Powercolor X1650 Pro Review

X1650 Pro - Close in: Bundle and Cooling

A Closer look at the X1650

ATI have not gone all out and given their product line a total revamp. Instead they have done an SKU 'refresh'. This means essentially the same technology, but faster and usually smaller.

The X1650 is on an 80nm wafer and the theory is that it should run cooler than it's predecessor. This can only be a good thing as the X1600 was not a chip that got into the enthusiasts hearts for being easy to cool.

Lets check out the specs for the card:

Technical Specification

Graphics Processor - VPU Specs Connectors

VPU RADEON® X1650
S-Video
VPU-Core-Clock 600MHz
DVI X2
BUS-Type PCI-e x 16
Fabrication Process 80 nm
Pixel Shader Unit 12
Vertex Pipelines 5
Graphics Card Memory Technology

Graphic Memory 256
AVIVOTM Yes
Graphic Memory Speed 1400MHz CrossFireTM Ready Yes
Graphic Memory Type DDR3 HDTV Yes
Graphic Memory-BIT 128 h.264 support Yes
SMARTSHADERTM HD Yes
SMOOTHVISIONTM HD Yes
HYPER ZTM HD Yes
VIDEOSHADERTM HD Yes

RAMDAC 400 MHz DACs
Optimized for DirectX© 9.0c
OpenGL© 2.0
Shader Model 3.0

With 12Pixel Shaders and 5 Vertex pipelines, this card should play pretty well.

Lets take a look:

x1650 top

Powercolor have certainly chosen an interesting cooler for the X1650. With quite a large size fan this should certainly be quieter than the X1600 cooler.

We can also see the ATI Rage Theatre chip on the left of the card. This enables ATI AVIVO technology on the X1650. AVIVO means better image quality and some nifty features such as on-GPU re-encoding. ATI include the AVIVO software free and it works very well on the X1XXX series.

X1650 rear

The rear of the card does not sport any additional memory modules. This is a change from the X1600, which had some of it's memory on the rear. This leads me to believe that this card was designed with 256mb of memory in mind from the start. We can also see the retention screws for the heatsink.

Let's get the clothes off the chip

x1650 naked 1

And for a size comparison:

x1650 size


Notably smaller than the core of the X1950, the X1650 is a compact core but still houses it's 12 and 5 pipelines.

The card has 4 RAM modules mounted around the core. Again on the right you can the the ATI rage theatre chip.

X1650 naked card

One big improvement over the X1600 Pro is the dual DVI output. S-Video is still included on the card as well: but dual DVI will certainly help those with lust for crisp clear monitor space.

dual DVI x1650

Bundle

Software

Driver Catalyst Version 6.8 Software Bundle

Cables, Adapters & Other Accessories Manuals & Documents

HDTV Cable Quick-Installation Guide
DVI to VGA Adapter Yes Documentation in CD
S-Video to AV Adapter Yes Manual
S-Video Cable
Composite Cable
Power Cable


 

x1650 package



I did not get the power adaptor through in my bundle, but this should be in the retail version.


The bundle is pretty decent and all the connecters are there that you would need to fully utilise the features on the card. Perhaps another DVI-VGA cable could have been included, but this defeats the object of the dual DVI in the first place in my opinion.


Powercolor have included CyberQuest software Suit with the card which is a great starter DVD set. Overall the package isn't too bad and as Powercolor usually price their cards very competitively, this makes the bundle look better.

Cooling

The cooling on the X1650 does not look very substantial at all. With a smallish aluminium heatsink and a fairly large fan this solution looks inadequate. Unfortunately the temperature reading on the card in the drivers I have has not been enabled, so I was unable to get the temperatures.

x1650 cooler

The thermal paste used looks to be some kind of silver solution. This is a lot thinner than Arctic silver 5 and is pretty hard to remove from the base. The aluminium base of the cooler is pretty rough and does not look very even at all. I would say that if you're a cold freak but want to keep the original heatsink then you would need to do a fair amount of lapping on it.

x1650 cooler

The cooler seems to do a pretty quiet job of cooling the GPU. during gaming the fan ramps up a little, but it does not do more than make a "whoosh" noise. My system is fairly loud so I had to turn everything else off to hear it. This is in comparison to the X1600 cooler which was loud and whiney.

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Most Recent Comments

24-08-2006, 15:00:22

FarFarAway
Take a look at our World Exclusive on this excellent mid-range card.

How does it do when we subject it to the Overclock3D bench suite?

Find out here

24-08-2006, 15:32:15

Hyper
As usual a good review kemp, it seems they will be in the competition range of the Nvidia 7600.

24-08-2006, 15:34:19

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Hyper'
As usual a good review kemp, it seems they will be in the competition range of the Nvidia 7600.
And pretty cheap too

24-08-2006, 15:38:50

JN
Some very impressive in-game results there. Deffo a choice card for the budget caming build.

24-08-2006, 16:04:50

AKtodaface
very good review kemp! looks darn good for a mid range card.

24-08-2006, 18:07:45

NickS
ATi still lacks in the midrange department. Both my old GTO and our new XFX 7600GT XXX beat that thing in 05 by at least 400 points. Regardless, a great review Kempez .

24-08-2006, 18:54:32

glocktodahead
Nicely done review Kemp

24-08-2006, 18:58:15

shiftlocked
Nice review Kempz. One quick question tho. The card as it stands is it aimed at the mainstream or people who would overclock their system and get such a card?

The reason I ask is that the testings done on a clocked system, is that indicative of the people who would get this? Just wondering as you did all the testing on a clocked system?

Could we see some benchies on a stock and non stock system (like the custom pc magazine) for those of us in phear of clocking?

25-08-2006, 03:21:58

FarFarAway
I actually forgot I had my CPU clocked up during the tests. Regardless the C2D would play the games fast anyway. Unfortunately my test rig has been sold so I could not use that for the tests.

I am going to use the same PC for all my tests from now on so this was a base for future comparison

25-08-2006, 03:55:52

PV5150
Great review Kemp, and it's certainly a nice little card for the budget conscious

25-08-2006, 11:30:14

Vaerilis
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
I actually forgot I had my CPU clocked up during the tests. Regardless the C2D would play the games fast anyway. Unfortunately my test rig has been sold so I could not use that for the tests.
Nice review!

That setup would be VGA-limited in all games anyway, even a stock Allendale can push a lower-midrange card to its limits.

The X1650pro will be a great alternative to Nvidia's solutions at its level. It has an amazing price/performance ratio: 66€ is even less than what the 7300GTs clocked at 500/1400 are selling for!

25-08-2006, 16:05:43

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaerilis
Nice review!

That setup would be VGA-limited in all games anyway, even a stock Allendale can push a lower-midrange card to its limits.

The X1650pro will be a great alternative to Nvidia's solutions at its level. It has an amazing price/performance ratio: 66 is even less than what the 7300GTs clocked at 500/1400 are selling for!
Totally agreed mate
Reply
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