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Appeared on: Monday, January 29, 2007
Asus EAX1650XT


1. Introduction

In October of 2006, ATI announced the newest addition to the X1000 series, the Radeon X1650XT (RV560). The X1650XT comes in two versions, XT and Crossfire, and features 256MB of GDDR3 memory. The core is clocked at 575MHz and the memory at 700MHz. The card is comparable to Nvidia's 7600GT series, in terms of single and dual card setups (SLI vs Crossfire).

- Radeon® X1650 Graphics Technology - Features

The Radeon X1650 XT delivers superior mainstream performance with industry-leading image quality and best-in-class HD video. With ATI’s new, easy to use “plug-and-play” CrossFire™ configuration and unmatched image quality features, the X1650 XT delivers better gaming and home theater  viewing experiences than the majority of today’s best consumer electronic brands.

Superior mainstream performance with industry-leading image quality
No compromise performance with simultaneous high dynamic range lighting with full screen anti-aliasing.

New Plug-and-Play CrossFire™
Use the new plug and play CrossFire configuration to easily upgrade from mainstream to extreme performance

Best-in-class HD video performance
Enjoy industry leading high-definition video performance with ATI’s Avivo™ technology

Over One billion More Colors
View digital photos, video and 3D images with 1 billion more colors in all of your graphics applications than you would with competing graphics boards.

Prepare for a Window’s Vista™ Premium experience
Prepare your PC with a graphics card that exceeds Microsoft’s stated GPU requirements for a premium Windows Vista experience.


2. Specifications

- Radeon® X1650XT GPU Specifications

Features
  • 24 pixel shader processors
  • 8 vertex shader processors
  • Up to 128-bit GDDR3 memory interface
  • Native PCI Express® x16 bus interface
  • Plug-and-play (native) CrossFire™
Ring Bus Memory Controller
  • 256-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
  • Programmable intelligent arbitration logic
  • Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
  • Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
  • Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
  • Z/stencil cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
  • Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
  • Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
  • Up to 128 simultaneous pixel threads
  • Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
  • Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
  • 3Dc+ texture compression
    • High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two-channel data formats
    • High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
  • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
  • Render to vertex buffer support
  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® 2.0
Advanced Image Quality Features
  • 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
    • Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
  • 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
    • Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
  • 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
    • Multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sparse sample patterns, and centroid sampling
    • New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
    • Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
    • Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
    • Up to 128-tap texture filtering
    • Adaptive algorithm with Performance and Quality options
  • High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)
Avivo™ Video and Display Platform
  • High performance programmable video processor
    • Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding and transcoding
    • DXVA support
    • De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
    • Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
    • Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
    • 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
  • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
  • HDR tone mapping acceleration
    • Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
  • Flexible display support
    • DVI 1.0 compliant / HDMI interoperable and HDCP ready**
    • Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
    • 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
    • Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion (10 bits per color)
    • Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
    • High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
    • Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
    • Xilleon™ TV encoder for high quality analog output
    • YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
    • Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
    • Fast, glitch-free mode switching
    • VGA mode support on all outputs
    • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
  • Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550

** AMD’s ATI Radeon® X and Radeon® 9550 series of GPUs are capable of processing HDCP signals ("HDCP ready"), however  not all ATI Radeon graphics cards are HDCP ready. Please check the applicable ATI Radeon graphics card specification to determine if a particular ATI Radeon graphics card is HDCP ready.  Some third parties manufacture graphics cards containing ATI Radeon GPUs -- you can inquire of them which models, if any, -- are HDCP ready.

