ATI Hits With Mainstream DX10 - HD 2600 XT - HD 2600 XT - DX10 Game Benchmarks

Article Index
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

DX10 Benchmarks:

As this is a DirectX 10 part, we want to focus this article on DX10 gaming on this mid-range card.  DX10 calls for a previously unheard of number of particles, shaders and operations, and mid-range cards can struggle in this situation.  Although DirectX 10 hardware has been around for quite a few months, as has a supporting Operating System, DX10 games are hard to come by.  We heard rumors that Shadowrun, Halo 2, and Flight Sim X would all be DirectX 10 titles, but they are not.  We could only grab three actual games that offered any kind of DX10 support and have included these in our review.

 

Company of Heroes:

Company of Heroes is an RTS that has an amazing level of detail.  DX10 support was added with the 1.7 patch and we've got everything patched up and ready to go in this DX10 RTS.

Company of Heros
(Click Image to Enlarge)

 

At 1024x768 with default settings, the game is very playable and averages over 57FPS in the built-in benchmark.  Overclocking doesn't yield and benefit at 1024x768, but does add a couple frames per second at higher resolution with more eyecandy turned on.  This is where the card shows its 128-bit memory limitation.  Higher resolutions with more detail bog the card down - at least in CoH.

 

Call of Juarez:

 

One of the games that caught my eye through testing was the new "Western" - Call of Juarez.  In this game you can choose one of two players that have a completely different impact how the story plays out.  Much of the game takes place outside and the level of detail with the DX10 benchmark demo is amazing.

 Call of Juarez
(Click Image to Enlarge)

 

I spent some time playing though the DX9 version of the game before I patched it up and ran the DX10 demo/benchmark.  DirectX 9 gameplay occurs around 36-42FPS, but bringing on the DX10 goodness changes things.  At 1024x768 the RV630XT stuttered to a 18-ish FPS, and increasing the resolution to 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 brought the system to a crawl.  This is where I wish I had an 8600GT/GTS from nVidia to compare the results.  Either way, you won't be doing much Call of Juarez in DirectX 10 on this card.

One of the earliest DX10 playable demos has been the Lost Planet Demo.  This is an interesting game that has a bit of a Half-Life 2 feel to it in my opinion.  We ran both DX9 and DX10 benchmarks under Windows Vista to see how much of a performance hit there is to run with the latest version of DirectX.

 Lost Planet
(Click Image to Enlarge)

 

At default detail and a default resolution of 1280x720, the game runs pretty decent on the HD 2600 XT.  The Snow level exhibits some minor stuttering, as does the Cave.  Overclocking only yields very small gains, and is unnoticeable during gameplay.  When we turn on the DX10 goodness, this get a little slower - in fact, the game runs about half speed and we are now seeing framerate averages at 17-21FPS.  In order to make the game playable on this card, you'd have to drop some eyecandy and the resolution.  In my opinion, that would negate the point of a DX10 gaming graphics card.

On the last page we'll take a look at some HD video playback and see just how ATi's AVIVO gets the job done.