Conclusion As you were able to observe this X600 we tested today is basically the same as the HiS Excalibur Radeon 9600XT Turbo yet with slightly faster memory and a PCI-Express interface. Performance wise for the money the X600 is an interesting card to own. It's advertised a mid-range performance graphics card; however as you have been able to observe, we recently changed our benchmark test suite towards newer games in combination with High Image Quality settings and the X600 has a hard time to coop with them under rough circumstances. It makes sense as the technology that is X600 is almost exactly the same as its older sister the Radeon 9600, which was released over a year ago. So while time has passed and games started making way more use of more demanding graphics, this graphics core did not evolve in terms of performance at all. ATI's mid range product line is getting outdated performance wise and I do not know how much longer they can pull this off. The difference or gap between their high-end and this midrange product is by far too big in my opinion.
In all fairness, you will be able to play games like Far Cry in 1024x768 as longs as you stay away of High Quality settings and Image Quality settings in terms of Anti-aliasing. The new benchmark for gaming then, Doom 3, you will be able to play it at 1024x768 yet with a few performance hiccups here and there and you have to set the game at medium quality at the most.
Back to the product itself, what has to be said is it's superb stability and excellent image quality. The card is faster than the GeForce FX 5750 PCX PCI-Express solution, I don't know why but NVIDIA has got some serious work to do with its drivers, as performance was a joke. So right now if you have to choose between these two then definitely go for the X600. Of course, NVIDIA will soon be releasing their 6600 series, so keep your eyes open for it.
My real fear for the X600 is focused at upcoming DX9 games as this card will have a hard time dealing with them. The true power of this product is that it's 100% DirectX9 compatible and can render decently in such an environment. Feature wise it really is a nice product. For a reasonable amount of money, it offers everything you want for the time being; CRT, S-Video & DVI-I outputs and do not forget really good DVD/Media playback and a crystal sharp 2D desktop. Also the software bundle that HiS offers here is just awesome, which gives it additional value. Oh and hey... and that funny little iCooler does it's job really well.
Stability wise everything was peachy perfect on our test-platform, during the all test we did not notice artifacts or lockups and hey it overclocks really well. You can expect midlevel performance and an good set of features to date, you play all DirectX 7 and 8 titles in 1280x1024x32 with good performance and you are able to play most games with features like 4X AA and 8x Anisotropic filtering while maintaining reasonable framerates in 1024x768x32.
So there you have the bottom line, other then my upcoming games remark, it's a really nice card for sure. And the bundle that HiS is giving you is just awsome.
Excalibur Radeon X600 XT iCooler VIVO Limited Edition Company: HiS - Hightech Information System Website: www.hisdigital.com MSRP: $229
** Some photo's have been added after the review was released. The sample we received somehow did not have ram-sinks on it. HiS send them to us so we applied them and took some photo's.
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