SiS Xabre 600 Impressions

SiS Xabre 600 Impressions - Page 5


SiS Xabre 600: Impressions
The GPU That Scales With Your Processor

By: Chris Angelini
November 26, 2002


SiS Xaber 600 Final Analysis

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.  

The final 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. 

So, while 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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Tags:  Pre, SIS, impressions, IM

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