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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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It won't be the first or last time that we are mentioning this: ATI's revamp is perhaps a bit too late to change the fortunes of the company. Although its products are finally competitive in performance and price for all except the highest end segment, the changes will have limited impact, given that the present generation of graphics is already in its sunset phase. NVIDIA has a head start with the first DirectX 10 graphics cards due to the GeForce 8 series and that could be the first mover advantage it needs to consolidate its growing dominance in the market.

In fact, the benefits of ATI's revamped cards could actually be seen in its next generation R600 core and in a rather indirect fashion through ATI gaining more experience with 80nm cores via the recent Radeon X1950 PRO and Radeon X1650 XT. That experience could be valuable in getting the 80nm R600 out on schedule (which rumored to be early next year).

Power Color Radeon X1650 XT Review
While a slight overclock does give the PowerColor the edge over the competition, it is not that terribly exciting. Still, it looks like a decent mid-range alternative to the many GeForce 7600 GT cards out there.

With a retail price of around S$229 (US$148), the PowerColor Radeon X1650 XT goes for the jugular of the GeForce 7600 GT. This price comes at the expense of a more fulfilling bundle but for many, that is hardly the most important factor. Thanks to its slight overclocking, the PowerColor easily pulls away from other Radeon X1650 XT cards such as the MSI, though the margin is not necessarily significant in most games. Also, the mild overclocking does help the PowerColor have more of a lead against the standard GeForce 7600 GT, its main competitor.

No holds barred overclocking however is where the PowerColor falters against the NVIDIA competition, like some of ATI's revamped products e.g. the Radeon X1950 PRO. The inherent thermal advantage possessed by NVIDIA's architecture is still more telling than ATI's 80nm cores so the GeForce 7600 GT should easily have more overclocking tolerance. With the already close benchmark scores, it's not too hard to imagine the GeForce 7600 GT retaining the edge when overclocked. However, it does allow ATI to stand on somewhat equal terms based on stock performance. So for those who have been longing for an ATI counter to the growing green tide, the PowerColor Radeon X1650 XT looks to be a decently priced and competent card to balance the 'force' against the green team's GeForce 7600 GT.

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