by Rob Williams on December 5, 2006 in Graphics & Displays
If you don’t have $300 to spend on a GPU, then there are a slew of budget cards for you to ponder over. Last week we took a look at an X1650 Pro, and today we are taking a look at a similar model. Is the card worth your $150?
Though 3D Mark is pretty useless for gauging a video cards worth, it’s fun to try to break personal records and compare similar cards to one another. Speaking of useless, 3D Mark 01 comes to mind, as it’s now 6 years old. Even though that benchmark is incredibly CPU sensitive, better GPUs also make a difference.
Here is a definite stair-step effect. The 7950GT is marginally better than the 7900GT, and the same goes for the EAX1650XT when compared to the 7900GT. There’s not really much to explain here, except the budget moniker of the X1650XT has been quite evident throughout our results.
If you are in the market for a budget ATI card, you cannot really go wrong with the EAX1650XT. The card scaled well with the others in terms of $ per FPS. We compared this card to ASUS’ own 7900GT, which is twice as expensive at around $300. The card is also twice as fast though, so you do certainly “get what you pay for”.
Sadly I did not have a 7600GT to compare to, but essentially this card should prove to be as good, if not better than those. More often than not, ASUS’ own cards retail for an increased price over other brands, but this one falls into a comfortable $150 spot while the 7600GTs are closer to $170. This is a great card for the money, but 7900GT cards begin out at $220 at most popular e-tailers. To me, that’s like 45% more cash for 90% more performance. It’s really up to you to decide how much you are willing to spend, or how much graphic power you really need.
Three things to mention, on the downside. The fan… is loud. Since installing the card into this PC, the computer as a whole was noticeably louder. Prior to installing the card, the computer simply hummed and the sound never actually stood out to me. But with this card, it’s a lot more noticeable. The other thing to mention is the fact that the card can get rather warm at max load. It hit 88°C with an ambient room temp of 80°F. Lastly, the overclocking ability of this card is nil. I officially got the card to 20MHz over stock, which was not worth it to me to re-run all the benchmarks at that setting. So, this is not a card for overclockers and shouldn’t even be thought about once the card is in your hands.
In the end this is a great card for the price point. The inclusion of GTI Racing is a nice bonus, in addition to the snazzy ASUS cd holder. Add to the fact that this card can later be paired with an additional GPU, there is future upgradability in mind if you don’t want to slap over more for a higher-end card at this point in time.
I am awarding the ASUS EAX1650XT a very respectable 8 out of 10.
- Priced right. Cheaper than comparable 7600GT
- Physically small card, perfect for HTPC cases
- Quality performance for a budget model
- Fan is rather loud
- GPU Core can get hot at max load
- Not for overclockers