VisionTek Radeon X1300 PCI review @ TechSpot

By on September 13, 2006, 4:10 AM
VisionTek offers one of the more unusual graphics card product lines out there and although they exclusively deal with ATI chips, they do not cover the entire line of Radeons. For example, while they do have a Radeon X1900XTX part, there is no X1900XT, or CrossFire master cards for that matter.

Despite this however, VisionTek still present us with a number of unique options, such as their exclusive Radeon X1600XT AGP card, and now the Radeon X1300 in PCI form.

Although, the Radeon X1300 is predominantly a PCI Express graphics card, VisionTek has ported it to the plain old PCI bus. You are probably wondering why they would even bother doing this, given they already produce AGP and PCIe versions of the Radeon X1300 supporting both 256MB and 512MB of memory. Well, there are a number of reasons why such a card could come in handy, for example HTPCs (Home Theater Personal Computer). These are generally very compact and use a low profile PCI design.

Read the complete review here.

User Comments: 19

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vnf4ultra said:
I have a few problems with the review.[QUOTE]The idea of a PCI card, as I understand it, is to offer a cost effective solution anyone can benefit from. For just $50 the low-profile PCIe version of the ASUS Radeon X1300 can be purchased, sure it only features 128MB of memory but at that price it shouldn't be an issue. With the money you save here why not just purchase a $60 Micro-ATX PCIe motherboard to suit?[/QUOTE]No a pci card is not inteneded to be "cost effective" compared to other cards. It's targeted toward a more niche market, so obviously the cost will be higher. It also uses a bridge chip to run on pci and probably required considerable time to design such a card, so it's understandable that it costs more. I agree if a user just wants more monitors, then they should just get a cheap pci card, but if their system only has pci slots (like many, many oem systems out there) then this would be the fastest option to let them run their games. Regarding the comment to just "buy a $60 motherboard" I have two objections. First, many users wouldn't feel comfortable doing a motherboard replacement, and second, most of the systems that only have pci slots have an oem copy of windows that is "locked" to the original motherboard, so if the owner doesn't want to blow another $85(xp home oem) or $135 (xp pro oem) on a new copy of windows, then they have to use their original motherboard. In my opinion it would have been more useful if the article compared the card to an integrated graphics chip, like intel's gma series, since most people who will get this card will not have a pci-e (or agp) slot and will be coming from integrated graphics.It also doesn't look like this card is marketed as a a low profile card, so I'm not sure why the author is complaining about the lack of a low profile bracket....and where are the 3dmark05 scores?
Julio said:
Hopefully the review's author will come and comment later on.Now, from my perspective I agree that the PCI Radeon X1300 is overpriced. Like it was pointed out on the final conclusions maybe if this card carried a smaller premium over PCIe card it would be different but that is not the case.Visiontek touts this card as a gaming part, and it fails to deliver compared to competition. As an alternative to dual displays, you could get a much cheaper card that offer such feature as well.I guess you are right regarding the motherboard suggestion in part, although not only OEM system owners will be reading this article but DIY guys as well.
[-Steve-] said:
As I said in the review if you want to game there is no point purchasing this graphics card as itís really to slow to do so and a 7600GS costs the same amount. Investing over $100 on such a card is a waste for gaming. I know it is targeted toward a more niche market and thatís why I recommended that most just bite the bullet and upgrade.I would feel more comfortable taking on a motherboard upgrade rather than blowing over $100 on a slow PCI graphics card. That is an interesting scenario having a copy of windows that is ďlockedĒ to the original motherboard. Not saying that this case does not exist but I have never seen it before. Generally you have to reactivate the copy over the phone, takes about a minute.Thatís a good point, but I donít have a motherboard that supports GMA without a PCI Express slot. Again I would rather upgrade my motherboard if itís that far out of date, kill two birds with the one stone. The last thing I would want to do it add a slow graphics card worth over $100 to an out dated motherboard or out dated system for that matter. As I said in the review there is no point comparing the VisionTek X1300 PCI to anything less, anything as fast as or slower than this graphics card is useless for gaming anyway.[i]It also doesn't look like this card is marketed as a a low profile card, so I'm not sure why the author is complaining about the lack of a low profile bracket.[/i]Yeah well if you take a closer look it is a low profile card...[i]...and where are the 3dmark05 scores?[/i]I ran out to time waiting for the Radeon X1300 to finish the 2005 tests to I rolled back to 2003 where it scored a lovely 2450pts at 1024x768.
