ATI Technologies' recent introduction of its R420 GPU, wrapped up in products bearing the radeon X800 moniker, has predictably caused its board partners to produce X800 designs that encompass the entire product range; currently Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition and Radeon X800 PRO.
With the Radeon XT Platinum Edition not quite in full retail swing, it's been left to the Radeon X800 PRO to hold the fort, satiating eager gamer's needs for the next generation. NVIDIA still won't let its partners ship NVIDIA GeForce 6800 in any form, except in rare circumstances, and certainly not in any kind of mass market volume. At the time of writing that's just about to change, but in the U.K. at least, GeForce 6800 boards are in short supply.
With Radeon X800 PRO doing the business just now and ATI's board partners in possession of a very capable reference design, seeing retail reviews of partner X800s has been common recently. While we've been keen to take a look at boards from the likes of GeCube and Visiontek, it's been the ASUSTeK Radeon X800 designs that we've been most keen to evaluate.
New to the ATI game, ASUS nevertheless distinguished itself straight away with its Radeon 9800-based designs, deviating from the reference heatsink and supplying the boards with a decent selection of games. VIVO ability was another highlight, All-In-Wonder products having previously been needed for video capture on ATI hardware. High price was the only downside to high ASUS Radeon 9800 uptake, the Taiwanese giant offering their boards at a price premium over the competition.
So with the above in mind, when the ASUS AX800 PRO turned up a week ago we were pretty excited to see what ASUS had done. While our perception was tarnished somewhat by our article on ASUS's Computex 2004 presence, which gave the cooler game away, we still had high hopes. An ASUS product is invariably a polished one, ripe for consumer consumption. Let's take a closer look.