There is somewhat of a shortage of options for the budget-constrained folks when it comes to graphics cards. Some may disagree and point out the number of affordable alternatives, from the most basic onboard graphics to the latest cards from both ATI and NVIDIA. We agree that together with previous generation cards like the GeForce 6 series and ATI's older Radeons, they add up to quite a fair number. But compared to the mid-range segment, where for each chipset, there are numerous brands, with vendors competing to release 'special' editions and sporting fancy coolers and whatnot, the low-end is quite a dull affair. There is just no buzz.
Part of the reason may be the natural low prices of this segment. Vendors make up for the low margins by selling in bulk, as even the simplest PC needs some sort of graphics subsystem. There is no urge to differentiate or market these low-end products extensively because buyers are not that concerned by graphics; price is the main consideration. Hence, we have new budget cards like the Radeon X1300 series and the GeForce 7300 GS appearing in the market without that much fanfare and just as quickly, disappear from our radar screens. No doubt, they are popular with consumers and are widely available at most retail outlets, they have nothing to get people excited about.
Gigabyte hopes to liven up the staid low-end segment by offering its new Radeon X1300 PRO card with its proprietary Silent-Pipe II cooler. Originally seen in mid-range cards like the GeForce 6600 GT and the Radeon X1600 XT, this passive cooler is into its second iteration and boasts a design that is quite distinct from the other passive coolers we have seen. Although the principle of having heat pipes and radiators for passive cooling are common, it is the design principle in which it was employed that's unique to Gigabyte. ASUS has a passively cooled Radeon X1300 PRO in the market already so this new Gigabyte card should fuel more competition. Before we move on to the card, let's take a look at its technical specifications: