ATI Hits With Mainstream DX10 - HD 2600 XT
|ATI Hits With Mainstream DX10 - HD 2600 XT|
|HD 2600 XT - Specs, Overclocking and More|
|HD 2600 XT - Test System and Benchmarks|
|HD 2600 XT - DX10 Game Benchmarks|
|HD 2600 XT - HD Video and Conclusion|
Over the past few months, nVidia has been walking away with the DirectX 10 market as they were the first company to launch DX10 hardware - even before there was a DX10 Operating System to run them on. The truth is, nVidia has been mopping the floor with ATi, and currently has the fastest card on the market with the 8800 Ultra. That being said, sales of the high-end cards are always very limited and mainstream cards sell greater volumes than high-end parts. Again in this area, nVidia has been cleaning up with their mid-high 8800GTS 320MB and lately their 8500 GT and 8600 GT/GTS offerings.
Up until today, the HD 2900 XT was the only DX10 card offered by ATi/AMD but today they add more SKUs to the pot. They are launched several flavors of RV610 and RV630. We are looking at the RV630XT today - better known as the HD 2600 XT. This card is the high-end of the mainstream parts and comes with 256MB of GDDR4 clocked in at 1100MHz (2.2GHz DDR). The core is clocked at a screaming 800MHz and our unit doesn't even require an additional power connector.
We took a brief look at this card last week in a preview article, and today we will fill in the gaps that were left with that teaser. Some of this review will cover data from the preview, but we will add more comments and insight as we've had more time to play with the HD 2600 XT.
You'll notice that the card features the now standard dual link connectors for Crossfire, but what you don't see is the additional power connector. Normally, cards of this length and beasts and require extra power to operate. With the HD 2900 XT being such a power hog, I really expected the HD 2600 XT to need additional power as well. This is a bonus as it will be much more efficient. The card is manufactured using the 65nm process and this is efficient enough to use a mere 45 watts (spec) under load. Hopefully the card will run nice and cool as well.
The back of the card shows that the board is designed to handle another 256MB of memory. This allows board partners to add more memory to their own version. While some may argue that more memory on a mid-range card is pointless, higher resolutions will benefit from the added memory.
The cooler is powered by a four pin fan that is temperature and software controlled. You can find third-party software that allows you to increase fan speed at different temperature levels to help your cards performance. Although not recommended, you can also slow the fan down to provide even quieter cooling. The fan is a "blower" style fan that sucks in area and blows in along the length of the fins and exhausts the hot air inside the case. Depending on how much heat this card generates, that could potentially be a bad thing; especially if you have poor case ventilation.
The HSF itself is made from copper and aluminum. The central area that contacts the GPU die is made from copper, while the remaining portion of the cooler is aluminum - including the fins. Contact with the memory is made though thermal pads, and contact with the chips is very good. This is beneficial as I would think the memory would get hot running at 2.2GHz!!