IntroductionWhen ATI gave R580 a new lease of life recently, introducing Radeon X1950 XTX to critical acclaim, it also took the opportunity to push a few more SKUs out the door, expanding its mid-range lineup with some product shuffling and creative naming. We didn't manage to cover Radeon X1650 PRO at launch, sadly, but we've done what we do best with retail AIBs and brought a few together for the HEXUS shootout.
Radeon X1650 PRO is an easy one to explain, thankfully. Think Radeon X1600 XT but with slightly higher clocks and you're bang on, ATI asking its AIB partners to pretty much just bump the clocks. Being RV530-based, that means a full 5/4/4 configuration (VS/PS/ROP), and since it's RV530 that means 12 discrete pixel shader processors (3 per PS unit) and 4 data samplers too, to round things off from a programmable unit perspective. Built out of a supposed 157-million transistors on one of TSMC's 90nm process options (we'd guess at 90HS), the 150mm² GPU is pretty hot on paper, and paired with decently fast memory it generally does Good Things™ in X1600 XT configuration.
So with Radeon X1650 PRO rolling with higher clocks and a new lower-than-X1600 XT price, it's certainly worth a peek versus NVIDIA competition. GeCube, HIS and Sapphire fired boards our way, and it's those we present in this piece. With three different coolers and clock levels on test, there's plenty to chat about and present, so onwards we go. We start with the Sapphire.