VisionTek X1300 PCI Video Card Review


Why a PCI card?

Yes, you read that right. A video card that uses the classic PCI bus: all 33Mhz of it. VisionTek has offered a few unique options with the ATI graphics chips they use. They are the only manufacturer of a Radeon X1600XT with an AGP flavor, and now this X1300 with PCI interface.

The Radeon X1300 was designed to be a PCI Express graphics chip, and VisionTek has ported it to the classic PCI bus. I wondered why anyone would even bother doing this, since there are already tons of AGP and PCI-Express versions of the X1300 with both 256 and 512MB of memory. There are a few reasons why a classic PCI card might be handy, especially for compact Home Theater PC, which would benefit from a low profile video card.

A lot of modders don’t go out and spend a fortune on a top-of-the-line Home Theater PC. They usually construct one out of spare parts they have lying around from previous upgrades, and they may have an old motherboard that doesn’t feature AGP (or have blown their AGP bus, as I have). Some of the old compact Shuttle systems only feature PCI expansion slots, so a PCI version of the X1300 may be just what the doctor ordered.

There might be some demand for a PCI video card with a modern chip, but it appears to be a niche item for those who still want to get the last once of usefulness from antequated hardware. VisionTek stated upon releasing this new graphics card that “Not all computers even nowadays feature PCI Express or AGP slots for graphics cards, however, virtually all PCs feature PCI slots.” Because of this, this X1300 is universally compatible with every motherboard made within the past 15 years.