So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Sapphire Radeon X1650 Pro
- Windows Vista certified, budget price
The Sapphire Radeon X1650 Pro isn't the hottest card on the market, but it's a good budget card if you won't be playing the latest games. The X1650 Pro has been Windows Vista certified and will let you run the Aero interface in Windows Vista.
Price$ 189.00 (AUD)
The Sapphire Radeon X1650 Pro is an affordable low-end graphics card suited to a number of roles. Although it's not top of the line, it's a cheap interim upgrade for anyone who wants to buy another, more powerful card in the future, such as a DirectX 10-capable card. The Sapphire X1650 Pro is also Windows Vista Ready and certified and will therefore run all the new visual perks offered by Windows Vista's Aero interface. However, if you're after a top gaming experience you may be disappointed. Even current game titles will push this card to its limits and you shouldn't expect it to run smoothly in high quality modes or at high resolutions.
Essentially, X1650 Pro GPU (graphics processing unit) upon which this Sapphire card is based, is a speedier version of the Radeon X1600 Pro GPU. It has more power to keep it on par with the demands of today's games. Just like the X1600 Pro, the X1650 Pro has 12 pixel shaders (also known as pixel pipelines) and five vertex shaders. However, the X1600 Pro has a core clock of only 500MHz and a memory clock of only 400Mhz (800MHz), while the X1650 Pro comes with a core clock of 600MHz and a far more impressive memory clock of 700MHz (1400MHz).
In 3DMark 2006, at a resolution of 1280x1024, without anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF), it scored 2819, just enough to run some older DirectX 9 based games. Without AF and with 4xAA it dropped down to a score of 2138, which is too low to comfortably play most current games. This result was backed up by our Quake 4 and FEAR benchmarks. In Quake 4 without AA it only achieved a frame rate of 47fps (frames per second), which is enough to play, but is not overly smooth. When 4xAA was turned on it dropped down to 35fps. In FEAR the Sapphire X1650 Pro only got 19fps at the default resolution of 1280x960, without AA turned on. With 4xAA it dropped down to 16fps. Neither of these settings in FEAR are going to be particularly fun to play on.
For connectivity, there are two DVI ports as well as a TV-Out port. The TV-Out port allows for a connection to be made to a TV via the S-Video and Component cables that supplied in the box. The Sapphire X1650 Pro draws all the power it needs through the PCI Express slot, so your power supply won't need a dedicated PCI Express power cable from your power supply. The package also includes a copy of The DaVinci Code game.
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