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With PCI Express representing the biggest change in graphics card interfaces for a very long time, every manufacturer out there is bringing out new product lines covering everything from the entry level graphics solutions to super expensive top of the range gaming cards. The Abit RX300 SE-Guru falls in the entry level category, although it has a few tricks up its sleeve that you wouldn’t expect to find on an entry level graphics card.
First of all, this is not Abit’s most basic Radeon X300SE based card, so you get a board with DVI and D-SUB connectors as well as S-Video output. Abit has also fitted a fancy GPU cooler that has been adorned with blue LEDs, but there are no memory heatsinks. The fan on the GPU cooler can also be adjusted automatically depending on how hot the GPU runs with the help of Abit’s Vguru software.
The Vguru software also allows you to overclock the GPU and the memory, as well as tweak the voltage of both the GPU and the memory. Other handy features includes fan speed and GPU temperature readouts and Abit’s black box software which will send a diagnostics report to Abit’s engineers in case you’re experiencing problems with your graphics card.
The GPU cooler can be set to run at three different speeds depending on the temperature – you have the option to manually adjusted the fan speed in the Vguru software or you can simply leave it in automatic mode.
If you’re new to overclocking your graphics card, Abit has come up with a simple way to get you started, with the help of a green jumper. Move this from pin 1-2 to pin 2-3 and a green LED on the graphics card magically turns red to let you know what you’ve done.
Now the card is running in Turbo mode which clocks it up from a default speed of 325MHz core and 200MHz DDR for the memory (effectively 400MHz) to a fairly impressive overclock of 405MHz core and 256MHz memory (effectively 512MHz). The memory can however be pushed further, but with 4ns memory you’re still limited with regards to how far it will overclock. Interestingly though, most Radeon X300 SE cards have a 64bit memory interface, but Abit has fitted a 128bit memory bus, which should make this a fair bit faster than its competitors.