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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  • Makaveli - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    All of you guys posting wait for the DX 10 benchmarks do u seriously think the FPS is gonna double from DX9. These cards are a joke, and ment for OEM systems. They are not gonna release a good midrange card to creep up on the 2900XT and take sales away from it. And they will make far more money selling these cards to OEM's than the average joe blow. The people who are gonna suffer from this is the fools who buy pc's at Best buy and futureshop, that believe they are getting good gaming cards.

    All I gotta say is you get what you pay for.

    Hugs my X1950Pro 512MB AGP!
    Reply
  • guste - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Although Anandtech hasn't posted it yet, it looks as if the lower end 2000-series parts are quite good at HD decode, to the point where CPU utilization goes from 100% to 5%. At least this according to a cumbersome Chinese review I read a week ago.

    Granted my needs don't apply to practically anyone but the HTPC crowd, but I play games at the native resouloution of my 50" panel, which is 1366x768 and I don't use AA, so the 2600 XT would be nice to pick up, in addition to finally being able to send the output to my receiver. For us in the HTPC community, this card will be a godsend, being quiet and low-power.

    I look forward to seeing what Anandtech says about the UVD aspects of thse cards, as that's what I'm interested in.
    Reply
  • florrv - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Maybe I completely missed it in the reviews, but can these cards be used in Crossfire mode? That could be one way (albeit very clumsy) way to get you closer to midrange performance for the $200-$250 range...
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    Just looking at the pictures, it would appear the 2400XT and 2600XT cave the connectors. Reply
  • DavenJ - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Wow. Just wow. I haven't seen so much bashing in a long time. However, through all the nVidia and ATI bashing I'm not surprised that the author left out a very important point. The 2600 XT consumes a mere 45W and the 2400 Pro a mere 25W. That is incredible. There is no need for external power as one might expect on low end parts except I think nVidia has external power on the high end 8600. The ATI cards are made using a 65 nm process which explains the low power consumption.

    For a less insulting and less bias review, go here

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/HD_2600_XT">http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/HD_2600_XT

    Have a good day!
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, June 29, 2007 - link

    i added power numbers on the test page ...

    the power performance of the new radeon HD cards is not that great.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Saturday, June 30, 2007 - link

    They are as expected, considering the HD 2600 XT is clocked at 800MHZ with 390 Million Transistors the fact that it consumes equal power as compared to the 289 Million Transistor G84 at 675MHZ I would say for what it's worth the improvements of the 65nm process are showing themselves.

    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    As you can see from the reviews here the HD 2600 XT and HD 2600 Pro don't consume that much less then the cards from the Nvidia camp.

    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/radeon_hd_2600...">http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/rad...hd_2600_...
    Reply
  • Shintai - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    The 8600GTS could easily do without an external power connector. So could a 7900GT for that matter. It´s about the situation in SLI and making sure its a clean supply. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, June 28, 2007 - link

    Who am I biased against? Both NVIDIA and AMD have made terrible mainstream parts.

    While the 86 GTS does require external power, the 86 GT and lower do not.
    Reply

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