Introduction

We've known about the basic architecture of AMD's lower end DX10 hardware ever since mid May, but retail product hasn't made its way out the door until now. Finally launching today, and available within the next two weeks (says AMD), the Radeon HD 2400 XT and Pro and the Radeon HD 2600 XT and Pro will serve to bring competition to the $50 - $150 DX10 graphics card market. These are the cards that most people will actually end up purchasing, so both AMD and NVIDIA would like to come out on top in this market.

But even before we begin, we have to go back to the 8800 GTS 320 and talk about what a terrific value it is for people who want great performance and don't need ultra high resolutions with AA cranked up. If $300 is in the budget for graphics, this is the way to spend it. We would really love to offer more flexibility in our recommendation, but both NVIDIA and AMD have seen fit to leave a huge gap in performance between their lower high end part and upper low end parts. We saw this with the 8600 GTS falling way short of the 8800 series, and we will see it again with the HD 2600 XT not even getting close to the 2900 XT.

AMD's price gap will be even larger than NVIDIA's, leaving a hole between $150 and $400 with nothing to fill it. This seems quite a bit excessive with no other real product lines hinted at until we see a product refresh down the line. When the 8600 series launched, we were quite disappointed with the performance of the part and hoped that AMD would step up to the plate and offer a real challenger that could fill the needs of midrange graphics hardware buyers everywhere. Now we are left with a sense of desolation and a feeling that neither AMD nor NVIDIA know how to properly target the $200 - $300 price range. We would go so far as to say that neither camp offers top-to-bottom DX10, but something more along the lines of top and bottom end solutions.

But regardless of what is lacking in their lineup, the new Radeon HD cards are aimed at filling a specific need. We will talk about what they bring to the table and how they manage to do the job AMD has designed them to perform. First up is a brief look back at what's actually inside these GPUs.

UPDATE: In going back to add power tests, we discovered that the GeForce 8600 GTS we used had a slight overclock over the stock version. We have gone back and rerun our tests with the GeForce 8600 GTS at stock clock speeds and our current graphs reflect the new data. The changes, generally on the order of 5%, did not have a significant impact on the overall outcome of the article. There are a couple cases where the performance gap narrows, but the fact remains that the 8600 GTS is under powered and the 2600 XT is generally more so.

We do apologize for the initial testing error, and we will certainly do everything we can to avoid such problems in the future.


A Closer Look at RV610 and RV630
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  • Le Québécois - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Just read some of the other sites that tested DX10.


    I was replying to that. There is no REAL review or even preview from DX10 (game that have been developed from the start for it) now. I know very well that you will need a very good Video card to play Crysis in its full glory.
    Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    If these cards suck that bad in DX9 they are bound to suck even harder in DX10. Don't give me this...OH they will do better in DX10....pffff. I'm going to hold off and buy a DX10 card once the games come out, that way I will know what performs the best and buy then the Geforce 8900 series will be out this Q3 making the prices drop even further the the 8800 line. Reply
  • TA152H - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    You're obviously not very bright, I never said they'd perform better or worse. I said it makes more sense to wait until the results are in before passing judgment. Don't put words in my mouth. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    First post! :) Reply
  • nameisfake - Sunday, July 01, 2007 - link

    I have to agree but disagree about these cards.
    I agree that they will suck for gaming.
    But, I think they can be fantastic in the right application.
    I would love a 2600pro in a family pc.
    1. Gets rid of onboard ram sucking video
    2. 128mbit path to its own onboard ram
    3. Hardware built in to offload multimedia from the cpu
    4. Low power requirements
    5. Cheap
    6. Drop to low res and an occasional game will function

    A person may want a very fast modern pc but not be a gamer.
    These cards are great for that small market and oems.

    My 2cents

    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Dude, that shit died years ago... Reply

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