ASUS EAX1600XT SILENT/TVD/256M
If you're not at all familiar with X1600 products, they sit somewhere between NVIDIA's 7600 GS and GT, starting at around £75 and offering acceptable gaming performance at mainstream resolutions and implementing ATI's Avivo technology for video-enhancing features. We'd urge you to check out our initial X1600 discussion if you need to refresh your memory.
'A' is for ASUS, so let's start with its X1600XT.
Let's get the blindingly obvious out of the way first: this card has a heatpipe-assisted cooling system, allowing ASUS to take the heatsink around the back of the card. Most of the time, the card will be 'top-most' in a motherboard, so a cooling layout like this is less likely to cramp the style of any other add-in cards
A peek around the back confirms what one would hope for. The cooling solution is passive, with a nice fat heatsink that should keep the GPU at a reasonable temperature, providing there's sufficient airflow within the system.
Clocked at a reference 587MHz/1386MHz for GPU and memory, respectively, this card runs at clocks that we'll soon see are pretty much the standard across all of the SKUs on test here today.
At the business end of the EAX1600XT we have D-SUB and DVI outputs, along with a connector for the card's VIVO support. Dual-DVI outputs would be lovely, wouldn't they?
The selling point of this product then, looking solely at the card, seems to be the completely passive cooling solution. We'll check out its cooling ability a little later.
On to the bundle, then.
The retail box for the EAX1600XT features a seemingly angry man, possibly because he's received a sub-par haircut, but maybe he likes it that way and just doesn't like people looking at him funny.
The bundle isn't massive, but it's enough to get you started, with a driver disc, four games and a quick-setup manual. However, there are no S-Video or component video cables provided, only a breakout box for VIVO functionality. This is bad news for anyone looking to leverage Avivo for HDTV output.