PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition

PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition

Written by John Yan on 4/3/2006 for PC  

We seem to be getting a lot of mid range cards here at Gaming Nexus and while it’s great to have the most powerful card out there to test, the mid range area shouldn’t be overlooked. PowerColor is one company we have never tested and this will be the first card from them that we have on board today. PowerColor is an ATI solutions provider and today we’re going to look at their X1600 offering.

 

 

The PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition is based on the RV530 chip. The card sports core clocked at 600MHz with the memory clocked at 700MHz DDR. There are 12 pixel pipelines and 4 TMUs. Like all current ATI solutions, this card is Crossfire ready so if you want to potentially double your graphics power at a modest price, you can tag another one of these bad boys on a Crossfire board. This is the most powerful of the X1600 line with the pro coming in at a slower 500MHz core and 400MHz memory speed. The card has 256MB of memory, which should be enough for a mid range card.

Packaged in a grey box with a female standing in front of a robot on the front, the card is the traditional red PCB with a PowerColor branded black heatsink and fan combination. The cover for the cooling system is a clear plastic piece so you can peer underneath.  There isn’t a need for an external power supply as the PCI Express port puts out enough juice to power this card. Other than the PowerColor logo in the center, the card’s look is pretty standard for ATI cards.

On the bracket are two DVI outputs. If you have two digital LCD monitors, this is a nice option as you won’t be hunting for a converter to plug your card into. Included with the card an S-Video cable, VIVO connectors, component connectors, and a DVI->VGA adapter. My package didn’t come with a game but there seems to be other packages of that do include one. The only game included in the bundle is one I’ve never played in Pacific Fighters so I can’t tell you if it’s any good or not.  The game has a 78% average on Game Rankings so it shouldn’t be too bad. All in all, the bundle you get is on the light side but you still get the cables you’ll need to input or output video to and from the card. The regular X1600 XT from PowerColor does not come with the same amount of IO cables.

A quick search on PriceGrabber yielded a $169 price tag from one vendor: NewEgg.Com.  For near the same price, say $30 less, you can also grab a GeForce 6600 GT which is what we are comparing to today. We don’t have a 6800GS on board to test as that’s also close to this card’s price point as well.

Our test setup included:

  • AMD64 3800+
  • 512MB PC3200 RAM
  • ECS KA1 MVP Crossfire motherboard
  • Windows XP w/ Service Pack 2
  • Maxtor 120 GIG 7200RPM HDD


3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. We tested at the standard 1280x1024 resolution.




iD Software's DOOM 3 offers great visuals and great detail. John Carmack's follow up to a classic series takes the game to a new level with a re-imagination of classic monsters such as the Imp and Pinky demon. For the test, we ran the benchmark at maximum detail and used a demo that was included in the game.
Doom 3 1024x768
Doom 3 1280x1024
Doom 3 1600x1024

Far Cry
Far Cry is Crytek's shooter that's set mainly outdoors. The lush foliage and long draw distance really set this first person shooter apart from many that were coming out a few years ago. All details were set at maximum for the benchmark.

Far Cry 1024x768
Far Cry 1280x1024
Far Cry 1600x1200
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 2 is a sequel to one of my favorite shooters of all time. Infinity Ward has really pushed the PC hardware with the new engine that powers the game. The incredible smoke effects and detailed models makes Call of Duty 2 a visually impressive game. Benchmarks were done with all settings set to maximum and forcing DirectX 9. A custom recorded demo that we recorded was used to benchmark the game.

Call of Duty 2 1204x768
Call of Duty 2 1280x1024
Call of Duty 2 1600x1200

FEAR
If there's one game that really suprised me it was F.E.A.R. The Monolith horror shooter features some of the most impressive graphics on the PC. There are plenty of physics and particle effects and the models are really detailed. We used the built in performance test and all the settings were set to maximum.
FEAR 1024x768
FEAR 1280x960
FEAR 1600x1280
We ran two products, F.E.A.R. and Doom 3, in our image improvement testing phase. With the two games, we ran the card at both 4xAA 8xAF and 6xAA 16xAF. Below are the two games in various resolutions.
Doom 3 4xAA 8xAF
Doom 3 6xaa 16xaf
FEAR 4xaa 8xaf
FEAR 6xaa 16xaf
The card is slower than the older GeForce 6600 GT in Doom 3 but is well ahead on all the other games tested. For games utilizing the Doom 3 engine, you might want to consider the NVIDIA brand if that's all you play. For all the other games tested though, the Raden X1600 XT does come out ahead in all aspects. At around $30 more, you do get a little more powerful card but there's another added value as well. If you like to watch H.264 videos or do some video conversion, ATI's got some new drivers and utilities that only work with the X1XXX series, which this card is a part of. You'll be able to take advantage of hardware assisted decoding of H.264 video as well as use ATI's very easy video conversion tool. AVIVO does make this card a very good buy for those that want to use in both gaming and multimedia.

The PowerColor Raden X1600 XT Bravo Edition ran pretty well throughout the tests. There weren't any image artifacts nor were there any lockups when performing the tests. I also ran the card on a 24 hour 3DMark06 loop test and the card passed without any problems.  This is my first card from the company and the card gave me no problems at all. If you're an ATI fan and are interested in a good card without breaking the bank, the PowerColor Radeon X1600 XT Bravo Edition should be on your list of cards to consider.
The card's a good mid-range card that was solid and stable. While Powercolor's bundle wasn't anything to write home about, the card stood up to the tests well.

Rating: 8.3 Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition PowerColor X1600 XT Bravo Edition

About Author

I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.

I'm  married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.





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