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Club 3D X1900 XTX

Club 3D gained my immediate respect by offering a box that didn't have a ridiculous over-the-top gaming character all over it like most companies insist on. There is one the front but it’s subtly faded into the background. The interior of the box is also impressive with the card located in a polystyrene cut out that will ensure it stays firmly packaged in transit. There are also two spaces for two DVI to VGA dongles. According to ATI's recommendation, a single XTX requires power from a 450 Watt power supply with 30A on a 12V rail via a 6-pin PCI Express power connector. Club 3D provides a twin Molex to 6-pin converter in case your power supply is beefy enough but doesn’t have the PCI Express connector.

A dongle is provided that contains composite and S-Video inputs and outputs, making the X1900 VIVO compatible. S-Video and composite cables are also provided along with a Component video adaptor.

One issue I have is that Club 3D has decided to stick the official ‘HD Ready’ logo on the box, which to my mind falls firmly under the category of bogus marketing. Firstly, HD Ready is a certification that applies to displays, not output devices. It also implies HDCP compliance. While the R580 GPU is HDCP compliant it still requires an external chip, which is absolutely not present on current X1900 cards. While we’ve yet to actually get hold of any HDCP protected content to test with, our understanding is that without HDCP nothing will appear on the screen, or it will be downscaled from HD to SD quality. Therefore, Club 3D seems to be somewhat trigger happy with its use of logos.

The highlight of the software bundle is Colin McRae 2006, assuming you like that sort of game, and a title called WWF Panda Junior in Africa. That’s World Wildlife fund rather than World Wrestling Federation. If that seems like an odd inclusion for a £400 graphics card, it is, but that’s because Club 3D give all the money from its software bundle to charity. Awww. The other CDs are the driver CD and one containing a suite of Cyberlink applications, including PowerDVD 5. This is one of those install CDs that require a serial number that's only printed on the CD itself, so you have to take the CD out of the drive to get to it. Genius.

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