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Review: ATI Radeon X1650 PRO 3-way shootout

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 4 October 2006, 08:59

Tags: ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD)

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Sapphire Radeon X1650 PRO

Reference clocks for X1650 PRO are 600/700 but Sapphire drives its example at 594/693 (close to the X1600 XT clocks of 590/690!), mostly due to how most ATI AIB card clocks can be adjusted as a function of the reference clock. Here's the board itself.

If you decide to buy one these yourself you'll find it looks more like this, Sapphire not applying the branding sticker to the review sample before sending it our way. It's a cooler we've come across in the past and its all-copper construction and fan combine to cool the GPU effectively all while making a bearable amount of noise. Yes, it poops the hot air back into your chassis instead of exhausting it, but with good chassis ventilation the Sapphire Radeon X1650 PRO should be a compliant resident of your PC on the thermals front.

It doesn't cool the memory modules though, so bear that in mind if you fancy a spot of overclocking.

Both DVI ports are dual-link capable, ready for driving displays the size of Alaska, and with ATI Avivo technology an integral part of the GPU you can also drive a 10-bit per colour channel panel without issue too. You also get an output port for S-Video and component depending on the cable you connect.

Presentation and Bundle

There's nothing really to say about the bundle or presentation that we haven't said before as concerns Sapphire graphics cards. The pictures say it all, with only the lack of a second DVI-to-VGA adaptor something to complain about. For a ~£80 product you don't expect the AAA game or masses of bundled software. The supplied version of PowerDVD is the 2-channel version, but can be upgraded online to the full Deluxe version for a fairly reasonable £17.25, a discount on the full price of course.

Sapphire offers a 2-year warranty with its range of graphics cards and problems, should they arise, are initially handled by the supplier from whom you choose to buy the card from, although cards will eventually find their way to EQS' UK centre, the hub for all Sapphire-related repairs. Should problems arise after a year, you'll need to send the card off to the UK-based service centre.

We've also been notified that Sapphire intends on releasing its 'Lite' bundle in the UK, so you won't receive the full retail packaging shown above.