The main-stream market has been seeing a boom in performance over the last year or so. Cards like ATI's Radeon X700 Pro and nVidia's Geforce 6600GT have firmly replaced old, underwhelming cards like the 9600XT and 5700 Ultra and, thanks to a new 110nm manufacturing process which greatly reduces manufacturing costs, these new cards can be made available at performance levels equal to that of the old 9800XTs and 5950 Ultras while still staying under the $200 price target.
As you'd expect from Sapphire, they have taken ATI's X700 Pro and created a couple different cards based on it. The first is a 256MB X700 Pro called the Hybrid, and the second is a 128MB X700 Pro with a special cooling fan and kick ass bundle called the Toxic. In this review I'll be focusing on the more unique of the two, the Toxic X700 Pro.
While the Toxic line is not as established as some other vendor lines, it's still hard to mistake them for anything else. The bright orange fan housing and blue PCB, while not for everyone, won't ever be associated with anyone else. With the Toxic, Sapphire has taken a successful leap to differentiate themselves from the swell of red and green graphics cards out there and have a guaranteed advantage to get noticed at your favorite computer retailer.
Retail Box Bundle
The Toxic includes full versions of two best selling UBI Soft games, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (DVD) and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. These two gems are amongst the best games ever made and serve as a good base to show off the power of the Toxic X700 Pro graphics card. Also included on the software side are PowerDVD 5 and a driver CD that contains install manuals in PDF format, the drivers of course, and a little application called Automated Performance Enhancer, or APE for short. I'll have a little more about APE later.
On the hardware side of things Sapphire includes all the standard cables and adapters you need for taking advantage of the features the Toxic supports including a DVI to VGA adapter, S-Video cable, composite cable, and an S-Video to composite adapter. Also included in the box is something I've never seen included with a graphics card before; a blue 10cm Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp made by Sharkoon. I'll have a little more about that later too.
Here's a breakdown of what the Toxic bundle includes:
- Sapphire X700 Pro Toxic PCI-Express graphics card
- S-Video cable
- Composite cable
- S-Video to Composite adapter
- VGA to DVI adapter
- 10cm Sharkoon Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp
- Driver CD
- Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- PowerDVD 5
- Installation Manual