The Good Affordable; passable 3D game performance.
The Bad Doesn't differentiate itself enough from other products in ATI's product family; $10 more gets you a faster card.
The Bottom Line ATI's Radeon lineup features a confusing array of cards. The budget Radeon X1300 XT is a good card for the money, but we recommend the faster Radeon X1650 Pro because it costs only $10 more.
ATI Radeon X1300 XT
Let us count the suffixes. There's XT, there's GT, and then you have GS, GTO, LE, Pro, XTX, GTX, and GX2. If you're confused about where each of those seemingly arbitrary tags falls in the 3D graphics card hierarchy, you're not alone. ATI and Nvidia have divided and subdivided the current generation of graphics cards so finely, you can likely find a 3D card for every $5 increment over $50. We find this thin slicing frustrating, especially since you have to factor in the falling prices of older cards. ATI's Radeon X1300 XT doesn't help the situation. Its $89 price tag makes it a budget-price card, and it brings passable performance in nearly all current 3D games. The problem is that for only $10 more you can get the faster Radeon X1650 Pro. Because $10 will get you better performance, we wouldn't buy the X1300 XT unless case constraints make a smaller card necessary.
We like choice, but we become annoyed when too much choice unnecessarily complicates what should be a simple issue. And that's what's going on here. Consider the clock speeds of the Radeon X1300 XT and the Radeon X1650 Pro, both scheduled to hit stores on September 14. The X1300 XT features a core clock speed of 500MHz and an 800MHz memory clock; the X1650 Pro goes 600MHz and 700MHz, respectively. They each provide the same number of vertex (12) and pixel (5) pipelines, and each comes with 128MB of DDR-3 video memory (although you can find each from ATI partners with 256MB). In other words, same card, different clock speeds.
Those clock speeds make a difference in our performance tests, but only barely. We advocate in general getting the best parts you can afford for the sake of longevity and performance, which is why we pick the Radeon X1650 Pro over the Radeon X1300 XT. While we're glad to see that both cards hover around 60 frames per second on Quake 4 and Half-Life 2: Lost Coast at reasonable image quality and screen resolution settings, the Radeon X1650 Pro is faster throughout.