Introduction

A few weeks ago brought the release of ATI's new Radeon X1950 Pro, a GPU designed to replace the X1900 GT and to improve CrossFire operation over its ATI predecessors. It would seem ATI is releasing lots of new products as the holidays come nearer, which isn't that surprising considering the heated competition between card makers that we always see during this time of year. The recent merger between ATI and AMD will make things even more interesting, and we are already seeing some changes over where ATI used to be (particularly with the new ATI/AMD website). We're curious to see what this merger will mean for ATI in the coming months.

We recently looked at the X1950 Pro, and we found it to be a good competitor to the NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS, assuming the price is right. From what we've seen so far though, the price for the X1950 Pro isn't where it should be, and this looks like a bit of a problem for ATI and their potential buyers right now. We aren't seeing many of these cards for sale right now, but those that are available are selling for much higher than the $200 target price ATI mentioned at the card's release. This makes us wonder what we will be seeing in the near future, price wise, for the next card from ATI: the newly launched Radeon X1650 XT.

Yes, ATI has just launched the newest member of the X1650 family, and it looks to offer good performance competition for NVIDIA's GeForce 7600 GT. However, with the X1650 XT, ATI has one strike against it right off the bat. ATI has said that these parts will not be available for purchase until sometime in mid-November, which means we have on our hands another frustrating paper launch. We were glad to see the X1950 Pro launched with parts immediately available (even if they were $100 more expensive than expected), and considering the X1650 Pro and X1300 XT paper launched a while back, we were hoping ATI might have turned a new leaf in this regard; but it seems this isn't the case.

The second strike ATI might have against it is something we mentioned earlier: the price. The X1650 XT is priced by ATI at $150, and although ATI enabled vendors to offer the card at this price, we aren't sure if this is what we will be seeing. In the past, prices for launched GPUs have been fairly close to ATI's suggested mark, but what we have been seeing with the X1950 Pro lately has us a little worried about the X1650 XT. We can speculate that with AMD buying out ATI, on top of the fact that the holiday season is coming up fast, things are a little hectic for ATI. This could account for some of these price and availability issues for their parts.

That said, the point here is to take a look at a different card, the ATI Radeon X1650 XT, and give you our first impressions. We plan to look at the actual card and its features, as well as how it performs as a single GPU, then with two cards in CrossFire mode. We are also going to look at power consumption, and perhaps most importantly, how does the card compare with others available now and what's it worth to the average buyer. Our initial impressions of the X1650 XT and its performance aren't bad at all (provided manufacturers can hit the $150 target), but we'll delve into this later. For now, let's look at the card.

The Card
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  • guidryp - Thursday, November 02, 2006 - link

    They spec like this:

    1650XT: 8 vertex Pipes, 24 pixel pipes, 8 Raster pipes, 575MHz, Mem 675MHz X 128 bus.
    7600GT: 5 vertex Pipes, 12 pixel pipes, 8 Raster pipes 560MHz, Mem 700MHz X 128 bus.

    And the ATI card barely holds it's own? I was expecting a walkaway after reading the specs.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Saturday, November 04, 2006 - link

    It should be 24 Pixel Shaders vs 12 Pixel Shaders.

    while both have 8 ROP's, it is probably the X1650 XT only has 8 TMU while the 7600 GT has 12 as both are half their flagship derivatives. Ignore vertex amounts those tpyically aren't half and don't contribute to much on the most part to performance it seems anyway.

    X1900 XTX 48 Pixel Shaders, 16 Rasterization Operators, 650MHZ, Mem 775MHZ x 256 Bit Bus
    7900 GTX 24 Pixel Shaders, 16 Rasterization Operators, 650MHZ, Mem 800MHZ x 256 Bit Bus

    The X1900 XTX doesn't walkaway from the 7900 GTX on the whole either.
    Reply
  • trinibwoy - Wednesday, November 01, 2006 - link

    Do you guys do other testing that you comment on that is not represented by the graphs? The numbers show a 1 fps difference, yet you use terms like "significant" and "clearly beats". Maybe some median low fps numbers would help demonstrate what you're saying.

    quote:

    An interesting thing about Oblivion is that it favors ATI hardware over NVIDIA, and this is evident here when we look at the X1650 XT compared with the 7600 GT. In this case, the X1650 XT has a small but significant performance lead over the 7600 GT. Because of this, the X1650 XT is more likely to be playable at 1024x768 than the 7600 GT. This is one case where the X1650 XT clearly beats the 7600 GT just in terms of performance. Oblivion players may want to consider this card once it's available, but only assuming the price is reasonable.
    Reply
  • soydeedo - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    hey i know i can make an educated guess as to where the x1650xt would end up on q4 benches compared to nvidia's offerings, but i'm still curious why this game was not included in the testing? with quakewars around the corner i think people are still interested in doom 3 engine performance. Reply
  • johnsonx - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    I suppose this name is part of ATI's general trend lately. It used to be that the XT moniker meant the same GPU with slightly higher clocks. Now it seems like the XT parts are a separate family. The X1300XT has nothing to do with the other X1300's (rather it's a rebadged X1600Pro), the X1900XT has more pipes than non-XT members of the X1900 family, and now the X1650XT has nothing to do with the rest of the X1600/1650 family.

    It all makes it a bit hard to choose.
    Reply
  • Kougar - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    On page 10 it is mentioned that

    quote:

    Something that jumps out at us here is that the X1650 XT got slightly better performance than the 7600 GT in both of these games with 4xAA enabled. Without AA enabled, the 7600 GT did better than the X1650 XT in these games. The amount of difference between the performance of both of these cards is about the same with and without AA.


    This is completely going against the bar graphs, specifically the HL Episode One graph. The x1650XT got up and began walking away from the 7600GT without AA, but with AA it tripped and slide into place just behind the 7600GT. At resolutions below 1600by1200 it even began losing by a sizeable margin.
    Reply
  • Josh Venning - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    This paragraph has been tweaked a little bit. In HL2 Episode one the X1650 XT only does better than the 7600 GT at the highest resolution with AA enabled, but in Battlefield 2 it performs a little better over most of the resolutions. Reply
  • Cybercat - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    How many vertex units does this thing have? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    See (updated) table on page 2: it has 8 vertex units, 24 pixel pipes, and 8 ROPs. Basically, lots more power than the X1600 XT. I would guess the pixel pipes are more like R580 pipes (i.e. more shader power, but not necessarily the same as an NVIDIA pixel pipeline in raw power). Reply
  • Cybercat - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    Alright, cool. I keep a chart with stats of graphics cards, so I'm just making sure I have the vertice throughput correct. Other than the useless X1650 Pro, ATI seems to have a much more competitive mainstream line now. There is now more confusion than ever, though. Reply

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