SiS Xaber 600
Since the product we've been
evaluating for you here today, was not a retail level
board but rather a "reference design", we'll reserve our
standard Heat Meter Rating system but will rate retail
OEM products, as they come into our labs for evaluation. SiS' Xabre
600 is an interesting product that faces a few
challenges before it is able to take on the GeForce4 MX 400 and RADEON
9000 Pro in the mainstream market. To begin with,
performance is impressive, considering SiS' relative
inexperience, compared to the two other major players in
the market. Even with the texture quality slider
maximized, the SiS card holds its own. Set to
"Normal," the card does even better, teaching both the
MX and 9000 Pro cards a thing or two.
Unfortunately, the 3D image quality is simply
unsatisfactory at that setting.
Price is the
second consideration SiS will need to address. We
haven't yet received word about the final price for a
Xabre 600 board, but with GeForce4 MX 440 cards
available online for around $60-75 dollars and RADEON
9000 Pro cards for close to $80, SiS would have to dip
even lower in order to attract attention.
consideration, and the point that resonated with us, is
that the Xabre 600 scales with processor performance.
Mated to a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, the graphics processor is
able to compete. But according to SiS' own graph,
the Xabre wouldn't do nearly as well on a lower-end
system. Now, it seems a little unreasonable to
assume that someone would spend nearly $700 on a processor, yet
settle for a value targeted graphics card, rather than a
high end solution. More
likely, the Xabre 600 would find itself in a 2GHz
Celeron system or an Athlon XP 1500+ machine. As
indicated by SiS, the performance picture in either
situation wouldn't be nearly as optimistic.
the Xabre 600 is a notable addition to the mainstream
market, we're even more excited about what SiS could
achieve by using the Vertexilizer engine on a higher-end
card. SiS' roadmap outlines plans for a Xabre II
in the first half of 2003 that looks to be a DirectX
9-compliant part. Moreover, it also appears to
feature eight rendering pipelines. Could it be a
high-end contender? Only time will tell.
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