MSI Radeon HD3650 – latest technologies at affordable price
Details of the testing methodology
Admit it - it would be stupid to test a value video card at the settings we normally use for tests of high-end high-performance video cards. It is also not good to downstate the settings for the sake of tests and producing reports. There is only one way out left – to take a creative approach and downstate those settings which will give the maximum boost and have a minimum effect on the image quality. So, we'll be testing high-end video cards at the maximum settings in games, and now we are listing only the parameters which we changed.
Call of Duty 4:
Soften Smoke Edges: no
That was quite enough to raise the gameplay speed to a more comfortable experience.
Call of Juarez
Shadow size: 1024
Materials quality: middle
Texture quality: middle
Foliage quality: middle
Enchanted quality: off (only in the DX10 mode)
Need for Speed Carbon
Car reflection update: off
Motion blur: off
Need for Speed Pro Street Racing
Shadows on the motorway: middle
Motorway effects: minimum
Effects of cars: disabled
In Crysis, we used the middle quality settings, at Oblivion – we also reduced the quality settings from middle to low but left "enabled" those features which are more typical of high-quality modes, e.g., HDR (dynamic illumination). We did not change the quality settings in Prey, because this game is a too hard nut to crack even for almost all modern video cards. By the way, we ran tests in Crysis using the integrated test and not the SmartFPS.com as we did before. We had to do that because SmartFPS.com replaces the game settings with its own, which is unacceptable for us.
Now, a few words on the competitors and the way we selected them. As the rivals to MSI R3650-T2D512, used were Radeon HD2600XT with 256 MB DDR4 memory and GeForce 8600GT with 256 MB DDR3 memory. Our choice is explained by the retail prices for the video cards – all the three cost about the same. You might ask if the 256 MB of video memory is enough. We'll demonstrate the answer on the example of Crysis with the quality settings set to the middle level:
Crysis under Windows XP required 209 MB of video memory, so the 256 MB of onboard memory was quite enough.
Well, let's look at the results of tests!
Benchmarking and conclusions
Before looking at the test results, let's look at the configuration of our test bench and the versions of the drivers:
For Radeon video cards we used Catalyst 8.3 for both the operating systems, for GeForce 8600GT - ForceWare 169.21 and ForceWare 169.25 for Windows XP and Windows Vista, respectively. Traditionally, we are examining the results starting with 3DMark tests:
At 3DMark05 and 3DMark 06, MSI R3650-T2D512 took the second and the last place, respectively. On the one hand, that may seem a loss of the new product, but on the other hand - the difference is so minor to give a one-one verdict. So, let's look at the results of gaming tests which we ran using the 16x AF. Enabling it had a weak effect on the speed of video cards.
At Call of Duty 4, MSI R3650-T2D512 took the second place, and the predecessor Radeon HD2600XT anyway proved faster. However, there no wonder in that Radeon HD2600XT offers much higher frequencies than those of MSI R3650-T2D512.
At Call of Juarez, MSI R3650-T2D512 again took the second place, however, it lagged a bit behind GeForce 8600GT at 1600x1200, but that is not essential.
On moving to the DirectX 10, the Radeon video cards substantially lost in speed, and GeForce 8600GT took a lead. In fact, that is not the only game where NVIDIA's video card has taken a lead, so let's not take it too close. Admit it, the speed of the game leaves much to be desired, so why not to reduce the settings even more than that?
That's better, albeit not sufficient. However, we should admit that at 1024x768 it is quite possible to play at even this speed and play with pleasure.
At Crysis, this MSI's new product (or AMD – whichever you like) again took the second place.
On moving to the DirectX 10 mode, the game Crysis demonstrates its grown appetites for resources, so the speed of all the participants of the tests appears to be insufficient. Now let's see the speed performance in the low quality mode!
That's better! Needless to say, the game has lost greater part of its niceties and looked like the good old Far Cry, but on the other hand we got the chance to play it comfortably.
At Need for Speed Carbon, only GeForce 8600GT does not perform in the best way, but both the Radeon video card again demonstrates quite good results. MSI R3650-T2D512 again took the second place.
At Need for Speed Pro Street Racing, MSI R3650-T2D512 performs at about the same level as GeForce 8600GT, and Radeon HD2600XT took the first place due to the high clock speeds.
At Oblivion, MSI R3650-T2D512 yielded a bit to GeForce 8600GT, but the difference is so minor that this is not worth to be treated as a victory of the latter. By and large, all the video cards demonstrate almost similar results.
At Prey, MSI R3650-T2D512 loses to GeForce 8600GT albeit at 1024x768. As the resolutions go up, the NVIDIA's video card yields its positions, and the MSI's new product takes the second place.
Today's tests have shown that new Radeon HD3650 video cards have proved successful. Of course, they are slower than Radeon HD2600XT equipped with GDDR4, but they consume less power and therefore emit less heat, which became possible due to the finer 55-nm process technology. At the same time, let's not forget about support for DirectX 10.1 and the Display Port by these video cards, which may be in demand in future. In general, AMD Radeon HD3650 and, specifically, MSI R3650-T2D512 are inexpensive and rather functional video cards which will suit to those who are ready for tradeoffs in terms of settings in games.
- low power consumption and heat emission;
- efficient cooling system.
- noise coming from the cooling system.
||CPU & Memory: