Sapphire X1600 PRO HDMI
Our third card in the review is the X1600 PRO HDMI from Sapphire. This unit sports an ATI RADEON X1600 VPU, 256MB of GDDR3 graphics memory and is CrossFire ready.
It has three interfaces - S/PDIF-in, HDMI and RGB. In this sense it's a true HDMI media card, supporting HDMI video and audio streaming and HDCP compliant. The GDDR3 memory also gives it a slight edge as a gaming card, even though it's not specifically geared towards gaming - it will still produce smooth in-game performance.
Like the GeCube X1300, the X1600 PRO is a low-rise card. The default mounting bracket is standard-rise, but the card comes with two low-rise brackets, which allow you to mount the card with the S/PDIF-in interface next to it in its own bracket, effectively becoming a double-width unit. The S/PDIF-in interface is only necessary if you're using the computer's external S/PDIF-out port to pass through digital audio for HDMI audio streaming. Otherwise, disconnect the S/PDIF-in port entirely and use the internal onboard connector.
The card comes bundled with a HDMI-to-HDMI connector, an internal S/PDIF cable, user manual, driver CD, Cyberlink PowerDVD 6.0 and a Sapphire Select DVD with one free game from a choice of four - Brothers In Arms, Prince of Persia Warrior Within, Richard Burns Rally or Tony Hawks Underground 2. This makes this card the most complete bundle of the three.
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