Product: Radeon X1650 XT
Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Mark "Ratchet" Thorne
Date: October 30th, 2006

ATI Radeon X1650 XT
ATI Radeon X1650 XT
In late August ATI announced the new enthusiast class Radeon X1950 XTX, Radeon X1950 Crossfire, and Radeon X1900 XT 256MB cards to positive reception by the hardware hacks and fanboys alike.

A couple weeks ago ATI again released another graphics card for budget minded folks, the Radeon X1950 Pro, this time with a brand new graphics core and some very welcome new features. The X1950 Pro was the first of ATI’s graphics cards to sport internal “native” Crossfire and, thanks to a very nice price-to-performance ratio, was also given a positive reception from the hacks and fanboys.

Released on the same day as the X1950 back in August, and thoroughly overlooked by everyone, were the Radeon X1650 Pro and the Radeon X1300 XT. These new mainstream parts were slotted into the sub $100 price range so it’s no surprise that they got passed over in favor of the $449 X1950 powerhouse and the $279 X1900 XT 256MB screamer. Further adding to the “meh” factor was that these cards weren’t really new at all; the X1650 Pro was simply a rebranded X1600 XT, and the X1300 XT a rebranded X1600 Pro. Things moved down, basically. There was nothing new, no one could be bothered.

ATI is still chugging along and adding further refinements to their lineup. Today they are announcing yet another new graphics card, another of the X1600-family, but this time one that moves performance and features forward. The X1650 XT, based on a new 80nm RV560 core that features native Crossfire support, has finally arrived and fills in the $149 price gap in ATI's lineup.

Technically speaking that’s seven new SKUs in just over two months. Not bad for a company that was supposed to have thrown in the towel.

Here’s what the updated lineup looks like:

ATI's Lineup
Market Segment Product MSRP ($US)
Enthusiast X1950 XTX
X1950 Crossfire
X1900 XT 256MB $259
Performance X1950 Pro $199
X1900 GT $195
Mainstream X1650 XT $149
X1650 Pro $99
X1300 XT $89
Value X1300 Pro $79
X1300 256MB $59
X1300 64bit $49

ATI Radeon X1650 XT
ATI Radeon X1650 XT
As mentioned the X1650 XT is built on a new graphics core from ATI codenamed RV560. It’s an 80nm part and measures about 16.7mm by 15mm. It is, in fact, the exact same size as the X1950 Pro’s RV570 core and, as far as logic goes, would suggest that the RV560 has the same 330 million transistors as the RV570 does (Oct.30 Update: just got confirmation that this is, indeed, the case. The RV560 is essentially the same chip as the RV570 but with lower specs, of course). It has 24 pixel shaders units with 8 ROPs thus following ATI's traditional 3:1 pixel shader to ROP ratio, with 8 vertex shaders and a 128bit bus attached to 256MB of GDDR3. The reference X1650 XT we are testing today comes with a stock core clock frequency of 575MHz and a memory frequency of 675MHz (or 1.35GHz effective).

In this review we are checking out two of these new cards from ATI in both Crossfire and single card configurations.

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