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Mid-Range Graphics Card Warfare - AMD vs. nVidia (Q4 2006)

By: Shawn Baker | Editorials in Video Cards | Posted: Dec 27, 2006 5:00 am

Radeon X1650XT

 

We haven't had a chance to have a look at the Radeon X1650XT before but we thought this was the perfect time to get one ready. With pricing sitting around the $230 AUD and moving upwards, it tells us that it is sitting at the entry level part of the mid-range sector.

 

 

The Radeon X1650XT we have here today is from PowerColor, sports 256MB of DDR-2 memory and has a core clock of 600MHz and a memory clock of 1.4GHz DDR. HDCP is supported on this particular model through the DVI port (no HDMI here) and PowerColor have also announced that it is now available in both the standard PCI Express variant (like we have here) and AGP which is good news for people with old systems who are stuck with old graphics cards.

 

One of the most major features included on the new Radeon X1650XT is the integration of the new internal bridge system for people who want to run dual graphic card setups. ATI (now AMD) have always copped a lot of flack with the original Crossfire method but it's good to see that they have got it all under control these days - it's really about time, to be honest.

 

The main competition at the moment for the Radeon X1650XT is the GeForce 7600GT which is slightly cheaper. With nVidia establishing themselves so strongly in the mid-range market thanks to the old GeForce 6600GT a few years back, it's really going to be a tough fight for AMD.

 

Radeon X1950PRO

 

As far as the Radeon X1950PRO goes, people who read our content regularly will know that we are not a huge fan of it but if there was any to buy, it would probably be the one we're looking at today from Gigabyte with the integration of the Zalman heatsink fan. It's the best we've looked at so far but there are others on the market with non-standard cooling which deserve attention also.

 

Getting one under $350 AUD isn't going to be a problem though if that is stretching your budget, you're going to be able to find the PowerColor X1950PRO with Arctic cooling for under $300 AUD. With it costing closer to a $100 price difference between the Radeon X1650XT, it's clear that they are for two different market segments. You have the people who can tip just over $200 and those that can reach higher and come in closer to $300.

 

 

Core and memory sit both slightly lower than the Radeon X1650XT though thanks to the increased pipelines, remember it is a faster card overall. The core comes in at 575MHz and the memory 1380MHz DDR. One of the biggest gripes with the X1950PRO is the fact that it is a poor overclocker. The good news though for fans of the X1950PRO is that it's going to be making its way to AGP. While we did expect to see them this year, it looks as if there is going to be a slight delay with them showing up in the middle of January 2007.

 

Like the Radeon X1650XT we also have the new Crossfire bridge system but the Radeon X1950PRO was actually the first to use it. This gets rid of the need to be using a master card and annoying external cables - now all you need is a couple X1950PRO's, bridges and a Crossfire capable motherboard and away you go.

 

There are officially two variants of the Radeon X1950PRO - 256MB and 512MB, although the 512MB is quite expensive and sits closer to the GeForce 7950GT in price, and unfortunately it gets beat a lot when compared to this nVidia offering. On the other end is the 256MB which sits cheaper but is still more expensive then the GeForce 7900GS. What has always let the 7900GS stand out though is its overclocking. We won't be going into that today as we have seen the X1950PRO overclocked along with the 7900GS. What we want to see here is out of the box performance and straight out bang for buck.

XFX GeForce 7900 GS, (256 MB) PCI Express Graphic Card

 

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