Obviously, the most evident (or rather inaudible) improvement in the Gigabyte Radeon X1300 PRO was the blissful silence that greeted us when we powered up the card. This is of course expected, since this is the major feature of this Silent-Pipe II equipped card. Compared to the incessant whine of the reference card, it was a welcome relief. The noise output from the reference card, though not the worst culprit, can be quite irritating, so eliminating this undesirable aspect is certainly worth a couple of points in our book.
The Silent-Pipe II works mainly by having the heat generated by the core redirected to the large aluminum radiator near the back of the card. This makes it a two-slot solution unfortunately but the location of the radiator supposedly takes advantage of the temperature differential between the inside and outside of the casing. Since it straddles both, the differential should help to conduct heat outwards. As we have noted in our first glimpse of the Silent-Pipe II , it requires some form of ambient air currents within the casing for optimal effect, hence casing ventilation is an important consideration, like almost any passive cooler.
Clocked at the default 600MHz for the core and 800MHz DDR for the memory chips, the Gigabyte is naturally conservative when it comes to frequencies. It should run like your typical reference card and the lack of any passive cooling for the memory chips could limit its overclocking. The entry level status of the Radeon X1300 PRO also ensures that the rear I/O ports are still very much in the previous era of graphics cards and not the dual DVI-I outputs that most new cards possess.
We didn't expect much from the bundle found in a low-end budget card like the Radeon X1300 PRO and of course it only has the basics. This includes a DVI-to-VGA adaptor and a converter from the 9-pin mini-DIN to Component and S-Video. You'll also find a CyberLink DVD playback application, thankfully the latest 6.0 version. There are no games at all, though for such an entry level card, most new games would give it a tough time while older games would more likely bear the brunt of complaints from us in the vein of 'recycled' and 'boring'. Hopefully, the lack of games is reflected in the pricing of the card. Here then, we reiterate the items found in the package: