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MSI Radeon X1300 PRO 256MB Preview
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Wednesday, 5th October, 2005

The MSI RX1300PRO-TD256E

MSI has followed its usual naming convention, with its Radeon X1300 PRO 256MB graphics card given the model name: RX1300PRO-TD256E. This can be rather cryptic to the casual reader, hence we will be using "MSI Radeon X1300 PRO 256MB" to reflect that card in this article instead. The card itself looks rather ordinary and not that much different from existing, budget Radeon cards. A small circular fan is sufficient to cool this card down, though admittedly there was not much heat generated thanks to the newly revised core that's using the latest process technology for GPUs. Core temperature was below fifty degrees and the fan was relatively quiet throughout the testing. The exposed memory chips from Infineon were barely warm to the touch when idling and was in the thirty plus degrees range when running benchmarks.

The back of the card is as plain and ordinary as the front, just like any entry level budget graphics card.

Here's the RV515 core, manufactured by Taiwanese foundry TSMC.

Infineon 2.5ns DDR2 RAMs are used. Altogether there are 256MB worth of memory on the MSI Radeon X1300 PRO.

This blank space on the PCB is probably reserved for an additional ASIC in higher end cards.

The card only had one DVI-I output, which is a bit disappointing considering that we had expected more from the next generation. Instead, we found the exact same set of connectors at the back of the card as any other existing budget card. We can't help but wonder whether things have really progressed at all. Hopefully we will see cards with dual DVI-I connectors from more forward-looking vendors. The chances may be rather slim as the low-end price bracket is all about minimizing the cost. That may also explain why there is an empty clearing on the PCB of the MSI Radeon X1300 PRO that would fit a Rage Theatre chip. Whether there would be a VIVO version of this card is really a decision left to the graphics card vendor to assess the suitability.

Nothing new for the rear I/O connectors as the analog VGA output stays.

The Catalyst Control Center that MSI has included has also been customized, with its own logo and some features seem to have been changed. For example, there is no information on the graphics hardware, e.g. the core clock and memory clock of the graphics card from the Control Center. Of course there were new features added too, like the Avivo related settings. The display driver used was version 8.173, which puts it slightly higher (and hence newer) than the latest one (8.172) found in the current Catalyst 5.9 package.

ATI's latest Avivo technology is available on the new Radeons, even the low-end Radeon X1300 PRO. The Catalyst Control Center that we received had quite a few options for Avivo that we have yet to explore fully.

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