ATI HD2600XT Performance Preview

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     June 28, 2007

The new ATI family – Mainstream DX10

With the addition of these three cards, AMD seems to have nicely rounded out their product lineup. The AIB partners (who have long been chomping at the bit for theses cards) are bound to be ecstatic with the pricing AMD has laid down for them. Indeed, the HD2600 XT is positioned price-wise to go head to head against the Nvidia 8600GT (no, not the GTS). We have also seen Canadian pricing for these cards and it is VERY much in-line with the US pricing. It seems like the performance could be there in spades with the HD2600-series except when one looks at the 128-bit memory interface. That size interface is like a bad rash that just won’t go away; the same thing happened with the 8600GT and 8600GTS from our review a few weeks ago and we found it seriously hampered performance. A few bucks more for a 256-bit memory bus isn’t asking much, is it? Nonetheless, the RV630 core packs a punch with an 800Mhz core speed and 120 stream processors. It is also very interesting to see that the HD2600 PRO does not use GDDR3 ram but rather the much slower DDR2.

With all of these cards fabricated on the 65nm fabrication process, power consumption is kept to a minimum and thus there is no external PCI-E connector needed. Consumption stays below 75W which is the amount the PCI-E slot is able to provide. This is a huge departure for ATI / AMD as their cards have long been known as being power hogs.

When looking at the specification of these cards it becomes more than apparent that AMD is very much targeting the ever-expanding HTPC crowd with the majority of its products. All of these cards are HDCP compliant and even the lower end ones (2400-series) have the option for a HDMI dongle which can carry both a HD video signal AND at 5.1 channel audio signal. A picture of this dongle can be seen below:

We can also see that there is a large drop-off in potential performance when you get into the 2400-series of cards. They make due with only a 64-bit memory bus which is coupled to either GDDR3 or DDR2 memory and a miniscule 40 stream processors (80 less than the 2600-series). This RV610 core seems to be a severely cut-down RV630 core which is highly targeted to the entry-level consumers and HTPC users who don’t even want to look at a modern game.

It should also be noted that ALL of these cards will be released in AGP version using the ATI Rialto bridge chip.

A lot more information can be found on Sapphire’s page for the specific cards: http://www.sapphiretech.com/ca/productfiles/matrix-vga-1.xls