Now Reading
PowerColor X1300 HyperMemory 2 512MB

Introduction

Over the past 6 months, the prices of top of the line graphics cards have become as “xtreme” as their affluent names. Laying almost £1000 on an SLI or Crossfire setup is not hard to do, of course this guarantees you the best frame rates money can buy. However, what about those of us who can’t afford such extravagances? Or those of us who aren’t bound to always running 1900*600 at 100 frames per second? For the £50 this card costs, the X1300 is a dream card for those that want to play their games or watch their movies with no problems at all, at comfortable detail levels; read on to find out why.

A Little about Powercolor

PowerColor Computer Inc. was established in April 1999 in the City of Industry, CA. We are responsible for the marketing, distributing and servicing of PowerColor brand video cards in the USA and Canada region as well as Latin America.

We are committed in providing high performance video cards at competitive pricing and back up our products with efficient, incomparable service. Unlike some other name brands that are merely a trading company in disguise and have no production facility of their own, PowerColor factory is ISO 9001 certified and our R & D department employs some of the top engineers in the field.

Card Specifications

Memory and Bus Width 128 MB DDR2 / 64 bit
Core speed 450 MHZ
Memory speed 200 MHZ x 2
OutputDVI / TV OUT / CRT
InterfacePCIE x16
Pixel pipelines 4
Direct X support 9.0
TV connector S-Video

Card Features

High Definition 3D Performance & Image Quality to Your PC

Step-up to serious 3D performance and image quality with the Radeon® X1300’s new ultra-threaded core architecture and ATI’s revolutionary AvivoTM video and display technology.

Step-up to serious 3D performance and high-definition image quality with ATI’s new Radeon® X1300. For enhanced visuals and graphic performance the Radeon X1300 combines a new ultra-threaded core architecture with ATI’s revolutionary AvivoTM video and display technology. Radeon X1300 delivers exceptional visual performance for PC entertainment and productivity.

Brilliant New Avivo™ Video and Display Technology

With Avivo™ technology the Radeon® X1300 connects to home entertainment devices and produces vibrant colors, ultra sharp images, true-to-life image reproduction, and the smoothest video playback ever offered by ATI.

With ATI’s Avivo™ technology the Radeon® X1300 connects to home entertainment devices and allows you to view your digital media and play games with vibrant colors, ultra sharp images, true-to-life image reproduction, and the smoothest video playback ever offered by ATI.

A New Era of 3D Gaming

Enjoy smooth texture rich gaming with advanced 3D features including: a 90-nanometer GPU, ultra-threaded processing architecture, and an advanced memory controller.

Enjoy a smooth gaming experience and control texture-rich games with advanced 3D features including: a 90-nanometer process GPU, a new ultra-threaded 3D processing architecture, an advanced memory controller and up to 512 MB GDDR3 RAM.

Opening Doors to Visual Realism and True-to-life image Graphic Animation

Radeon® X1300’s 90-nanometer technology and ultra-threaded shader core is optimized for Shader Model 3.0 to deliver high dynamic range visual effects and enhanced realism.

With industry leading 90-nanometer process technology and ultra-threaded shader core the Radeon® X1300 is optimized for Shader Model 3.0 to deliver new high dynamic range visual effects, enhanced adaptive anti-aliasing realism and lightening fast performance.

First Look

The package I was sent was pretty much OEM style packaging, plain white box with some black plastic wrapping straps. Opening up the box you have the card itself, wrapped nicely in static proof packaging to prevent any damage to the electrical components of the card. The package also contained a manual and a card specification sheet.


Once taking out the card from the packaging I got a closer look at the card. ATI’s typical racing red PCB, and a Powercolor cooler on top of the core, no RAM sinks, but that is expected from a card from this price range.




I was surprised to see no extra molex power slot on this board, as a lot of PCIe cards require their own power source straight from the PSU. Therefore anyone who wants a card that doesn’t require much power, or simply has a low powered PSU should consider this card.

Here we have the Digital (DVI) and Analogue video outputs, and the S-video connector

Installation

A breeze is all I can say really, simple and quick. While installing this, I noticed that this card is very low profile compared to some of its Nvidia counterparts; a bonus for anyone with a small rig.

Performance

For testing this card I put it through its paces in 3Dmark 01, 03 and 05. I also ran a FPS test in Call of Duty 2, on one of the Desert Korp levels. Using ATI-Tool, I also checked out the cards overclocking to see what it was capable of.

The test rig I was used for this was:

AMD 3500+
1gb OCZ PC4000 VX
DFI Lanparty SLI-DR
Hiper TypeR 580w

All components ran at stock speed. The drivers I used for this were the Omega ATI drivers based on the Catalyst 6.2 drivers; released 20/2/06.

3dmark 01

The card performed better than expected here, managing good frame rates throughout most of the tests.

3dmak03

Here the X1300 performed as expected really, not an awesome score by any means but a perfectly acceptable one considering the cost of the card.

3dmark05

Again, as expected really. The score of course is nothing to shout about, but it is still a score that rivals other cards in its price range.

Call of Duty 2 FPS Test

For this test I ran through the first 2 minutes of the 3rd desert level in the British Campaign. The settings I ran this test at are as follows:

Resolution1024 x 768
Refresh rate 60 Hz
Texture filer Trilinear
Anti-aliasingNone
Rendering method Auto
ShadowsYes
Dynamic lights Normal
Soften smoke edges World only
Number of corpses Medium

For the test the average FPS was 19, with a peak of 25 and the lowest point at 15. By dropping the texture filter to Bilinear and dropping the amount of dynamic lights to “Low”, I achieved a much better frame rate of 26 average and a peak of 32.

Overclocking

This is where this card really shines, it overclocked far beyond what I expected to, going from its original 450mhz, to a huge 650mhz with no crashes whatsoever. Unfortunately however, as soon as I tried to run any tests with any amount of overclock, the program would crash and I would have to reboot. If this card had a better performing cooler the Overclocks would be much more stable, making it possible for tests and games to be run at those overclocked speeds.

Conclusion

This card is fantastic value for money; that is the one statement I will stress with this card. This card will not give you huge benchmarks scores, nor will it play games at crazy detail levels. However, It will provide you with adequately detailed gaming and smooth frame rates. I can imagine that buying the 256mb version of this card would make games play much better at resolutions between 1024*768 and 1280*1204, but of course with that comes extra cost. For £50 you could expect a lot less, but with Powercolor’s x1300 128mb card you can expect a good standard of video card that will not let you down.

ProsCons
Great value for moneyCooler is insufficient for overclocking
Features of most modern cardsNo RAM heatsinks
Excellent overclockability
About The Author
Whoopty