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Conclusion

Following the successful RV570, the RV560 graphics processor has made a good debut and the RV560-based ATI Radeon X1650 XT graphics card has done well in real-life tests. The new card offer much higher performance in comparison with the Radeon X1600 XT, which is now called Radeon X1650 Pro, and is quite competitive against the GeForce 7600 GT and sometimes even against the more technically advanced GeForce 7900 GS. There are few cases when the Radeon X1650 XT is far slower than the GeForce 7600 GT. It is such games as Call of Duty 2, Hitman: Blood Money, Tomb Raider: Legend, and Pacific Fighters . And as a rule, both solutions are too slow in these games to prove a comfortable gameplay.

Alas, today’s 3D games are generally extremely demanding to be run at an acceptable speed on mainstream graphics cards at resolutions higher than 1280x1024 and with the maximum graphics quality settings. There’s no talking about full-screen antialiasing, of course. We’ve only got acceptable or near-acceptable results in the 4x FSAA + 16x Aniso mode in such games as Far Cry , Half-Life 2: Episode One and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory . So, the optimal choice for mainstream-class graphics cards seems to be resolutions below 1280x1024 (or below 1600x1200 in some cases) coupled with anisotropic filtering. Today’s graphics cards can perform such filtering without losing much in speed whereas it can considerably improve the image quality. The ATI Radeon X1650 XT has an advantage over the GeForce 7600 GT in this respect as it supports High Quality AF mode which provides high-quality anisotropic filtering irrespective of the texture’s angle of inclination.

The ATI Radeon X1650 XT is good from a technical point of view. It is small, consumes little power, dissipates a decent amount of heat, and uses a simple cooler. The defect of the Radeon X1600 XT – the fan speed management system worked incorrectly, producing too much noise – is now removed and the new Radeon is rather quiet. We should acknowledge that the Radeon X1650 consumes more power than the GeForce 7600 GT. The new GPUs from AMD don’t break any records in this area, despite the use of 0.08-micron tech process.

The design of the Radeon X1650 XT is simpler in comparison with the Radeon X1800 GTO, so we can expect the new card to become even cheaper eventually. Although the GeForce 7600 GT has been long on the market, the Radeon X1650 XT still has a chance to win customers. Today, this solution is the best offer indeed in the mainstream graphic card class.

Highs:

  • High performance for its class
  • Faster than its Nvidia opponent in most of our gaming tests
  • 24 pixel processors provide some reserve for future applications
  • Supports FSAA and FP16 HDR simultaneously
  • Support for hardware decoding of H.264 and other HD video formats
  • Compact size
  • Low noise level
  • Hardware CrossFire support thanks to the integrated Compositing Engine

Lows:

  • Relatively high power consumption
 
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