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MSI RX1650XT-T2D256EZ Review

Date: 2006-11-30

   ATI's Mid-range SaviourATI's recent attempt to rehabilitate its graphics lineup is almost done. The high-end has been bolstered with the Radeon X1950 XT and PRO while the low end has the Radeon...

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ATI's Mid-range Saviour

ATI's recent attempt to rehabilitate its graphics lineup is almost done. The high-end has been bolstered with the Radeon X1950 XT and PRO while the low end has the Radeon X1300 XT. It is in the mid-range that ATI still looks vulnerable. The Radeon X1650 PRO was the quick answer but it has failed to generate any sort of excitement, which is not surprising given that it inherits the mediocre genes of the Radeon X1600 XT. ATI probably knows this too but was just bidding its time for its new 80nm cores. The result has come to fruition recently and it's none other than the predictably named Radeon X1650 XT.

ATI's practice of using disabled versions of more powerful cores continues for this new product as the Radeon X1650 XT technically has the same 80nm RV570 core as the Radeon X1950 PRO. However, part of it has been disabled or perhaps these were chips that were just not up to the mark. That still leaves it with a respectable number: 24 pixel and 8 vertex shaders. It also gives ATI an excuse to brand it as a 'new' core known as the RV560. Compared to the original core on the Radeon X1950 PRO, the core on the Radeon X1650 XT may have 8 pixel shaders less but retains a similar clock of 575MHz. The memory is also quite fast at 1350MHz DDR so beyond its internal core handicap, the clocks on the Radeon X1650 XT is almost exactly like the Radeon X1950 PRO.

How then would this new entry to the mid-range fare against NVIDIA's dominant GeForce 7600 GT? The potential is evidently there in the core, though the memory bus has been limited to 128 bits wide, like the Radeon X1600 series and the GeForce 7600 GT. This means a much lower memory throughput than the Radeon X1950 PRO and will probably limit the Radeon X1650 XT in terms of high resolutions and eye candy settings. Anyway, it's time to stop the speculation and look at the hardware proper:

MSI RX1650XT-T2D256EZ Review
MSI's Radeon X1650 XT comes with a custom heat pipe based passive cooler and as a bonus, a copy of the recently released Heroes of Might & Magic V.

MSI RX1650XT-T2D256EZ Technical Specifications
  • ATI Radeon X1650 GPU(RV560)
  • 330 milliontransistors on 80nm fabrication process
  • Core Clock: 575MHz
  • 24 pixel shaderprocessors
  • 8 vertex shaderprocessors
  • Ring Bus MemoryController
    • 256-bit internalring bus for memory reads
    • Programmableintelligent arbitration logic
    • Fully associativetexture, color, and Z/stencil cachedesigns
    • HierarchicalZ-buffer with Early Z test
    • Lossless ZCompression (up to 48:1)
    • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
    • Z/stencil cacheoptimized for real-time shadow rendering
  • Ultra-Threaded ShaderEngine
    • Support forMicrosoft?DirectX?9.0 Shader Model3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
    • Full speed 128-bitfloating point processing for allshader operations
    • Up to 128simultaneous pixel threads
    • Dedicated branchexecution units for high performancedynamic branching and flow control
    • Dedicated textureaddress unitsfor improved efficiency
    • 3Dc+ texturecompression
      • Highquality 4:1 compression for normalmaps and two-channel data formats
      • Highquality 2:1 compression for luminancemaps and single-channel data formats
    • Multiple RenderTarget (MRT) support
    • Render to vertexbuffer support
    • Complete featureset also supported in OpenGL?2.0
  • Advanced Image QualityFeatures
    • 64-bit floatingpoint HDR rendering supported throughoutthe pipeline
      • Includessupport for blending andmulti-sample anti-aliasing
    • 32-bit integer HDR(10:10:10:2) format supportedthroughout the pipeline
      • Includessupport for blending andmulti-sample anti-aliasing
    • 2x/4x/6xAnti-Aliasing modes
      • Multi-samplealgorithm with gammacorrection, programmable sparse sample patterns, and centroid sampling
      • NewAdaptive Anti-Aliasing feature withPerformance and Quality modes
      • TemporalAnti-Aliasing mode
      • LosslessColor Compression (up to 6:1) atall resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
    • 2x/4x/8x/16xAnisotropic Filtering modes
      • Upto 128-tap texture filtering
      • Adaptivealgorithm with Performance andQuality options
    • High resolutiontexture support (up to 4k x 4k)
  • Flexibledisplay support
    • Programmablepiecewise linear gamma correction, colorcorrection, and color space conversion (10 bits per color)
    • Complete,independent color controls and video overlaysfor each display
    • High quality pre-and post-scaling engines, withunderscan support for all outputs
    • Content-adaptivede-flicker filtering for interlaceddisplays
    • Xilleon?TV encoder for high quality analog output
    • YPrPb componentoutput for direct drive of HDTV displays
    • Spatial/temporaldithering enables 10-bit color qualityon 8-bit and 6-bit displays
    • Fast, glitch-freemode switching
    • VGA mode support onall outputs
    • Drive two displayssimultaneously with independentresolutions and refresh rates
  • 128-bit 4-channelGDDR2/GDDR3 memory interface
  • 256MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Clock = 1350MHzDDR
  • Dualintegrated dual-link DVI transmitters
    • DVI 1.0 compliant /HDMI interoperable
  • Dualintegrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
I/O FaceplateConnectors
  • 2 x DVI-I connectors
  • 1 x mini-DIN connector
Drivers &Software
  • Driver support forWindows 98 / Me / 2000 / XP
  • Heroes of Might & Magic V
Other Information
  • Internal CrossFireReady
  • DynamicVoltage Control
  • Atleast 450W PSU recommended
  • NativePCI Express x16 bus interface

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