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Conclusion

The MSI R3650-T2D512-OC is an odd product really. First of all, it is surely not meant for serious gaming. We mean playing modern 3D games at high graphics quality settings and display resolutions of 1280x1024 and higher. Moreover, the ATI Radeon HD 3650 is slower than the Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4.

The single game where the MSI R3650-T2D512-OC provides a really comfortable speed is Unreal Tournament 3. In Half-Life 2: Episode Two and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion this card may slow down to below comfortable level in the heaviest scenes. MSI’s factory overclocking does not bring a significant effect because it only added 25MHz to the core clock rate.

This card can hardly be viewed as an optimal choice for a multimedia center with HD video support. The kit lacks a DVI-I → HDMI adapter although HDMI is the main standard for digital home entertainment today. There is also no software for HD video playback but we didn’t actually expect to find it included with a $100 graphics card. In other words, you have to invest some more money in order to use the MSI R3650-T2D512-OC in your multimedia system. The product has a few positive features, though. It can start up newest games, has low power consumption (hardly over 40W in 3D mode) and a silent cooler.

Generally speaking, the ATI Radeon HD 3650 is a variation of the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with certain architectural improvements but it is unclear why the developer decided to lower the clock rates. The Radeon HD 2600 XT was not fast even with GDDR4 memory and the ATI Radeon HD 3650 turns out to be even slower. Yes, it costs a mere $99 (for the GDDR3 version) but we don’t see a proper application for it. This card cannot interest gamers and seems to be targeted at the multimedia market where its popularity will depend on the accessories included with it by the particular graphics card vendor.

MSI R3650-T2D512-OC Summary

Highs:

  • Higher than the reference GPU frequency
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering;
  • Hardware HD video decoding and post-processing support;
  • DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.1 support;
  • 512MB of fast GDDR3 graphics memory;
  • Integrated sound core with HDMI support;
  • Low power consumption and heat dissipation;
  • Noiseless cooling system;
  • Pretty good overclocking potential;
  • Compact size;
  • No compatibility problems;
  • Fully-fledged CrossFireX support;
  • Low price.

Lows:

  • Low gaming performance: yields to ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4;
  • Scarce accessories bundle: no DVI-I → HDMI adapter and software for HD content playback.
 
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