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Editor: Julio Franco

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One of the first products that we received for review at the beginning of this year was the ATI Radeon X1600XT. We received two shiny new graphics cards built around this GPU from both ASUS and Gigabyte.

While the design of these passively-cooled videocards was quite impressive, their performance failed to impress. Given the price point at the time, I felt the X1600XT did not offer the user enough in the way of performance to justify the cost ($200 at introduction). As some of you may recall, when the Radeon X1600XT was unveiled there was already a lot of competition from NVIDIA in the same market segment. Therefore, I felt it was very important for ATI to impact the market with the X1600XT, which they failed to do.

This was roughly nine months ago and back then I found the performance of the X1600XT to be uninspiring. That said, no one expects a mid-range graphics card to blow your socks off. However even today, at slightly more than half the price the Radeon X1600XT (PCI Express) still makes very little noise, as products such as the GeForce 7600GS are just as appealing, and the considerably faster 7600GT is just a tad more expensive. That said, I recently learned that VisionTek was offering 256MB and 512MB versions of their Radeon X1600XT for those still stuck with AGP systems. I found this to be quite interesting as NVIDIA recently started offering their GeForce 7600GS to AGP users as well.

Currently, VisionTek is the only graphics card manufacturer offering an AGP version of the Radeon X1600XT, the rest of AGP cards out there are all based on the X1600 Pro chip. After I began testing this card, I also did a little homework. The average AGP version of the 7600GS retails for roughly $140, which to be honest is a little rich when compared to the PCIe versions.

To my surprise this is nothing next to the VisionTek X1600XT AGP, which costs a staggering $220 (256MB) or $280 for the 512MB version. Keeping in mind that PCI Express X1600XT cards cost ~$120, it is hard to believe VisionTek is asking this much premium, which obviously is trying to take advantage of the limited competition remaining in the AGP marketplace.

Nevertheless, it shall be interesting to see just how much stands between the GeForce 7600GS and the Radeon X1600XT on the AGP platform. Before we do that letís just take a moment to look at the VisionTek Radeon X1600XT AGP graphics card and what comes with it. The card itself features a decent single slot cooling solution that seems to work very well. The copper heatsink extracts the heat from the GPU and is then cooled by a 60mm fan, which operates at a very low volume. Package-wise there was not a lot to talk about, though the VisionTek Radeon X1600XT apparently does come with a "free full version Ubisoft DVD game" as stated on their website, though my sample did not include any.