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RADEON X1300 PRO 256MB – the most powerful entry-level product from ATI’s new breed of graphics chips – demonstrated serious potential in synthetic tests when it came to pixel shaders (for details please see our article called ATI RADEON X1000: Brand-New Graphics Architecture from ATI Explored ), but ignited doubts about possibility for the part to compete against others in real games due to pretty moderate results in tests that rely on geometry and vertex shaders: while the part has 4 pixel processors, it only sported 2 vertex processors, the same amount as in previous generation entry-level family RADEON X300.

The RADEON X1300-series of products will replace the X300 lineup in the entry-level market and will bring users a bit higher speed, Shader Model 3.0, Avivo video engine and some other improvements. However, the mission of the RADEON X1300 is not only to offer a decent alternate to the RADEON X300, but also solidify ATI’s positions in the segment, where NVIDIA pushes pretty hard. Let us examine whether the RADEON X1300, or code-named RV515, is capable of doing so.

But before we proceed, we’ll bring you architectural highlights concerning the new part from ATI:

  • ATI RADEON X1300 PRO can perform nearly as good or better compared to the RADEON X700, which has twice the number of pixel processors at 400MHz frequency in synthetic tests that measure performance in simple pixel shaders. Longer shaders show ambiguous results: some tend to run pretty fast and some perform even slower compared to the GeForce 6600 (click here for details). Of course, the RADEON X1300 has a significant advantage in pixel shaders 3.0 performance due to its branch execution engine .
  • Even though the RADEON X1300 PRO has only two vertex processors, it proved to be a decent performer in geometry tests: it was constantly outperforming NVIDIA’s GeForce 6600 and in a couple of cases left behind a more powerful RADEON X700 (click here for details).
  • Texturing speed of the RADEON X1300 PRO seems to be inline with the RADEON X700 and the GeForce 6600 (click here for details).
  • ATI has managed to clock the RADEON X1300 PRO at 600MHz, nearly two times higher compared to the RADEON X300. This was possible due to 90nm process technology, but we should not forget that other models from the X1300 lineup are only clocked at 450MHz.
  • Just like in the case of the more advanced RADEON X1800- and X1600-series, ATI implemented Ultra-Threading Dispatch Processor that distributes pixel shader workload among the pixel processors and makes efficient use of pixel processors’ arithmetic logic units (ALUs). ATI says that this architecture helps to achieve a 90% efficiency of the pixel processors on any shader.
  • The RADEON X1300 does not support Ring Bus memory architecture as well as programmable memory requests arbiter, it uses other techniques intended to improve the memory bandwidth of the RADEON X1000 family, such as fully associative cache as well as improved HyperZ technology.
  • Due to thinner process technology, the RADEON X1600 XT only consumes about 30W , which is pretty low for today.
  • Just like the more powerful brethren, the X1300-series can render images in HDR modes and apply FSAA to them (it is unlikely that the mode will be useful though), has improved quality anisotropic filtering and also features Avivo , a video processor featuring hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding, a codec used on next-generation DVD discs, as well as improved video quality.
 
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