The core runs at 550MHz and uses a 128-bit memory controller to communicate with 256MB of DDR2 memory that operates at an effective speed of 800MHz. We’ve previously tested a Sapphire Radeon X1300XT that used DDR3 memory with a speed of 1375MHz so this X1550 is actually quite conservative, but all is explained when you see the £45 retail price. If we accept that Radeon X1050 has no place inside a current PC, unless you simply want the cheapest possible way to support dual displays, then the X1550 is clearly positioned as the cheapest ‘proper’ ATI graphics card in the market, and it’s £10 cheaper than the GeForce 7300GT.
Before we put them head-to-head let’s take a look at the Sapphire package, which is surprisingly comprehensive. The software consists of PowerDVD 6 (stereo version) and Just Cause, while the bundle of cables is positively generous. There’s a length of s-video cable, a composite-video cable, an s-video to composite adaptor and a splitter cable that supports component-video.
The heatsink is a finned aluminium affair that covers the four memory chips on the face of the card, but it leaves the memory on the back of the card uncovered. It would be unfair to call the fan loud, but it seems to be louder than necessary as it spins rather fast and keeps the X1550 very cool.
We tested the graphics cards on an Asus P5N32-E SLI motherboard with an Intel Core 2 Duo QX6700 processor, 2GB of Corsair memory and a WD740 Raptor hard drive, using Catalyst 7.1 for the ATI cards and Forceware 93.71 for the 7300GT. ATI cards? Yes indeed, because we dug out an Asus EAX1300Pro from the review kit on the shelf, which currently retails for the same £45 as the Sapphire X1550 while, we imagine, stocks last.
Re: Power Requirements
I just got this card from Newegg. It does require a power connector and it comes with a cable to tie into your hard drive power if you do not have a spare molex. I have mine in an old Shuttle SK43G with a 200w PSU. Easy install, no problems. Sure beats onboard video. Noisy fan though, runs at full speed all the time.
Does anyone know the power requirements of this agp graphics card, does it require a separate connector, and will a 240w psu be enough ?
A lack of scale
I have a problem with this review: three cards were run through their paces and their responses plotted on three separate graphs for us to compare the results... but the three graphs used THREE SEPARATE SCALES.
What's the point of presenting the data in graphical formats (graphs) if you structure them so that the scales don't match anyway? Simply give us the numbers in a table, it would achive the same result and not make it look (at first glance) like the cheap-ass card outdid the more expensive cards.
X1300 good for only one thing
I bought an X1300, 512MB DDR2, for $120 Canadian. Every review I read suggested the card was a piece of crap; but it had one selling feature. The card I bought was to update my old intel gaming box (D865P) which has an AGP slot. The box now serves as a multimedia box running XP pro sp2. The card serves well enough on old hardware.I still have a couple of UT games and Quake4 on the box and they run OK. The biggest drawback is that since the card was installed my XP OS is dying the death of a thousand cuts and I'll probably have to do a clean install.
My experience and reading leads me to recommend staying away from anything touched by the X1300 series unless, like me, you want to light a fire in an old AGP slot.