Jaton Xabre 400 64MB

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
September 1, 2002
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21882
This is a nice budget card, althought there are better cards for a bit more money.
Tags Graphics

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Page 1
<B>Intro</B>:
Since the introduction of the SiS Xabre 400 Video Chipset, I have been intrigued by the price/performance of it. I knew that it was targeted towards the ultra budget market, and mostly as an upgrade from the integrated video offered on some motherboards (of course with an AGP slot as well). Late July, <a href="http://www.jaton.com">Jaton</a> sent me their latest card based on the SiS Xabre 400 chipset.

<B>Xabre Specs</B>:


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<table width="75%" border="0" cellspacing="3" cellpadding="3">


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<td class='titlebar2'>
<h3><a href="#3d"></a>High Performance & High Quality 3D Acceleration<a Name="3d"></a></h3>
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<blockquote><font face="Verdana" size="-1">Built-in a high quality 3D engine <br>
Support DirectX 8.1 Pixel Shader ver. 1.3.<br>
Support Bump Mapping, Cubic Mapping and VolumeTexture <br>
Supports 2X/4X full scene anti-aliasing <br>
Built-in high performance VLIW T&L engine<br>
Support OpenGL two side lighting<br>
Support OpenGL primary and secondary color merging <br></font></blockquote>
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<td class='titlebar2'>
<h3><a href="#3d"></A>Display Memory Interface<a name="Mem"></a></h3>
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<td><blockquote><font face="Verdana" size="-1">Supports DDR SDRAM <br>
Supports 64MB memory configurations <br></font></blockquote></td>
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<td class='titlebar2'>
<h3><a href="#3d"></a>MPEG-2/1 Video Decoder<a name="MPEG"></a></h3>
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<td><blockquote><font face="Verdana" size="-1">Motion Compensation layer decoding architecture <br>
Supports up to 20 M bit/sec bit rate decoding <br>
Supports VCD, DVD and HDTV decoding <br></font></blockquote></td>
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<td class='titlebar2'>
<h3><a href="#3d"></a>High Performance 2D Acceleration<a name="2D"></a></h3>
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<td><blockquote><font face="Verdana" size="-1">Built-in hardware command queue <br>
Built-in Direct Draw Accelerator <br>
Built-in GDI 2000 Accelerator <br>
Maximum 64 MB frame buffer with linear addressing <br>
Supports AGP8X 533 MHz data read for all 2D engine functions <br></font></blockquote></td>
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<td class='titlebar2'>
<h3>
Video Acceleration
<a name="Video"></a></h3>
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<td><blockquote><font face="Verdana" size="-1">Supports 4 fields per-pixel motion detection de-interlace function, video sources from MPEG decoder, <br>Video capture and AVI interfaces.
Supports down scaling function and scaling vector as 1/2, 1/4. <br>
Supports de-interlaced and 1/2 down scaling function <br><br>640x480 res. <br>
800x600 res. <br>
1024x768 res. <br>
1280x1024 res. <br>
1600x1200 res. <br>
1920x1440 res. <br>
2048x1536 res. <br>
</font></blockquote></td>
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<td class='titlebar2'>
<h3><a href="#3d"></a>OS Support<a name="os"></a></h3>
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<td><blockquote><font face="Verdana" size="-1">Optimizes both Direct X 8.1 and OpenGL 1.3 for Windows XP /Windows 9X/Windows 2000 </font></blockquote></td>
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Page 2
<B>Box</B>:

The box is plain and small. Nothing interesting about it, but it is what's inside the counts right? (Wrong box, pictured: 128MB edition)

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/aug02/jatonxabre/box.jpg">
Plain</center>


<B>What's in the box</B>:

You get all the parts laid out here. What is strange is the NTSC s-video cable. I can't figure out how it works. The problem is that the cable supplied has a 9 pin connector, but the card's female connector blocks the middle two pins. I can't test the video out of the card Sad. I think they supplied me with the wrong cable or something, but that is strange.
<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/aug02/jatonxabre/parts.jpg">
Nothing more than a driver cd, the card, a NTSC cable and a pitiful manual (Cutting costs)</center>

<B>Card layout</B>:

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/aug02/jatonxabre/card.jpg">
Normal layout</center>

