Sapphire X1600 Pro CrossFire ReviewWed, Apr 26, 2006 - 12:00 AM
So after looking at our testing we are left with mixed feelings about the Sapphire X1600 Pro running in CrossFire. It was able to provide a solid gaming experience in all situations, but left something to be desired at times when compared to single cards costing around $200. CrossFire in F.E.A.R. is not working correctly and left us scratching our heads double and triple checking the entire system. No matter how many times we ran the test the numbers kept coming back the same.
On the other hand, when run in CrossFire the X1600 Pro provided a huge gain in playable performance in all but two of our tests over a single X1600 Pro. This is great news for anyone that already has an X1600 Pro and was looking for an inexpensive upgrade.
There are several things to consider here rather than just the numbers in the graphs.
- Noise- With a 7600 GT and X1800 GTO you’re going to have a louder computer. X1600 Pro CrossFire was still much quieter under a gaming load than either the 7600 or X1800.
- Power- The Sapphire X1600 Pro CrossFire system will consume just a bit more power than the X1800 or 7600, though you don’t need additional power connectors like those required on the X1800 GTO.
- Heat- The Sapphire X1600 Pro CrossFire cards spread the heat out a bit compared to the single cards. Even a low flow case would keep the pair of cards cool and quiet.
- Motherboard- For CrossFire to work you must have a CrossFire enabled motherboard. While the price for some of these boards is relatively low it’s still something that must be considered. The board we tested with today is much more expensive than the Xpress1600 boards, while the single cards will run on any motherboard with a PCI-E slot.
- Features- A pair of Sapphire X1600 Pro’s gives you the option to use up to 4 monitors when not running in CrossFire. I don’t know many people running more than 2 per system but could be something to consider.
So we see pros and cons for both. It’s really going to come down to what you want out of your system and how much you want to spend. Not everyone wants to spend $200+ on a single graphics card because for some it’s simply overkill. If you are tight budget now and were limited to a single X1600 Pro, you could always add another to give your system a boost.
The X1600 Pro CrossFire is a step in the right direction for ATI and for CrossFire. A bridgeless, uncomplicated multi-GPU system is a breath of fresh air especially for ATI and shows that they are working on the current drawbacks of their high end solutions.
As far as the performance of the Sapphire X1600 Pro in CrossFire goes, if you already have a X1600 Pro you are in great shape because there is a clear upgrade path here if later on down the road you decide to upgrade to CrossFire. But, my recommendation would be that if you are planning to spend around $200 on 3D gaming that you should look at either the X1800 GTO or 7600 GT. The 7600 GT is now well under $200 and is the best value for this price range.
Legit Bottom Line: The Sapphire X1600 Pro CrossFire system provides a good gaming experience for it’s price range but isn’t compelling enough to recommend over a faster single card. If you already own one Sapphire X1600 Pro there is no reason not to upgrade to CrossFire and give your system a huge boost in gaming performance for just a little bit of money.