CrossFire™
  • Multi-GPU technology
  • Four modes of operation:
    • Alternate Frame Rendering (maximum performance)
    • Supertiling (optimal load-balancing)
    • Scissor (compatibility)
    • Super AA 8x/10x/12x/14x (maximum image quality)
  • Native CrossFire support simplifies setup by requiring no dedicated slave or master hardware
  • 24-bit CrossFire connection enables high resolutions and refresh rates
  • Supports the broadest range of platforms for both Intel and AMD

3. Asus EAX1650XT

Asus presents its version for the X1650XT platform with the EAX1650XT. The ASUS EAX1650XT/2DHT/256M and ASUS EAX1650XT CrossFire/2DHT/256M are both equipped with exclusive ASUS innovations and the ATI RADEON® X1650XT GPU. With the powerful ATI RADEON® X1650XT GPU, the ASUS EAX1650XT supports the finest in graphics technology, including CrossFire™ Ready multi-GPU technology, Ultra-Threaded and Shader Engine. Combined with unique ASUS innovations such as SPLENDID for intelligent video enhancement and interactive gaming features, the all-new ASUS card delivers the ultimate in computer visual enjoyment.

With the EAX1650XT, your graphics performance will never be compromised!

ASUS Features

Over 26% faster than Generic GF7600GT

The Hottest 3D game: GTI Racing bundled

ATI CrossFire Technology Ready

Copper base heatsink to dissipate the GPU heat away effectively

Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista

Key features

Models Available

** Note: To enable CrossFire™ function

System requirements:
1. A standard ASUS EAX1650XT graphics card
2. An additional ASUS EAX1650XT CrossFire™ edition graphics card (with two pieces of CrossFire bridge interconnectors inside the box)
3. A CrossFire™ Ready motherboard
4. 512MB of system memory

Power Supply Requirements:
1. 450-Watt power supply or greater, 30 Amps, 12 volt rail is recommended (assumes fully loaded system)
2. For CrossFire™: 550 watt power supply or greater, 38 Amps, 12 volt rail

For our review, Asus provided us with their retail version of the EAX1650XT. The card costs around €170 in Europe and US$169.99 in the US, as found on several online stores.

The retail package is complete with printed manual, drivers and of course cables:

The retail package includes:

Looking at the card, it is small in size. It has a small copper air cooling system on board:

On the top of the card are the 2 Crossfire connections:

The card has two DVI-D outputs and one TV-out output:

The card requires that a PCI-E power supply be used in order to supply enough current. You need a PSU with at least a 600W rating with these current VGA cards, especially if you decide to go CrossFire:

On the rear we see the cooler's mounting plate and SN for the VGA card:


4. Tests and setup

All tests were conducted with the same PC setup:

More information about the card can be obtained with ATI Catalyst:

and Everest Ultimate Edition:

We used a variety of games and applications to evaluate the card's performance:

For comparison, we will also include the results for the following VGA cards:

All Nvidia based card results were done with Nvidia Forceware v93.71 drivers.


5. 3D Mark 05 v1.2.0

3DMark®05 is best suited for the latest generation of DirectX®9.0 graphics cards. It is the first benchmark to require a DirectX9.0 compliant hardware with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher! By combining high quality 3D tests, CPU tests, feature tests, image quality tools, and much more, 3DMark05 is a premium benchmark for evaluating the latest generation of gaming hardware. 3DMark05 is the answer to the continuously growing challenge in benchmarking!

For all test results, we used the default settings for 3DMark05 as follows:

3D Mark 05 is a well known benchmarking utility that represents the combination of CPU+VGA strength. The Asus EAX1650XT performed as advertised, and is clearly faster than the 7600GT series. A pleasant surprise is the fact that it also surpassed the performance of the 7900GS series.

- 3D Mark 06 v1.0.2

3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking and the latest version in the popular 3DMark series! 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, advanced SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Futuremark's exclusive Online ResultBrowser web service tracks and compares 3DMark06 scores. Again we left all settings as default:

In 3D Mark 06, the performance of the Asus EAX1650XT was not as impressive. It was slower than the 7600GT and 7900GS VGA cards.


6. F.E.A.R.

- F.E.A.R.

