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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