f1n3st said:
I completely agree with vnf4ultra, here is what i put in the forums, compared it to a card with 128-bit interface on a PCI-e Bus. Honestly, this is like the dumbest review out there, because if they had put the 128-bit memory on there, it would exceed the PCI bus' bandwith capability. Why not compare it to a 5500FX or a 6200, or that Radeon"Of course, if you are limited to the PCI bus for one reason or another this VisionTek Radeon graphics card is probably the most powerful solution out there."He said it himself. It really isnt fair to the company. Most computers dont have an AGP or PCI-e bus, so this is still the most powerful solution for PCI, and icant run FEAR and get 50FPS on 1024x768 resolution on my 5500FX. I get like 30fps on 640x480. I will write my own review soon, comparing it to my 5500FX.And by the time you uninstall your stuff from your current mobo, break a few things, and buy a new mobo, it will be 200$ with OEM windows. Im writing my own review of this card tomorrow.And another thing, i looked in to a new mobo, but if i got a new mobo, i would have to buy another new mobo when i build my C2D system in december.[Edited by f1n3st on 2006-09-13 21:36:35]
viper770 said:
I think the review makes a number of valid points and I think you missed them all. I also donít think you should tackle something as complex as a review if you are going to break your motherboard during installation LOL well said!
f1n3st said:
Umm, i probably wouldnt break my mobo, but some people are nubs, and would bend pins, break stuff, and what not.
[-Steve-] said:
1150[/url]Speak for yourself, I trust most people would take their time and get the job done right.
vnf4ultra said:
[b]Originally posted by [-Steve-]:[/b][quote] Not saying that this case does not exist but I have never seen it before. Generally you have to reactivate the copy over the phone, takes about a minute.[/quote]All oem copys of windows are like this. It is breaking the Microsoft eula to use an oem copy of windows on any motherboard but the first one on which it was activated(except motherboard failure, and in that case, you have to use an identical board). Yes it can be done to activate it on a second board, but it isn't right to do so according to Microsoft.So to get a new motherboard most people would have to buy another copy of windows to be legit.[quote] In general, OEM software may not be transferred from one system to another system. However, the computer system can certainly be updated with new components without the requirement of a new software license. The only exception to this is the motherboard 1. If the motherboard is replaced 2, the computer system is deemed "new" and a new license would be required. Other PC components may be upgraded, including a hard drive. Though if the hard drive 3 is replaced/upgraded, the operating system must first be removed from the old hard drive. To restate: the operating system is "married" to the computer system on which it is originally installed.[/quote][url]
ula.htm[/url] I do agree $110 is a good bit of money, but my local walmart has the pci fx5500, which is much slower for even more money ($130 last time I checked in store).I was saying the card isn't marketed as a low profile, I can see that the pcb is "low profile," but many cards have small pcbs without having a low profile bracket, sometimes even if they're marketed as low profile. I think one of the most popular uses for this card will be for people with cheaper dell computers. The lower to midrange dell's only have pci (or pci-e x1) and these system are very popular due to bargain basement prices. Many times these users just want to "spend a hundred bucks" to get a pci video card to run "the newest game." They don't want to try to upgrade their dell motherboard, buy(and install) windows xp, and purchase a pci-e or agp card. They also don't want to have to buy a new computer, since the most likely just bought their new dell not too long ago, and already spent a few hundred bucks on it. They just want to slap in a pci card an be able to run the game, if it be at low settings, so what, it can run the game, unlike their integrated intel graphics. An x1300 pci is a huge leap over integrated, even though it's not a powerhouse card by any means.Are you a Techspot staff member steve? I see you do quite a few reviews, and usually do a really good job, but why aren't you listed in the Techspot staff if you're a hardware reviewer for Techspot?[url][/url]
[-Steve-] said:
I see what you are saying, but since these are techie reviews for computer enthusiasts I see more value telling the readers what they should probably purchase. I guess rather than what they can purchase, if they are after a quick and very limited fix. If you are prepared to spend $110 on a graphics card because you donít want to upgrade your old system to get something better then we are on two different wave lengths to begin with. Therefore I cannot really relate to this kind of user. I will always go with the best value option, even if it is a harder road to travel initially.That said anyone who plans on playing anything other than solitaire has no one but themselves to blame if they are limited to the PCI bus. Best to make a mends now I believe and make the upgrade before you invest any more cold hard cash in a dead platform.
