As youíve no doubt seen in our screenshots, the X850 XT Platinum Edition, like the GeForce 6800 Ultra, is a two-slot graphics card, so youíll need to leave the PCI-E or PCI slot adjacent to your PCI-E x16 slot empty in order for the card to fit properly.
In our opinion, this isnít a big deal, as most enthusiasts leave the slot empty anyway for improved airflow. The large cooler is a ducted design that draws in air from within your system case, then ejects it out the back of your system. This means that the X850 XT PEís cooler helps to keep your case cool, as hot air is removed from your chassis. The cooler is composed of multiple pieces, including a copper heatsink which sits atop the graphics core, keeping it cool. An aluminum heat spreader cools the cardís memory modules.
Like previous ATI high-end offerings, the cardís fan operates dynamically, with RPMs varying based on temperature. When the board begins to heat up, the RPMs crank up. When the core is cool, the RPMs are toned down. At full tilt (which occurs during boot up) the fan is a little loud, but this only last for a few seconds. During extended gaming sessions we never saw the fan leave its intermediate setting, which is quite easy on the ears.
Besides the dual-slot cooling, another trait the RADEON X850 Platinum Edition shares with GeForce 6800 Ultra is dual DVI capability. The addition of dual DVIs as standard is a feature that many flat panel users have been asking for, so itís nice to see ATI address this. Dual DVIs will be standard on the RADEON X850 XT PE and RADEON X850 XT, the X850 PRO and X800 XL/X800 will rely on the more traditional DVI/VGA configuration weíve grown accustomed to seeing on cards today. Additionally, all retail Built by ATI RADEON X850 cards will feature VIVO support, including the X850 PRO.
Enhanced OVERDRIVE support
Starting with CATALYST 4.12, ATI will be providing even more overclocking options in OVERDRIVE. Not only will you be able to manually adjust core and memory clock speeds, ATI will also provide an automated overclocking utility that will automatically overclock your cardís graphics core and memory until it reaches the maximum stable setting.
Thanks to the RADEON X850ís onboard thermal diode, OVERDRIVE can dynamically adjust the speed of the graphics core if it begins to overheat. This ensures that you wonít damage your graphics card as long as OVERDRIVE is enabled. Weíll be taking a closer look at overclocking the RADEON X850 XT PE later this week.