Video cards in general conjure up the images of Nvidia and ATI in most people’s minds, as they have the lion’s share of the market. SiS could very well change all of that with their latest introduction, the Xabre. While the Xabre is not as advanced as the GeForce4 or the Radeon 9700, it does stand up pretty well compared to the GeForce2. And since the TNT/GeForce2/ Radeon 7500 are the largest selling products in the Indian market anyway, it could potentially put a dent in the aforementioned companies’ bottom lines.
Its the first
|DirectX 8.1 compatible, 250 MHz GPU, 500 MHz memory, AGP 8x|
|Possible driver issues|
|Silicon Integrated Systems, Taiwan|
The Xabre will be introduced in three varieties: 400, 200 and 80. What we tested is the 400, which is the best of the crop. Based on a 0.15 micron manufacturing process, its GPU runs at 250 MHz and memory at 500 MHz effective (250 MHz DDR). There are no vertex shaders, but it does have 4 pixel pipelines with 2 texture units per pipeline like the GeForce 4. It has full DirectX 8.1 compatibility, and is the first card in the market to support AGP 8x—something whose advantage remains to be seen. Our reference card provided by SiS also had digital and s-video output ports.
We tested this video card on a 2.8 GHz P4 with a SiS 648 motherboard and 256 MB DDR-RAM. Comparison was done with a GeForce2 GTS that we used in the SiS 648 review last month. In both QuakeIII Arena and 3DMark2001, the Xabre outperformed the GeForce2 GTS by a wide margin. However, in Serious Sam, its performance dropped quite drastically. Since the Xabre is still in development, it is quite possible that there are driver issues that are holding it back here. We would expect these to be ironed out by the time the Xabre actually hits the shelves.
The Bottom line: We are impressed by the Xabre but can’t yet comment on how good a purchase it will make since we don’t know the price. If it is priced anywhere around the GeForce2 or even a little higher, it will make an excellent video card.
Anuj Jain at PCQ Labs