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Product : Sapphire Radeon X800XT
Company : Sapphire
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Date : October 7th, 2004


Sapphire's X800XT is, of course, based on ATI's newest generation R420 graphics core.

The R420 core is built on TSMC's 130nm low-k dielectric silicon process and has a transistor count of roughly 160 million. The core is arranged in four quads, each with four pixel pipelines, and therefore can support a maximum of 16 pixel pipelines. To increase yields, individual quads can be disabled if they contain manufacturing defects and then sold as lower performance parts to be used with less expensive models. For example, if one quad has defects, it can be disabled and the core can be sold to be used on a 12-pipe X800 Pro. If two quads have defects, those two quads can be disabled and sold as an 8-pipe X800SE. Fortunately, like the X800XT Platinum Edition, the X800XT specification calls for a full 16-pipe core and only differs from the X800XT Platinum Edition by core and memory clock speeds.

Sapphire uses the same Samsung 1.6ns(600MHz) GDDR3 memory on the X800XT used on the X800XT Platinum, which bodes well for overclocking. Even though GDDR3 memory is designed to run cooler than previous generation DDR and DDR2 memory, it still gets fairly hot. Unfortunately there's nothing on the X800XT to cool the memory, and because the stock cooler partially covers the front memory modules (but doesn't touch them) you'd have to replace the stock cooler if you wanted to add any memory cooling mods.

The X800XT also sports VIVO in the form of ATI's Rage Theater multimedia chip. A bundled wiring harness allows you to input/output an s-video or composite video signal, and a separate cable allows you to output a component signal (no component input unfortunately). It also supports DVI/VGA with an adapter to turn the DVI into a secondary VGA for dual-vga use, but unfortunately it has no dual-DVI. On the back edge of the card is also a VIVO connection which lets you migrate the VIVO jacks to the front panel of your computer.
Rage Theater
Rage Theater
X800XT Connectors
X800XT Connectors
VIVO Connector
VIVO Connector

  Sapphire X800XT Radeon X800XT Platinum Radeon X800 Pro Radeon 9800XT
Silicon Process 130nm low-k 130nm low-k 130nm low-k 150nm
Transistor Count
160 160 160 110
Core Speed
500 520 475 412
Memory Speed
500 GDDR3 560 GDDR3 450 GDDR3 365 DDR
Memory Interface 256bit 256bit 256bit 256bit
Rendering Pipelines 16 16 12 8
TMUs Per Pipeline 1 1 1 1
Peak Memory Bandwidth
32.0 35.8 28.8 23.4
Pixel Fillrate
(million pixels/sec)
8,000 8,320 5,700 3,296
Texel Fillrate
(million texels/sec)
8,000 8,320 5,700 3,296
Pixel Shader Units
(DX version)
16 (2.0b) 16 (2.0b) 12 (2.0b) 8 (2.0)
Vertex Shader Units
(DX version)
6 (2.0b) 6 (2.0b) 6 (2.0b) 4 (2.0)
(lowest street)

  • 256MB of 'Xtreme performance GDDR3 memory accelerates the latest cutting edge 3D applications
  • 256-bit quad-channel GDDR3 memory interface
  • Sixteen 'Xtreme parallel pixel pipelines
  • Available in PCI Express format or AGP 8X, providing a high-speed link between the graphics board and the rest of the PC
  • Six programmable vertex shader pipelines
  • Full support for DirectX® 9.0 and the latest OpenGL® functionality
  • New SMARTSHADER™ HD technology allows for support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware as well as OpenGL® via extensions.
  • SMOOTHVISION™ HD technology provides enhanced image quality by removing jagged edges and bringing out fine texture detail, without compromising performance
  • 3Dc™ High quality 4:1 Normal Map Compression delivers beautiful scenes without the performance hit.
  • Unique VIDEOSHADER™ HD engine uses programmable pixel shaders to accelerate video processing and provide better-looking visuals
  • HYPER Z™ HD is optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions.

X800XT R420 Core
X800XT R420 Core
Samsung 1.6ns GDDR3
Samsung 1.6ns GDDR3

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