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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  • LuxFestinus - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    One nice thing about the X1650 XT is that is doesn't require an external power connection. The second "is" should be "it" please. Thank you. Reply
  • Josh Venning - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    It's been fixed. Thanks Reply
  • trabpukcip - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    quote:

    One nice thing about the X1650 XT is that is doesn't require an external power connection. This makes it a good choice for those with limited connections on their power supplies. However, the 7900 GS also doesn't need an external power connection, so our data might persuade those who are very concerned about power consumption to look into this card instead of the X1650 XT.


    I think they meant the 7600GT doesn't require an external power connector.

    I sure remember hooking up the power connector for my little brother's 7900GS less than five metres from me, being derived from a crippled 7900GT and all.

    And as for you you American dotted underline spellchecker. I spell it metres NOT meters where I come from ;). (It even underlined "spellchecker", the irony).

    Reply
  • bldckstark - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    What colour was the underline? Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    lol Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    Back to the original comment, this has been corrected. Unless Josh knows something I don't, all of the 7900 GS cards I can find require a PCIe power connector. 7600 GT does not, however. Odd, considering power draws are about the same. Reply
  • BigLan - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    What's the avivo performance of the x1650xt? Can it handle acceleration of 1080i/p stuff, or is it limited to 720p like it's predecessor? If it can only do 720p it's taking a huge hit against the 7600gt which has full purevideo compatibility (and is the current darling of the htpc crowd.)

    Also, I haven't heard anything about gpu accelerated transcoding in a while. Any chance of getting an anandtech article about it using non-beta versions?
    Reply
  • blckgrffn - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    An incomplete specifications table, assertions like "it has twice the pixel pipelines, 12 to 24 which will fix the performance issues" when really the x16xx family was plagued by a fill rate comparable to a 9600XT.

    Don't take this personal Josh - but Anandtech is supposed to have the definitive review, not simply an adequate one.

    Nat
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Monday, October 30, 2006 - link

    We had trouble tracking down the # of vertex and color/z pipes -- we didn't want to comment on any fill rate differences until we could confirm our suspicions -- raster pipes have doubled, and this definitely helps at higher resolutions and with AA or stencil shadows, etc...

    But doubling the pixel pipes does allow them to get a big boost in performance without upping the clock speed in more modern games (like oblivion) where fill rate wasnt as large an issue.

    Sorry for the gap in the article -- it has been updated and a paragraph has been added after our charts to explain the impact of raster pipes. In the future, we'll be sure to get ahold of the data we need in a more timely fashion.

    Derek Wilson
    Reply
  • blckgrffn - Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - link

    Thanks!

    Anandtech is my homepage, and will continue to be for some time. Really, I think we all just want to see this site be the best that it can be.

    Nat
    Reply

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