The story begins as an unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates a multi-billion dollar aerospace compound. The government responds by sending in Special Forces, but loses contact as an eerie signal interrupts radio communications. When the interference subsides moments later, the team has been literally torn apart. As part of a classified strike team created to deal with threats no one else can handle, your mission is simple: Eliminate the intruders at any cost. Determine the origin of the signal. And contain this crisis before it spirals out of control.

For all tests, we used the latest available patch that updates the game engine to v1.08. The game offers 1280x1024 resolution, which was used in all tests. We maxed all details for CPU and VGA card, except for Soft Shadows and AA/AF. We used the card's 3D Control panel to enable AA/AF as indicated in each graph.

Below are the results after using the built-in benchmark test:

The Asus EAX1650XT clocked up 55 FPS average performance without AA/AF rendering modes enabled. The MSI 7600GT Silent had 53FPS for the same test.

As was expected, enabling AA/AF drops the performance of all tested cards. Looking at the Asus EAX1650XT and MSI 7600GT, the Asus EAX1650XT offers slightly better performance.


7. Prey

Prey tells the story of Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic stuck on a reservation going nowhere. His life changes when an otherworldly crisis forces him to awaken spiritual powers from his long-forgotten birthright. Abducted along with his people to a menacing mothership orbiting Earth, he sets out to save himself and his girlfriend and eventually his planet.

Prey is a serious, dark story, based on authentic Cherokee mythology. Themes of sacrifice, love and responsibility are explored and the story dives into emotional territory not yet explored by similar games. Prey is based on Quake 3 engine and for sure will keep you awake many nights...

We used the latest available patch that updates the game engine to v1.2.0. For all tests, we used hocbench which offers all benchmarking options through a GUI. We used the built-in Guru3D timedemo and all results are posted below:

Without enabling AA/AF, the Asus EAX1650XT outperforms the MSI 7600GT Silent by 5 FPS.

Enabling the various AA/AF rendering modes, we see that Asus EAX1650XT still maintains its edge over the MSI 7600GT.


8. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

A Japanese Information Defense Force is formed to help face modern threats. Deemed a violation of international law and of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, Korea and China become outraged.

Secretly, the head of the IDF begins launching information-warfare attacks against Japan and blaming the attacks on North Korea. When the U.S. intervenes, as they are obligated to under Article 9 of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, the U.S. is attacked as well, forcing North Korea to escalate the situation with a pre-emptive invasion of South Korea. As war erupts on the Korean Peninsula, Sam Fisher must thwart the alliance between the Japanese Admiral, a neurotic computer hacker, and the head of an international paramilitary company in order to prevent the rekindling of a massive world war in the Pacific.

The graphics engine supports Pixel Shader 1 and 3, HDR, along with other new effects. We used hocbench which offers all benchmarking options through an easy GUI. We used the built-in "Guru3D 2" timedemo and all results are posted below, using SM1.1

The Asus EAX1650XT was four FPS faster than the MSI 7600GT Silent. Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory also supports Shader Model 3.0 that can be easily enabled from within hocbench:

SM3.0 offers much better visual details and of course a performance hit. In this mode, the Asus EAX1650XT was only one FPS faster than the MSI 7600GT..

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory doesn't offer AA/AF modes, so we had to enable them from each VGA card's 3D Control panel.

Enabling AA/AF drops performance for all cards, almost... Both ATI based cards were very steady after enabling AA/AF. Again, the Asus EAX1650XT is equal to or faster than the MSI 7600GT.


9. Half Life 2 Episode 1

The world of Half-Life 2 has amazed everyone with its great story, graphics and Valve's great support. Half-Life 2: Episode One is the first in a series of new adventures created by Valve that extend the Half-Life 2 single player experience. It details the aftermath of Half Life 2 and launches a journey beyond City 17.

Stepping into the hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman, you face the immediate repercussions of your actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Rejoin Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, to once again aid the human resistance in their desperate battle against the totalitarian alien menace of the Combine.

Episode One exposes Alyx's combat skills and knowledge of City 17. Battle side-by-side with her through Valve's first episodic game, a four-to-six hour adventure of greater density and detail than non-episodic releases.

