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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti, Carl Nelson [02.24.03]
Card Manufacturer: Powercolor
GPU Manufacturer: SiS
MSRP: $125

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As we mentioned, the chromed HSF unit feels nice and solid, and should be a good conductor of heat, especially since thermal compound comes pre-applied.  Also, the Xabre600 chip itself doesn't get that hot, and is designed to not be terribly hot, having been produced from a .13 micron process.  Maybe clocking the core up a bit will give SOMEWHAT of a performance increase; right now it's the Xabre's only hope.

We managed to boost the card up to a 335 MHz core, and the memory up to 660 DDR.  However, we saw the performance increase top out before we even started overclocking the memory, indicating that performance is either core-speed limited, or being limited by immature drivers.  Either way, it's not much of an overclock, and it still doesn't bring it up to a point where it can even take a glance at Ti4200 performance levels, as you can see:

Apparently there isn't a LOT of room for maneuvering on the core speed, even with the good heatsink and thermal paste.  The Xabre600 chip must already be running close to its limits.

So many ways to put this...



Was that clear enough?

Seriously, if the Xabre600 were to cost less than it does (a LOT less), we might recommend it as a "Only if you MUST spend the LEAST amount possible to say that you have DirectX8 capability".

And I use the term "capability" in the lightest way possible - while the Xabre600 is 'capable' of supporting DirectX8 features through a software shader emulator (which defers the work to the CPU), it barely gets by.  Add to that the fact that advanced shaders don't exist at all in OpenGL, and you have a DirectX8 Video Card only in name.

Basically, if you're looking to spend around $100-150, consider a Ti4200 or a Radeon 9000, but NOT the Xabre600.  If the price ever comes down to GF4MX territory, it might then be worth consideration, although you have to favour NVIDIA's stable drivers over SiS'.

FINALLY, we have something to feed our infamous mascot, Geoff The Goat!

  • Supports DirectX8 (barely)
  • Automatic gamma-correction may come in handy for Deathmatchers

  • Too expensive for the level of performance received
  • "Quality" mode actually LOWERS image quality
  • Nonexistent Shader support in OpenGL
  • Terrible Antialiasing performance renders AA all but impossible
  • No S-Video cable
  • Ugly PCB
  • Doesn't OC very well (your mileage may vary of course)

Final Score: 40%