Sapphire has recently launched two new video cards that are designed to deliver you a great Vista experience. Though not touted as gaming cards, they offer enough performance to be worthy of consideration over on-board video.
It’s not too often that we review video cards around here, but it’s something we plan on amping up as time passes, due to the evident interest. Today we will be taking a look at not one, but two budget video cards, both for those people who don’t have gaming as a high priority.
Each of these are designed for different folk. First we have the X1050 which is essentially an upgrade from integrated video, for those who want to have good overall video capabilities with the addition of being able to use Vistas Aero theme. It’s clear, it’s really not a gaming card by any means except for simple titles. The X1550 has similar goals as the X1050, except it can handle light gaming better, albeit still at lower resolutions.
All of that said, this review will not be as long as others we’ve done, simply because there is not as much to tackle. Both of these cards are specifically suited for a certain audience, so it’s our goal to make sure that these live up to their promises.
Benchmarking is not a huge concern, but we did include tests from both Half-Life 2 and Need for Speed: Carbon, in addition to Futuremarks products. One of the main bragging rights of these cards is that they are completely Vista-capable, meaning you will have no issue running the Aero interface, even on the X1050.
Both cards have a few things in common. They are both PCI-E 16x, so they will work in any modern motherboard with full bandwidth capabilities. Each also includes 256MB of GDDR2, but the bus width is better on the X1550. In addition, both cards have TV-Out for those who require that functionality. As for the core, both cards use the same one as found on the X1300, the RV530. The only difference is memory and clock speed.
Before we jump into a physical look, let’s sum up the differences now.
|Sapphire X1050||256MB (64-Bit Width)||400MHz||666MHz||Yes||No||$45|
|Sapphire X1550||256MB (128-Bit Width)||550MHz||800MHz||Yes||Yes||$65|
With that taken care of, let’s first delve into each card separately, then we can move onto testing.
Even though this card costs only $45, it still comes in a great looking box. I appreciate the clean look… nothing too flamboyant. We are introduced to the card by a sly looking alien named Zot. Our version of the card uses 256MB of GDDR2, although there are 128MB cards available, though they are much less common.
Included is what you would expect. We have a manual, driver disc and also PowerDVD 6. This is not touted as a gaming card by any stretch, so instead of including a full game, various trials are included. These are Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, Richard Burns Rally, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30.
Here is the red PCB we’ve come to expect from the majority of ATI cards. Seeing as how this card doesn’t utilize high clocks, we don’t need a huge cooler. So here we have a cooler reminiscent of some found on select motherboard northbridge chipsets.
Taking a closer look at the memory chips, we can see they are by Hynix. If you want to view a full resolution version of the photo below, you can click here.
Four additional memory chip can be found on the back.
Overall, a great looking card that deserves a few additional glory shots.
Onto the X1050’s big brother, the X1550.