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The Radeon X1950 Pro graphics card, based on ATI’s new RV570 chip announced on October 17, 2006, and described in our review , deservedly earned the title of the best product in the $199 category. It boasted excellent performance for its class in nearly every one of our tests.

But AMD didn’t limit its counter-offensive to one market sector and introduced a cheaper solution in a price range of below $199. To issue this solution they announced the less advanced RV560 chip. As you know, this price category had been dominated by Nvidia’s GeForce 7600 series. The RV530-based ATI Radeon X1600 XT was unable to make a worthy opponent despite its 12 pixel shader processors. Its performance was severely limited by its having only 4 TMUs and ROPs. ATI had to compromise eventually, releasing the Radeon X1800 GTO. That solution was indeed competitive, but also exceedingly complex and temporary due to limited quantities of R520 chips.

Thus, the introduction of the RV560 for the below-$199 segment was just as urgent as the release of the more advanced RV570 for the performance-mainstream category. AMD needed a graphics processor that would successfully compete with the GeForce 7600/7900 series while being as simple and economical as Nvidia’s products. On October 30, 2006, the RV560 was announced officially and the company disclosed the RV560-based Radeon X1650 XT graphics card. The recommended price of the new product was set at $149 which made it a direct market opponent to the GeForce 7600 GT.

To make AMD’s mainstream graphics card line-up consistent, the ATI Radeon X1600 XT was renamed as ATI Radeon X1650 Pro. Now you have to be watchful while shopping: it is only the XT-suffixed model in the Radeon X1650 series that uses the new RV560 chip. The Pro model is based on the slower RV530.

The Radeon X1650 XT seems competitive in terms of price, but is it such in terms of speed? Let’s consider the specifications of the new RV560 chip.

 
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