If you have been following video cards the last few years, you are aware that NVIDIA and ATI have dominated the standalone graphics card market, with revenue exceeding 2 Billion $ US a year for each company. It was just a few years ago that the biggest company in 3D struggled to gain 100 million in a quarter, much less a billion in revenue.
The high-end market is characterized by loud, dual-slot cooling, very high performance, and expensive, fast memory. The X1900XTX retails for example at $499. Not everyone can afford $500 on a video card. Another consideration is noise. The X1900XTX and X1800XT cards are loud. So loud, in fact, that in an open case the card can drown out the other computer components when in 3D mode. The mid-range market is where ATI and NVIDIA make most of their sales, monetarily and in unit volume. ATI launched the X1600 series late last year as their mid-range card. Today I'm reviewing the ASUS EAX1600XT Silent card. As the name implies, the card is meant to be silent in operation.