We recorded a timedemo and used the built-in console to run a timedemo with each card. All tests were done at 1280x1024 resolution with HDR shadows fully enabled. Antialiasing and Filtering modes were enabled through Nvidia's 3D control panel:

The HL2 Engine has always been a favorite for ATI based cards. The Asus EAX1650XT is 12FPS faster than the MSI 7600GT with AA/AF disabled.

HDR Effects and AA/AF impact on performance as usual. The Asus EAX1650XT continues to stay in front of the MSI 7600GT in all modes.


10. Company Of Heroes

In Company of Heroes, gamers will experience the journey of the brave men of Able Company in a deep single-player campaign that begins with the invasion of Normandy through their fight across Europe, all set against the most dynamic battlefield ever seen in a game.

Company of Heroes' completely destructible environment means no two battles ever play out in the same way. Advanced squad AI delivers startling new realism and responsiveness, bringing soldiers to life as they interact with the environment and execute advanced squad tactics to eliminate the opposition forces.

The game offers impressive graphics, especially when all visual quality settings are maxed out.

We used the built-in benchmark for all tests at 1280x1024 resolution. Since AA/AF cannot be set from within the game, we used Nvidia's 3D control panel. The Built-in Antialiasing setting in Company Of Heroes, has been disabled. Now let's see how each card performed in the Company Of Heroes benchmark with High Quality settings.

The Asus EAX1650XT continues to offer better performance than the MSI 7600GT. There is an eight FPS difference between the two cards.

Again, Asus EAX1650XT is steady in its framerate when AA/AF are enabled, and its performance is almost comparable with that of the Foxconn 7900GS.


11. BattleField 2142

The year is 2142, and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The math is simple and brutal: The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth's population. Some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players will choose to fight for one of two military superpowers in an epic battle for survival, the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition.

Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech assault rifles, cloaking devices and sentry guns, players will also do battle using some of the most imposing vehicles known to man. Massive battle Mechs wage fierce combat on the ground, while futuristic aircraft rule the skies. When facing one of these new behemoths, players will need to use their wits and an arsenal of new countermeasures like EMP grenades to level the playing field.

Team play features allow up to 64 players to enter the action on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or work behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their teammates. With in-game success, players increase their rank and unlock awards, including new weapons, medals and more, delivering the most comprehensive and flexible persistence in the Battlefield universe to date.

In order to benchmark the graphics cards, we recorded our own timedemo using the built-in command (demo.recordDemo). We then used Guru3D BF2 benchmark modified in order to support BF 2142. We used the following quality settings - anti-aliasing is disabled inside the game, so we use Nvidia's 3D Control Panel to enable/disable AA/AF rendering modes:

Note that 1280x1024 resolution is not supported within the game. However, it can be enabled from the command line. All tests were performed at that resolution (1280x1024). Since the game counts all frames, including loading screens, we removed them so that all figures represent pure gaming experience. Note, that all tests were performed at 1280x1024 with default camera view. Let's now proceed to the first test results.

At 1280x1024, the Asus EAX1650XT and MSI 7600GT have only one (1) FPS difference.

Enabling AA/AF in Battlefield 2142, enhances the visual quality and of course gaming experience. The Asus EAX1650XT showed better performance than the 7600GT, and at 16xAF/6xAA reached the 7900GS.


12. NFS Carbon

Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads.

What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world's most dangerous and adrenaline-filled form of street racing. You and your crew must race in an all-out war for the city, risking everything to take over your rivals' neighbourhoods one block at a time. As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve.


Lets race...

Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew's cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon, the next revolution in racing games.

In order to benchmark the graphics cards, we created the same two rounds on the same track with the same car. Using FRAPS, we recorded all 2 minutes of driving.


Black and beautiful...

Keep in mind that all tests results were done with "Blur Effect" and "Rain" disabled, since enabling them produces a huge performance hit on all cards. In any case, all other detail settings are maxed out. As usual, AA/AF modes are set from each card's 3D control panel. Without enabling AA/AF, we can see the performance of each card at 1280x1024.