I'm very glad to see that this card included both VGA and DVI output. Also, you can use dual monitors with this card. The memory chips on the card do not have ramsinks, also they are Entrontech and are 4ns Sad. I guess 4ns is fine, but I wanted to have 3.3ns like everyone else has been getting. 4 nanoseconds mean that the memory is running at the spec it should. (1000/4=250) While this is okay for stock, this leaves hardly any room for overclocking. The memory uses the TSOP packaging. The chipset has the heatsink/fan found on most cards, but regardless, it didn't get hot anyway. When I took the HSF off the chipset, there was no thermal transfer grease on it. You may also want to secure it more tightly if you want to overclock this.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/aug02/jatonxabre/mem.jpg">
4ns Entrontech</center>

The card also has s-video out. You can also use a cable to change to NTSC, as I'm sure most people don't have s-video on every TV (I don't at least). I mentioned this above, but the cable's male connector, or the card itself, has a problem. They don't fit! They have 2 pins that are being blocked by the card. I don't know why this is, but it is.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/aug02/jatonxabre/ports.jpg">
DVI, VGA, S-video</center>

<B>Drivers</B>:

This is where I get a little worried, I have never known about the speed of SiS Drivers. I know they are great for stability (In most boards). I went to xabre.com to get the latest drivers for the card, it uses the same kind of unified approach as does ATI or nVidia. Looking through the driver panel yielded no options for performance! I really can't believe this as some users don't want all the eyecandy, just performance. Well, I guess it wasn't that important. Hopefully default is good enough for everyone. I decide to use v3.03, the latest WHQL drivers.

<B>Testing</B>:

I am very tired at just throwing benchmarks at cards and seeing how it performs in them. I actually used this card in two of my system for 4 weeks to really get the feel of the card. I can see no better way of really testing the actual card than to use it for your tasks. First thing I did notice was it was slower than my Radeon 8500, by alot in some cases. That isn't to say that the card is slow, not at all. I was running all my games at 1024x768 and the action was usually smooth enough, unless there was an explosion and there was tons of particles on the screen. The 2D quality of the card was excellent, I could not differ from my Radeon even at 1280x1024 (I wear glasses and I'm very near sided). The card doesn't compete with the Radeon's or Ti's performance, it can't. What it does well at is kicking ass of the integrated video. Okay, I did some benches... These are at the default 250/250. This card has 64MB of RAM on it, even though the box is the wrong one for this card.
<center>
Test System:<br/>
P4 1.6ghz<br/>
ECS L4S5MG<br/>
256MB DDR Ram<br/>
Drivers: Win2k SP3, Xabre v3.03 (July 17th), SiS AGP driver 1.09f<br/>
<table cellpadding='4' width=50%' class='large'><tr class='titlebar2'><td colspan='2' align='center'>3Dmark 2001 SE</td></tr>
<tr><td width='50%' align='right'>1024x768</td><td>6310</td></tr>
<tr><td align='right'>1280x1024</td><td>4970</td></tr></table>

<table cellpadding='4' width=50%' class='large'><tr class='titlebar2' ><td colspan='2' align='center'>Comm 4</td></tr>
<tr><td width='50%' align='right'>1024x768</td><td>24.57 (CPU limited)</td></tr>
<tr><td align='right'>1280x1024</td><td>24.59 (CPU limited)</td></tr></table>

<table cellpadding='4' width=50%' class='large'><tr class='titlebar2'><td colspan='2' align='center'>Glexcess</td></tr>
<tr><td width='50%' align='right'>1024x768</td><td>4214</td></tr>
<tr><td align='right'>1280x1024</td><td>3260</td></tr></table>

<table cellpadding='4' width=50%' class='large'><tr class='titlebar2'><td colspan='2' align='center'>GLmark</td></tr>
<tr><td width='50%' align='right'>1024x768</td><td>44.7</td></tr>
<tr><td align='right'>1280x1024</td><td>37.8</td></tr></table></center>
<br/>
<B>Overclocking</B>:

270/270 was the max I could obtain, powerstrip wouldn't let me go any higher! What was very strange was when I increased the core clock to 270 alone, there was no tangible performance gain. Just remember that the memory is passed spec at 270mhz. The max in spec would be 250mhz because of the 4 nanosecon type of memory. I should also note that there was no artifacts or problems at this setting

<B>Conclusions</B>:

This card is a perfect card for the casual gamer. For a person who does spreadsheets and word processing the entire, even this card is way beyond you. But since the 2D was excellent, I'd recommend this card for all 2D application and people who want to play that game once and awhile. For you hard core gamers, you should look to the Radeon 8xxx+ or the Ti line of cards. SiS is supposed to release the Xabre 800 soon, that will be a card to look at!

Thank you again <a href="http://www.jaton.com">Jaton</a> for sending this card for review</a>.

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