sndlogic said:
This was not a professional review of a PCI card. This was a 4-page anti-PCI rant. Everybody knows PCI isn't for gaming. That's a given. You didn't even bother to go over the specs of the card. What a waste of an article.The whole point of getting a PCI card is to use in a PCI-only computer. For example, most business class, small computers only have PCI options. I know, I've been in the business for 21 years. And they aren't the least bit interested in gaming (at least when the boss is around :) )What many of us in the industry have been waiting for is a PCI solution for Vista, and this seems to be it. Vista Aero requires DX9 and SMS3. This card has it. We're all very excited about it.Fact is, this may be the only PCI card out that can even some a little gaming. That's newsworthy!I would've appreciated a real review of the card, and what it can do, as opposed to all the other PCI cards out there.[Edited by sndlogic on 2006-09-14 11:09:54]
Julio said:
I won't address specific opinions but I will emphasize the following...TechSpot targets the PC enthusiast and gamer.Visiontek markets this PCI card as a gaming card.According to our tests the card does not do gamers a favor running today's games smoothly.Finally because of the retail price of the product we find there is more value in other options, especially in the longer run.Now, you may still think this product's price is acceptable, and that is up to you, but I think we have made our job by delivering our impressions after some hands-on experience, etc.PS: Vista's aero glass is nice indeed, but a lesser videocard does not mean you won't be able to run the OS, just not all the eye-candy. Radeon 9250s are not officially supported but apparently can still run Aero glass. I guess that will be seen once the OS actually ships next year.
Julio said:
[b]Originally posted by vnf4ultra:[/b][quote]Are you a Techspot staff member steve? I see you do quite a few reviews, and usually do a really good job, but why aren't you listed in the Techspot staff if you're a hardware reviewer for Techspot?[url][/url][/quo
e]Steve is indeed a staff member (otherwise he wouldn't be posting articles wouldn't he?) ;). As for the staff page, thanks for the reminder. We update it constantly but Steve is still missing.
vnf4ultra said:
I suppose the real difference of opinion we are having is over whether this card can handle gaming. I believe after looking at the benchmarks that the card looks like it would be plenty of card to run most any modern game at 800x600 or 1024x768 with either low or medium settings at a reasonable framerate(which I define as about 30fps avg or higher). It seems to me that you believe that if it can't produce 60fps at higher resolutions 1280x1024+, then you say it basically can't run modern games. I guess this is a subjective opinion though as to what is "acceptable" as far as resolution, quality, and speed. Each person has their own opinion on what is "playable," and I guess I have lower standards than you do (which is OK). :)P.S. I hope I didn't come across as offensive before, if I did I didn't mean to, I just disagree somewhat with the conclusion of the article, but that doesn't mean you're wrong, you're entitled to your opinion, as am I.
