The AMD ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT

Let’s take a quick look at the sample AMD Radeon HD 2900 XT that we used in our testing.

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Despite rumors to the contrary, the board length is reasonable and just a half inch or so longer than NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTS.

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Both connectors here support dual-link DVI output as well as support for the HDIM dongle.

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Continuing with the native CrossFire implementation we saw with the X1950 Pro cards, the HD 2900 XT has two connections that must both be installed in order for CrossFire to function correctly.

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These are the CrossFire connectors that cross from bridge to bridge on the two physical cards when installed.

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The HD 2900 XT has both an 8-pin PCIe power connector and a 6-pin PCIe power connector — the new 8-pin specs allow it to draw as much as 150 watts over it while the 6-pin is limited to 75 watts.  Combining that with the 75 watts the card can pull over the PCIe bus and you get a maximum of 300 watts available to the card should ATI want it. 

ATI does claim that users can still use just two 6-pin PCIe connectors (the 8-pin is keyed to allow it but if you want to overclock the card, the driver will ONLY ENABLE the option if you have the 8-pin connector installed.

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Interestingly, there are TWO fan headers here indicating that a future PCB model might use or require two fans to cool it.  Luckily we are only left with one reasonable quiet one.

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Here is that same HDMI dongle attached to the card — pretty easy to use and compatible with either DVI port I am told.

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Removing the heatsink reveals the R600 GPU underneath it as well as the Hynix memory chips that make up the 512MB of GDDR3 frame buffer.

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The chip itself is clean of any etchings and instead has the markings engraved in the packaging surrounding it.

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Very basic TV output capability is provided by the aging ATI Theater 200 chip.

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These two shots show the beefy heatsink that is enclosed in the fan shroud. 

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The shroud casing actually has thermal pads on it for heat spreading for the memory and power circuitry and the fan is loose inside the shroud when the heatsink is removed. 

In the end the rumors of extreme LONG cards and required 8-pin power connectors turned out to be false: just one more reason to ignore that crud and get the facts here and launch.

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