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Product : Toxic X800 Pro
Company : Sapphire
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Date : July 31st, 2004

Conclusion

I've been getting on about innovation and uniqueness in just about every graphics card review I've written. After well over a year of reviewing their graphics cards, Sapphire has shown me that they are actually willing to take a chance and come out with something unique and downright shocking enough to catch the eyes of the consumers. Blue and Orange is so far from the ordinary that someone walking the isles at their local computer store can't possibly help but to stop and look at it. I'm sure there are people who detest this particular colour combination, but I honestly think it's fantastic and applaud Sapphire for having the guts to make that choice.

One of the things I was surprised to find missing from the HIS X800 Pro IceQII I reviewed last week was a way to monitor the temperature of the card. Temperature monitoring is one of the necessities for any enthusiast piece of hardware that has a potential to get hot. Not recognizing the need for it is almost unforgivable. Fortunately, Sapphire did recognize the need for it and came up with a simple solution by attaching a thermal probe to the base of the cooler. All that you need to monitor the temperature is a front panel display, very common with all enthusiasts these days, and an extension for the probe. It's too bad that they couldn't get the probe closer to the core however as that would be what most people would want to monitor.

Not only has Sapphire impressed me with their unique style choice and innovative ideas, they've also taken me by surprise with their little APE application. Software overclocking that doesn't void your warranty can't be overlooked, particularly when you consider the tight restrictions the IHVs usually put on their AIB partners with regard to factory clock speeds. You have to respect Sapphire for not only having the wits to recognize this loophole but to also actually take advantage of it in a retail unit.

Finally, the bundle must be mentioned. Frankly, either Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow or Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time would have made for a great bundle with any card, but both games in one bundle is unbelievable. Combined with all the other bits of software, including their own RedLine overclocking and tweaking utility, and the scales definitely tip in Sapphire's favour.

Even with the less than stellar overclocking performance of this particular card (your own mileage may vary of course), it goes without saying that I am very impressed with what Sapphire has given us with the Toxic X800 Pro. Style and innovation are the two things I've been gunning for for years now, finally Sapphire has listened and I for one can't wait to see what they will come up with next.


Verdict

Overall Score
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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Editor's Choice
Award

Good
  • Excellent graphics performance
  • Dripping with style
  • Finally some real innovation
  • APE factory overclocking doesn't void your warranty
  • Insane game bundle
  • Fantastic cooling performance
  • Front and back memory cooling
  • Whisper quiet
  • Temperature monitor
  • Can't forget ViVo!
Bad
  • Huge
  • Colour combination is not for everyone
  • A little disappointed with the core overclocking





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