ATI Radeon X1650 XT with Native CrossFire
At first glance, the new Radeon X1650 XT looks much like the Radeon X1600 XT that launched in early October of last year. With the exceptions of the similar shaped cooler and a red PCB, physically the cards are very different.
As we've already mentioned on the previous page, the Radeon X1650 XT is based on the GPU formerly codenamed RV560. This GPU, which is clocked at 575MHz, is built on TSMC's 80nm node and features 24 pixel shader processors, 8 vertex shaders and 8 texture units. The board is outfitted with 256MB of GDDR3 RAM running at 675MHz (1.35GHz DDR), which the GPU communicates with via a 128-bit interface. This configuration gives the Radeon X1650 XT a maximum of 21.6GB/s of memory bandwidth.
The Radeon X1650 XT also features a pair of dual-link DVI outputs, HDCP support, HD/TV output, and a couple of edge connectors along the top which enable its built-in Native CrossFire support. ATI essentially incorporated the compositing engine that used to reside on CrossFire Master card right into the GPU die. As far as functionality is concerned, the CrossFire on the Radeon X1650 XT works just like it did on older members of the Radeon X1K family, save for the dongle. To run X1650 XT cards in a CrossFire configuration, all you have to do is connect them via a pair of internal ribbon cables, similar to NVIDIA's SLI bridge. Unlike the NVIDIA platform though, these ribbon cables will be bundled with the video cards and not the motherboards, because there are a plethora of Intel 975 and P965 boards already available that are CrossFire compatible, that don't ship with the appropriate connector cables. ATI will be including one CrossFire connector with each card moving forward.
The cooler used on the X1650 XT is low-profile and all copper. It did a fine job keeping the card cool throughout our testing, as we did not experience any instability whatsoever until we overclocked the card well out of spec. We did find the fan to be somewhat audible, however. When it spins up to its maximum speed, the X1650 XT's fan emitted a bit of whine, that was audible over our test system's CPU and PSU fans. When spun-down, however, the fans are nice and quiet, which is how they operated most of the time. As for the Radeon X1650 XT's power requirements, they are relatively low. In fact, the card does not feature a supplemental 6-Pin PCI Express power connection, which means the 75W supplied by a typical PEG slot is adequate.
As you would expect, given the card's proposed $149 price point, ATI is positioning the Radeon X1650 XT against NVIDIA's GeForce 7600 GT. To give you an idea as to how the X1650 XT stacks up against some of its main competition, we've put together a quick chart highlighting some important features. As you can see, at least according to their specifications, the Radeon X1650 XT compares favorably to NVIDIA's current offerings. But let's see what happens when we actually plug them in and put them through some benchmarks.
|Radeon X1650 XT||Radeon X1650 Pro||GeForce 7600 GT||GeForce 7900 GS|
|Pixel Fill Rate||4.5 Billions/s||2.4 Billions/s||4.5 Billions/s||7.2 Billions/s|
* Street prices are likely to be higher than $149 until partners have wide availability