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PowerColor X1900XT tiny

PowerColor X1900 XT 512MB

PowerColour brings a price-competitive ATI Radeon X1900 XT to the market

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Most buyers of this kind of card are concerned with its performance and the good news is there's plenty of it. Our test system consisted of an AMD FX-60 CPU, an Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard, 1GB of Crucial Ballistix memory and a Western Digital Caviar SE16 hard drive.

F.E.A.R. is one of the most resource-hungry games around at the moment and it almost got the card down on its knees at 2,048 x 1,536 resolution. On a 17 or 19in TFT, which will almost certainly be running at a lower resolution than that, and with a reasonably powerful CPU, you'll easily be able to turn on all the eye candy and not see the frame-rate drop below 60fps. The Half Life 2 numbers aren't that impressive, but this seems to be mainly because of CPU limitations. You don't really start to loose any performance until you run the maximum resolution with everything enabled.

Far Cry showed a similar pattern to Half Life 2 but with better performance numbers. The only difference here is that the frame drop-out starts slightly earlier, but it only just dipped below 60fps at the highest setting with everything enabled. The 3DMark scores are fairly impressive as well, although how much real-world relevance they have is open to question.

Besides the card itself, PowerColor supplies two DVI to D-sub adaptors, a component video adaptor, a ViVo dongle - for video in and out over either S-Video or composite video - an S-video cable and finally a composite video cable. There are no games or other goodies in the box, but considering that the card retails for £310 this isn't something I'd be too worried about.

Verdict

The PowerColor X1900XT is a very fast card for the money and it's a much more affordable option than the company's own X1900 XTX which doesn't offer a huge amount of extra performance considering the price difference. The downside is the fan noise - particularly when there are cards out there that perform as well but do so much more quietly. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

78%
PowerColor X1900XT tiny

PowerColor X1900 XT 512MB

The PowerColor X1900XT is the affordable option if you want a top-of-the-line ATI card. Shame about the fan noise...
Price: £310 inc. VAT RRP

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