PowerColor X1550 512MB Extreme Video Card Review
Reviewed by: Sagittaria
Reviewed on: February 12, 2007
Price: $100 USD
IntroductionThe X1550 series is ATI's new, refreshed line of entry-level cards, designed to replace the highly successful X1300 series. So of course, the X1550 is going to be faster, but even faster due to the fact that PowerColor have overclocked it by 50mhz, earning it the "Extreme" name. Now, why is this good? You get a faster card guaranteed to run great, without taking a big chunk out of your wallet. To top it all off, it comes from PowerColor, a long-time and extremely reputable brand known throughout the world.
You've probably seen PowerColor before, as they are one of ATI's long time partners - from 1999 to be exact. Ever since, they've been turning out great video cards in all ranges, whether it be budget or high end. Today, they are one of the top brands, established as one of the top manufacturers in the ATI video world. This is therefore likely to be another great bang-for-the-buck card from PowerColor.
Starting off the review is of course the box. The same style of box used on most of their entry-level products, it isn't much larger than the video card itself.
Closer Look ContinuedHere is everything the package includes.
Closer Look ContinuedPowerColor chose to utilize the standard two-hole heat sink design. So all you have to do to remove it is squeeze the two pins on the bottom of the card and out it goes. Here is the HSF (Heat Sink Fan) removed.
Now, why am I showing this to you? The RV515 is the same chip used in the X1300s. Yes - the very card that it is set to replace. This is why I used the term "refresh" in the beginning of this review - it is basically a tweaked X1300. However, it will still be interesting to see how well it fares.
Closer Look ContinuedWhat about the memory used on the card?
As for the 512mb of memory, this would also fall under the umbrella of 'shady' marketing. Most games and applications today will rarely use more than 256mb of memory, which coupled with the fact that this video card is not exactly powerful enough to even utilize it effectively, just makes it look useless. It's kind of like sticking 2 gigs of ram into a Pentium I - more of a marketing gimmick than anything.
PowerColor was kind enough to throw in some freebies! They included a shiny pen, clear stickers, and a notepad.
That about wraps up the Closer Look part of the review, now for installation and configuration.
Installing this card, or any sort of peripheral card for that matter is extremely easy. Simply remove a PCI cover that is adjacent to the PCI-E slot, push in, and screw.
OS: Microsoft Windows XP SP2
Well, the only thing to do really is to install the drivers. Let's take a look at the software included on the CD first though.
Installing the drivers is just like installing any other piece of software, it only takes 20 seconds.
Now let's get the specs.
|Part Number||X1550 512MB DDR2|
|2nd Part Number||47125050 20778|
|Memory & Bus Width||512 MB DDR2 / 128 bit|
|Core Speed||600 MHz|
|Memory Speed||400 MHz x2|
|Output||Dual DVI/TV Out/HDTV|
|Direct X Support||9.0|
|Remark||RoHS / Windows Vista™ ready / CrossFire™ ready|
High Definition 3D Performance & Image Quality to Your PC!
¡E Step-up to serious 3D performance and high-definition image quality with ATI’s new Radeon® X1550. For enhanced visuals and graphic performance the Radeon X1550 combines a new ultra-threaded core architecture with ATI’s revolutionary AvivoTM video and display technology. Radeon X1550 delivers exceptional visual performance for PC entertainment and productivity.
Brilliant New Avivo™ Video and Display Technology
With ATI’s Avivo™ technology the Radeon® X1550 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.
Opening Doors to Visual Realism and True-to-life image Graphic Animation
With industry leading 90-nanometer process technology and ultra-threaded shader core the Radeon® X1550 is optimized for Shader Model 3.0 to deliver new high dynamic range visual effects, enhanced adaptive anti-aliasing realism and lightening fast performance.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo e6600 @ 2.4ghz
Mother Board: eVGA 680i SLI "AR"
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 2x1gbDDR2 1000 @ 800mhz 4-4-4-12
Video Card: PowerColor X1550 Extreme 512mb PCI-E
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
Hard Drives: 2xWestern Digital 80gb SATA2 8mb RAID-0
PSU: Etasis 850watt Gaming
Case: Apevia X-Pleasure
- PowerColor X1550 Extreme entry-level
- Sapphire X850XT PCI-E 256MB mid-range
- eVGA 8800GTS 640MB high-end
- ATI Catalyst 7.1 (X1550 & X850XT)
- nVIdia Forceware 97.22 (8800GTS)
It is a video card, so we naturally test it by running games for benchmarks! In all of our benchmarks, we test at the following resolutions: 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024, today's average resolutions. Also, all our games are tested at approximately 3/4s of their maximum quality. As usual, all the results are average FPS. I will be comparing this entry-level card with a mid-range, X850XT, and a high-end card, the 8800GTS.
Far Cry, A slightly dated game but it still gives many of today's latests cards a run for their money. It is still a beautiful game which revolutionized the gaming industry in graphics.
- Maximum quality option, Direct3D rendered
- Level: Volcano
- Pixel shader: model 2.0b
- Antialiasing: 4×
- Anisotropic filtering: 8×
- HDR: disabled
- Geometry Instancing: disabled
- Normal-maps compression: disabled
- FSAA: x4
- Anisotropic: x16
- Effects: Max
- Computer: High
- Soft Shadow: Off
Call of Duty 2
- Anti-aliasing: x4
- Texture Filter: Trilinear
- Quality: High
- Aspect Ratio: [4:3]
- Antialiasing: 4×
- Anisotropic filtering: 16×
- Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) disabled
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- 3/4 Quality Automatic
Of course being staff of OverclockersClub, I absolutely had to overclock it even more! I ran ATI Tool .26, an ATI overclocking utility and tried seeing how much further it could go. Unfortunately, I couldn't even get past 5mhz on both the core or the memory. It appears that PowerColor has it maxed out already.
Generally speaking, the smaller the fan, the louder it is going to get. But, this isn't the case here. At full load, with no other fans running, I could barely hear this fan.
ConclusionWell, this card is ATI's new line of entry-level cards and it did quite well at a hundred dollars. It played just about all of our games at acceptable resolutions and stacked up very well in terms of price and performance. It is silent, doesn't require external power, small and made by PowerColor. Best of all, it comes overclocked already! A good card for the average Joe and casual gamer on a budget.
However, the only real gripe I have about it is the price. It is a brand new series, so naturally it comes out a little bit expensive. It might be wise to wait for the price to come down before buying this.
- PowerColor Service!
- Good Performance
- Runs Cool
- Great for the Average Joe