Sapphire Radeon X1650 Pro

Review

posted 10/17/2006 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
ATI recently offered up some new low and mid range cards for consumers and we have one of them here today. Sapphire has sent us a Radeon X1650 Pro to take a look at and we'll see if it's a good lower mid range offering. Does it stand up to their budget Radeon X1300 XT Overclock Edition? How does it fare with a similar priced NVIDIA 7600 GT card? Let's take a look.

Radeon X1650 Pro

The Radeon X1650 Pro card consists of the RV535 GPU running at 600MHz. 256MB of memory with the speed at 1400MHz DDR is onboard. Like all of the other 1K line of VPUs from ATI, support for Pixel Shader 3.0 and Vertex Shader 3.0 is in there. 4 Render Output Pipelines with 3 pixel shader units on each ROP along with 4 total TMUs round out the video card architecture. If all this sounds familiar it should as this is exactly the same configuration as the Radeon X1600 XT but with a minor increase on clock speed. The Radeon X1600 XT ran at 590MHz GPU and 1380MHz DDR for the memory so it's a negligible increase. ATI really just rebranded the Radeon X1600 XT and put some minor clock increases into it. It's not a new practice but one that is a little annoying to me. If you're going to put out product with a new name, atleast do more than market the card without some good improvements. Even so, I can understand the business decision to try and move some cards under a different name until your next generation comes out.

Physically, the card features a blue PCB rather than the usual red ones that ATI cards come in. The heatsink and fan cover up most of the front of the card. There's no external power connector here as the PCI-E slot supplies all the juice the card needs. It's also a small sized card lengthwise so you should be able to put this product into most cases even those with little room for expansion cards.

On the bracket, the card has a connection for a pigtail and dual DVI-link connectors for two digital connections. You'll be able to hook this card up to two monitors with digital connections. For connecting to TVs, there's one connection for the included pigtail.

The bundle is pretty light for this setup as it doesn't include Sapphire's nice Sapphire Select DVD where you can choose a few games to keep. Instead, you get one copy of The Da Vinci Code, which isn't a very highly rated game in itself. Other than that you get a Cyberlink DVD software and the Sapphire driver disk. Two DVI to VGA connectors do come with the card along with a pigtail featuring component outs as well as a composite cable and converter in case you want to connect the card to a TV that has the old connection.

Since the latest Catalyst 6.8 drivers don't support this card, we use the included driver disk to run the tests. I usually like to use the ATI's drivers when doing tests but as of this writing, I wasn't able to. To test, we'll put it up against a NVIDIA 7600 GT card that's in the same price range and Sapphire's own X1300 XT Overclock Edition that's about $30 cheaper. 91.47 drivers were used with the NVIDIA card.
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