PCI Express graphics: Extreme AX 600XT

Mid-range PCI Express graphics cards currently comprise NVIDIA's GeForce PCX 5750 and ATI's Radeon X600 series of graphics chips. This month we tested the ASUS Extreme AX 600XT card, based on the Radeon X600 XT chip and having 128MB of 128-bit DDR1 memory.

It's aimed at the user who wants very good game playing perfor-mance at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1280x1024 with high detail settings, yet it is also the perfect card for the high-end video enthusiast. Video fiends will surely appreciate the presence of the component video output on the card's mounting bracket (in addition to the DVI-I monitor port), as it means the card can provide a high-quality output signal to devices such as high-definition television sets (HDTV) and component-capable projectors. A component cable is supplied, as is a DVI-to-VGA adapter.

When installing the card, make sure you use the ASUS Enhanced driver, as this will allow you to play with the speed settings of the card, to monitor its temperature and to implement SmartCooling technology. SmartCooling controls the speed of the card's fan according to its workload, helping keep your PC quiet during idle times. The default clock and memory frequencies of the card are 500MHz and 740MHz, respectively, which can be adjusted to a maximum of 533MHz and 783MHz. We performed all our tests with the default settings. This card proved to be very quick in all tests, and was especially impressive when 2x anti-aliasing was employed to improve the image quality.

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