NFS Carbon is a no-go for Nvidia based cards. All ATI based cards showed superb performance and the Asus EAX1650XT produced 38FPS average performance.

The game doesn't include any settings for AA/AF modes. Enabling AA/AF within the control panel of each VGA card, results in a major performance drop. The Asus EAX1650XT performed well although users should only enable 2xAA/16xAF in this game.


13. NeverWinter Nights 2

Bards sing tales of heroes from ages past, but never have the Forgotten Realms so desperately needed a champion. Years have passed since the war between Luskan and Neverwinter, almost enough time for the wounds of war to heal. But the brief peace the Realms have known may be at an end. Tension growing between the mighty city-states means the Sword Coast again teeters on the edge of open war.

Unnoticed, a greater danger stalks the City of Skilled Hands. Unbeknownst to the denizens of the North, deep in the Mere of Dead Men, dark forces from across the Realms have been rallied under the banner of a legendary evil. If left unchallenged, all of the North is doomed to fall under its power.

Even in this darkest hour, hope remains. A mysterious relic is borne to Neverwinter in the hands of a lone hero so that its secrets may be unlocked - secrets that carry the fate of all the North. So begins an epic tale of shattered alliances, noble acts and dark deeds to be told across the Realms for generations to come.

Under Game options, we maxed all available visual settings.

Anisotropic filtering was enabled under "Advanced Graphics" tab, while Anti-aliasing modes were set by using Nvidia's 3D control panel.

We saved a gave and run walked the exactly same root (more or less) and moved the camera a lot around the player. This is the worst a case scenario while playing. By using FRAPS we recorded two minutes of game and got the lowest and average numbers for your enjoyment.

NeverWinter Nights2 is a "difficult" game, with all visual improvements enabled, even for high end cards. Asus EAX1950XT was two (2) FPS faster than MSI 7600GT.

Antialiasing is not offered within the game options. Using each card's 3D control panel we enabled up to 6x AA. Asus EAX1650XT performance was equal with 7900GS especially after enabling 4xAA


14. Overclocking

Asus EAX1950XT cannot be overclocked within ATI Catalyst or the latest version of ATITool. We tried to find max core but in all times, the system crashed.

- Temperature/Noise

The card has a fairly medimum air cooling system based at copper. While the rotating fan is small it does make a lot of noise, especially at full load. We aren't very happy with the air cooling solution that Asus chosen for X1650XT series...


15. Conclusion

Asus presents a low budget card for entry level users based at ATI's X1650XT platform. The performance can be compared with Nvidia's 7600GT series. In all tests, Asus EAX1650XT was faster than MSI 7600GT. Thats a total fact. The performance difference varies according to the benchmark or used game. Enabling AA/AF makes EAX1650XT slower, but again its faster than what 7600GT series can offer.

The EAX1650XT has all the features/advantages of ATI's 1650 series. The core runs at 575MHz and the memory at 675MHz. Overclocking is not an option, at least under Catalyst or the latest (0.26) ATI Tool. Probably this is the biggest negative of the card. Nvidia's cards are overclockable, adding a small performance to the default core/memory clocks..

The two DVI-D ports are not supporting High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), meaning you can cannot playback High Definition content (HD DVD, BluRay). The card is rated as "Windows Vista ready". The retail package can be characterized as complete, connection cable and one retail game is present (GTI Racing). The used air cooling system works but its very noise, something that should have been avoided from Asus.

Comparing Asus EAX1650XT with Nvidia competitor cards, we can find at retail market, Nvidia 7600GT from 110~150€, while Asus EAX1650XT retails at 170€. At this price, users can buy a generic Nvidia 7900GS which is faster and highly overclockable. Again the decision its up to you, assuming you will search for the lowest possible retail market prices...

Performance
Overclocking
?
Bundle
Value for money


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