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ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT Graphics Card Review Rev. 2.0
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ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT Graphics Card

Had the long wait been worth it? Honestly, we don't think so. ATI kept their fans waiting for the Radeon HD 2000 cards, promising better performance than NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 series of graphics cards. However, for all that delay, their flagship Radeon HD 2900 XT cannot even beat the GeForce 8800 GTX (released over six months earlier) in performance, much less the GeForce 8800 Ultra.

For a graphics card that spent so much time in development, we expected a really refined card. Well, it is and it isn't. It is the first graphics card we know to use expensive digital power regulation for greater efficiency and a cleaner board design. It also conveniently includes an onboard audio processor which allows you to stream video and audio together to your HDTV via a HDMI cable. This is a feature not yet found on any other graphics card.

However, power consumption is still prodigious, so much so that ATI had to use a new 8-pin power connector to supplement the first 6-pin power connector. This new connector had many users groaning in frustration as most power supplies only ship with two standard 6-pin power cables. The card will still run at full speed if you just use two 6-pin power cables, but it's advisable for you to switch one of them to a 8-pin power cable to reduce the load on your power cables.

The increased power consumption also meant increased thermal output. We are glad to report that ATI has done a pretty good job of it here. The cooler is large, as expected, but the fan is fortuitously quiet in comparison to the fans ATI used in the past. We did not experience any stability issues even in these hot and humid conditions, but overclocking may not be easy due to the amount of heat produced.

We recently retested the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT with a slew of new DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 games and of course, new drivers! We also threw the new NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT into the mix. Unfortunately for ATI, the new NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT totally blew away the Radeon HD 2900 XT. The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT may not offer an incredible boost in speed over the Radeon HD 2900 XT but it is much cheaper.

With the advent of the far more cost-effective NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT, there is no longer a valid reason for gamers to buy the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, unless of course they are rabid ATI fans. Even throwing in a free Valve game bundle (Half-Life 2 : Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal) to sweeten the deal isn't going to work.

If ATI wants to move their Radeon HD 2900 XT inventory, they will need to start cutting its price at least by half, and that's what we think they will do very, very soon. So, if you are looking to buy the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, wait a while. ATI will drastically slash its price soon to stay competitive.

For more details, read our Comprehensive Review!


• $399

Lowest PriceGrabber Price


Comprehensive Review


• R600

Manufacturing Process

• 0.08 Micron

Transistor Count

• 720 Million

DirectX Support

DirectX 10


PCI Express X16

Stream Processors

• 320

Vertex Shader Version


Pixel Shader Version

• 4.0

Textures Per Clock

• Average 16


• 16

Core Clock Speed

• 742 MHz

Fill Rate

• 11872 MTexels/s

Memory Bus Width

• 512 -bits

Memory Size

• 512 MB

Memory Type


Memory Speed

• 825 MHz (1.65 GHz DDR)

Memory Bandwidth

• 105.60 GB/s

DVI Support

• Two dual-linked DVI, both integrated into the GPU

Free Games Bundled

• Half Life 2 : Episode 2
• Team Fortress 2
• Portal


Our Review System

Tech ARP is committed to developing new ways to improve your experience with us. As part of our continuous efforts to improve the value of our reviews to you, we are implementing a multi-tier review system.

This review system is designed to allow you to quickly receive information on the latest hardware or software. This new system also allows you to quickly get the gist of the review without reading through it. This can be very useful, especially in situations where you need to make a quick purchase decision.

In this new system, we start with a Product Overview whenever a company sends us a press release about their latest product. We shift through extraneous PR-talk to create a straightforward summary of the product's features as well as specifications. This allows you to quickly find out all the pertinent details about the product, without reading through official press releases.

When we receive the product for review, we will quickly take photos of it and create a Pictorial Review. The purpose of a pictorial review is to allow you, the reader, to quickly examine the product visually. It may help you make better purchase decisions, especially if you cannot wait for the full review.

After thorough testing, we will post a Comprehensive Review of the product. This adds on to the pictorial review with comprehensive test results and our final conclusion on the product.

But no matter whether you are reading a Pictorial Review or a Comprehensive Review, you can always read the summary of the review as well as examine the product's specifications right on the first page. In all our new reviews, we will maintain the first page as a Product Overview page. If the product is listed in PriceGrabber, you can also check out the lowest price online.

We hope this new review system will make your experience a lot more enjoyable and informative!

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