². All you need to do is download an updated BIOS, and with a special version of Flashrom, simply boot to a clean DOS environment and run a single command. Once successfully flashed, the previously 12 pipeline GTO² turns into a 16 pipe part, giving it a significant kick in the pants.

Success rates for modding the card are extremely high, so high in fact that’s it’s almost guaranteed to work. And should you happen to get one that is a particularly good overclocker, one that can do 540MHz on the core, you’ve pretty much got a full fledged X850XT Platinum on your hands (thanks to the 1.6ns ram used on the card, reaching 590MHz memory, what the X850XT Platinum is spec’ed for, is a sure bet).

All the instructions and utilities you need to mod the card can be found online in various places, but to make it easy I’ll point you to techPowerUp! where W1zzard, of ATI Tool fame, has provided everything you need in this tutorial.

Because this mod is the key selling point behind the GTO², I’ve decided to run the benchmarks in my review with the full compliment of 16 pipes unlocked. I’ve also tested the default 12 pipe configuration so that you can easily see what kind of performance improvements to expect.

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