Low to Mid-Range PCIe Video Card Roundup

Videocards/VGA Reviews by piotke @ 2006-05-19

In this roundup we compare seven different video cards which don?t cost you an arm and a leg. Using FRAPS and several popular games we test the performance and try to find the best value for your money. Want to play the latest games with a budget friendly graphics card? Read on to find out which one to pick.

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Specifications and Features // Low Range in Detail


All the video cards match their reference clock speeds except for the e-VGA products which come overclocked out of the box.

Build Process Core Clock Memory Speed Onboard Memory Memory Bus Pixel/Vertex Pipelines
Asus X1300 Pro Silent 90nm 600Mhz 800Mhz 256Mb GDDR2 128 bit 4/2
Asus X1600 XT Silent 90nm 590Mhz 1380Mhz 256Mb GDDR3 128 bit 12/5
Powercolor X800GTO 90nm 400Mhz 700Mhz 128Mb GDDR3 256 bit 12/6
Sparkle 6600GT 110nm 500Mhz 1000Mhz 128Mb GDDR3 128 bit 8/3
Club 3D X1800 GTO 90nm 500Mhz 1000Mhz 256Mb GDDR3 256 bit 12/8
nVidia Reference 7600GT 90nm 560Mhz 1400Mhz 256Mb GDDR3 128 bit 12/5
eVGA 7600GT CO 90nm 580Mhz 1500Mhz 256Mb GDDR3 128 bit 12/5
eVGA 7600GT CO SC 90nm 600Mhz 1560Mhz 256Mb GDDR3 128 bit 12/5

Features / In the Box

In the table below you can easily see what card has what video in/out features, if it requires extra power connector, what games/software you get inside the box, and also how loud the stock cooler is at different speeds (if supported). The noise was recorded at a 45° angle from the rear of the card at ~30cm, graphics card is installed on an open test bench, the ambient noise in the room was ~37dBA.

DVI/VGA? Video-Out? Video-In? External Power? Noise@30cm Included Software
Asus X1300 Pro Silent 1xDVI/1xVGA S-Video
No No passive cooling
  • King Kong SE
  • Asus X1600 XT Silent 1xDVI/1xVGA S-Video
    No passive cooling
  • Savage
  • Xpand Rally
  • BillyBlade
  • Mashed
  • Powercolor X800GTO 1xDVI/1xVGA S-Video
    No No 50.6dBA
  • PowerDVD
  • Sparkle 6600GT 1xDVI/1xVGA S-Video
    No No 50.7dBA
    Club 3D X1800 GTO 2xDVI S-Video
    6-Pin H: 60.7dBA
    M: 49dBA
    L: 41.5dBA
  • Cyberlink Powerpack
  • Colin McRae 2005
  • WWF Panda Game
  • eVGA 7600GT CO 2xDVI S-Video
    No No H: 58.2dBA
    L: 46.5dBA
    eVGA 7600GT CO SC 2xDVI S-Video
    No No H: 60.8dBA
    L: 46.9dBA

    $100-120 Gets you this:

  • Asus X1300 Pro Silent

    Madshrimps (c)

    The ATI X1300 Pro is quite low end, however that doesn’t mean it’s no good, the Asus SILENT version is ideal for the home theater PC, complete with passive cooling by use of heat pipes and a nifty swing open heatsink:

    Madshrimps (c)

    The Asus X1300 Pro Silent comes with the bare essentials, a DVI to D-Sub connector and an S-Video to Composite cable.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    Installed the backside of the heatsink clips open and sits quite close to the CPU socket area

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

  • Powercolor X800GTO

    Madshrimps (c)

    This card from Powercolor is based on the X800 series GPU from ATI which is last generation tech, the GTO has less pipelines and slower clock speeds but is also considerably less pricey, fitting into the low-end range.

    In the box you find a DVI->VGA connector, drivers CD and Cyberlink software to view/create/author DVDs. The card doesn’t feature GPU monitor support, and the fan speed is fixed at full speed at all times, so it’s not the most silent solution out there.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

  • Sparkle 6600GT

    I bought this card from eBay, two of them in fact, for an interesting price, new these 6600GT based nVidia cards can be found for ~€100. It’s a last generation mid-range product which has now come down in price to fit to low-range category.

    The Sparkle 6600GT is based of the reference design from nVidia, using the reference cooler, which seems to run at full speed at all times too, whether in 2D mode or 3D.

    Madshrimps (c)

    Let’s take a closer look at the mid-range products in this roundup ->
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