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Power Color Radeon X1650 XT Review

Date: 2006-12-19

   IntroductionThe oft quoted saying - 'There are lies, damn lies and statistics' is commonly used to argue against the use of statistics. Yet it is true that we now live in a number crunching soc...

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The PowerColor Radeon X1650 XT 256MB

To sum up quickly what's so special about the Radeon X1650 XT, it is based on ATI's new 80nm cores and is basically a crippled version of the same core found in the higher end Radeon X1950 PRO. Pipelines have been disabled as usual to limit the performance and the card also comes with ATI's Internal CrossFire support, which feels very much like NVIDIA's implementation of SLI from a physical point of view.

Power Color Radeon X1650 XT Review
The Radeon X1650 XT has a short PCB, with a small and compact cooler that doesn't quite cool the memory chips directly.

Now what's so special about the PowerColor Radeon X1650 XT then? For one, it comes slightly overclocked, with the core clock upgraded from 575MHz to 595MHz. The 1.4ns memory modules have been clocked up from the standard 1350MHz to 1390MHz DDR. It is not that much of a boost on paper and in most applications and games, a couple of frames at most. However, if the price is reasonable and competitive, we aren't complaining about the mild dose of overclocking.

Power Color Radeon X1650 XT Review
The cooler may have a relatively small footprint but it is thick and the height brings this PowerColor over the single slot limit.

We did have to wonder if the overclock is in any way responsible for the incongruously compact yet tall heatsink used by PowerColor. It may not cover a lot of the PCB but its height ensured that the PowerColor exceeded the dimensions of a single slot card slightly. That seemed quite pointless to us, especially since our previous experience with a Radeon X1650 XT was with the passively cooled MSI RX1650XT-T2D256EZ. The Radeon X1650 XT is not that much of a 'hot' graphics card that it needed extreme cooling. To be fair, it was hardly making much noise so to some consumers, it is probably as good as a silent cooler.

Power Color Radeon X1650 XT Review
No HDCP support for these ports, though they are dual-link DVI outputs.

Never known for its bundled accessories or software, PowerColor did seem to be doing some cost savings here, especially with the minimal accessories. Perhaps that may shave off a bit of the retail price but if you are looking for lots of software, expect to find only PowerColor's usual CyberLink applications DVD, which might be a sufficient enough software for some of you. To sum up the bundle, below are the items found in the thin cardboard box:

  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 9-pin mini DIN to Composite dongle
  • Quick Installation guide
  • Driver CD
  • CyberLink DVD Solution (including PowerDVD, PowerProducer, Power2Go, PowerDirector, etc)

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