[-Steve-] said:
I think it all comes back to what ďviperĒ said a few pages back. I tried to make several points and they have all been ignored or taken the wrong way. Basically it boils down to this graphics card being useless for gaming and not just because of poor quality visuals and low frame rates. For half the price you can get a graphics card that can deliver 100% more performance. You play half as much, get twice the performance and then some.Also one reader mentioned Vista support. Again I come back to the cost issue. If you are going to purchase a new and relatively expensive O/S why not forget about spending $110 on a product that will get you know where and spend it on a new motherboard/graphics combo? This way you can enjoy 110% more performance :)
Julio said:
Positive or not, I have really liked the fact that readers have come to express their opinions with this latest article. It has happened in previous ones but I guess never to this extent since there are some disagreements ;).
ageisp0lis said:
oops[Edited by ageisp0lis on 2007-01-17 22:03:43]
COLDshiver said:
A quick update, it seems that it is the PCI bus itself that is limiting the card. The card can actually do a lot more than the PCI bus lets it. This card was the only option i had for my computer (all i have are PCI and PCI-X slots, not even AGP)without upgrading everything. Today, i did a quick experiment because i had run out of PCI slots to put in a USB card.I put this card onto a PCI-X slot and WOW! I had a huge performance boost! I know that PCI-X offers more bandwidth so i just decided to try it. So i guess anyone with only PCI and PCI-X slots (NOT PCI-EXPRESS, PCI-X is different) i suggest putting this card on the PCI-X slot. I guess PCI is limiting the card because of it's smaller bandwidth and PCI-X offers double (i think) so it should be a big performance boost.-EDIT-Just some performance boosts i got:Battlefield 2:On PCI: Only playable at the lowest settings, everything low or none, 800x600. This would only offer about 20-30fps and sometimes with too much happening, it would go down to 10.On PCI-X: I have everything maxed out, all settings on High except i haven't turned on AA (might try that though, i don't really care much for AA personally) at 1280x1024 I get on average about 40-50 and goes upwards of 70+ when i'm in small rooms. The lowest i ever saw it go down was 35 once.[Edited by COLDshiver on 2007-03-18 17:44:05]Guild Wars: On PCI: Basically Unplayable. I got 2-3 fps and the most i could do was basically use the game to chat with my guildmates at my guild hall. On PCI-X: i play everything maxed out at 1280x1024 (native resolution of my LCD). Not that great though, i go down to 8-10 fps when i'm in town. But when i go outside to fight and when in battles (Like RA or AB) everything is fine.[Edited by COLDshiver on 2007-03-18 17:46:45]
arjabski said:
I just purchased this card a few days ago, and I can tell you that it was a major improvement over the pathetic 64 mb onboard "Intel Extreme Graphics" that came with this system I inherited. It's an HP Pavilion 523W with a 400/533 system bus that originally came with a 2.0 Ghz processor that I've upgraded to a 2.4. I installed 512 MB of memory to get to a gig, and also changed out the 250W power supply to a 450W that a friend gave me when he upgraded to a 650W for his system. It is a good system by itself, but the only drawback was that it did not have an AGP slot. My old system was equipped with a 4X Agp slot, and I had a Radeon 9250 card in it. It worked just fine but unfortunately, this system needed a PCI card to upgrade the graphics. I bought this card only to give my system the ability to run Windows Vista if I ever decide to upgrade it to that OS, and to allow it to run games such as Black and White 2. No one who is even the slightest bit tech savvy thinks that this card can run the games you've tested it with, because it's not the graphics card in question, but the whole system. My computer with the best graphics card available for the PCI cannot run Quake, or Fear, or whatever other cutting edge game you think you want to test on it. It simply doesn't have the processor or bus speed capable of handling games like the ones you've "tested" it with. I'm happy with this card simply because it gives me the ability to have PCI Express cabability on a computer that pre-dates PCI-e technology. You can claim that it's better to upgrade your system than buy this PCI card, but $110 dollars is a whole lot less than the four or five hundred dollars it would cost to buy another mobo, psu, processor, etc, to upgrade the system to be able to play the games you supposedley tested this card with. I'm sure anyone with a wife, children, and who is over the age of 30 will understand what I'm talking about. We have more things to do with our lives than to play games on our computers.
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