Volari 8300 is the newest entry-level graphics chip from XGI. It is always good to see another company besides ATI and NVIDIA doing something. The reference board we’ve got from XGI had 128 MB on-board memory and a 64-bit memory interface, competing with Radeon X300 SE HyperMemory and with the 64-bit 64 MB version of GeForce 6200 TurboCache. XGI’s chip, however, has a built-in MPEG-2 decoder and video enhancer, i.e., with this video card DVD decoding is done by the video card and not by the system CPU, which can be a tremendous feature for entry-level multimedia PCs. GeForce 6200 also has this feature, but you need to buy a decoder software from NVIDIA that costs between USD 19.95 and USD 49.95, depending on the version (you can use it for free during the first 30 days). Radeon X300 doesn’t have this feature at all, while the new Radeon X1300 series has it.
If you are interested in knowing more about this subject, please read our tutorial Enabling 2D Enhancements on GeForce Series 6 and 7.
Volari 8300 runs at 300 MHz with its memory running at 600 MHz using a 64-bit interface, just like Radeon X300 SE HyperMemory and some GeForce 6200 TurboCache (there are boards from this series with 32-bit memory interface). It graphics engine is DirectX 9.0, supporting Shader 2.0, so it is similar to Radeon X300, as both GeForce 6200 and Radeon X1300 are based on Shader 3.0, i.e., DirectX 9.0c. In our tests, however, this video card didn’t support antialising. According to XGI, this feature was not implemented because of the market this product is targeted (very entry-level) and to reduce its price.
Talking about pricing, XGI suggested price for this product is only USD 49.95, below the current market price for both Radeon X300 SE HyperMemory and GeForce 6200 TurboCache.
You can see in our tutorial “NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table” the difference between Volari 8300 chip and its competitors from NVIDIA, while on our tutorial “ATI Chips Comparison Table” you can compare it to its competitors from ATI.
Let’s now take a closer look at the reference board for Volari 8300 from XGI.