Mainstream GPU Performance

For gamers out there who play on a 1280x1024 panel, there is hardware to be had that doesn't cost a lot of money but will provide good performance at this very common resolution. The 2600 XT and 8600 GTS are the parts that we can really start getting interested in. Of course, making the jump up from this price point to the next leaves much to be desired: currently the $200 - $300 price segment is a bit lacking.

Again we've included older hardware for reference and we are also leaving the 8600 GT and the 2600 Pro. These parts really span the gap between the low end and mainstream price points. It's a shame we have so many offerings between $50 and $150 and so little up until we hit $300. But let's get to the benchmarks.

Unreal Tournament 3 Performance

The 2600 XT, while less expensive than the 8600 GTS, manages to lead the pack here. Another win for AMD shows promise for their architecture in anticipation of the next gen titles looming in the distance. Does R6xx have some fight left in it? Will newer titles continue this trend, or is this a one time fluke that can be attributed to beta code? We really will have to wait and see on this one.

The X1950 Pro, HD 2600 XT, and 8600 GTS perform very similarly across most resolutions tested. The exception is 800x600 where the NVIDIA part leads the way. Of course, the card to pick is the 2600 XT, as it's cheaper than the 8600 GTS.

Low End GPU Performance Bringing it all Together
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  • jmvillafana - Saturday, October 20, 2007 - link

    I greatly appreciate the large scope of your comparison. As new boards come out, they are just compared to their close competitors. I am out to buy a board and after reading your article I am sure I will make the best decision.
  • GlassHouse69 - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    that crap was boring.

    it's so kiddie like.

    where is quake 5 arena?

  • segask - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    what about DX10? The X1950 is a DX9 card isn't it?
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    1) Next gen cards finally coming into their own - the 8600 series is beating the old high-end 7900 series, and the HD 2600 series is very close to the X1950pro.

    2) ATI looks great - HD 2900XT way better than the 8800GTS parts, HD 2600 XT way better than the 8600 parts.

    3) X1950XTX is the exception to surprise 1, and seems to be holding up spectacularly well.
  • aka1nas - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    The 2900 is only doing so well because there is no AA in the demo.
  • cmdrdredd - Saturday, October 20, 2007 - link

    At playable resolutions the HD2900 can do AA well enough.
  • ChrisSwede - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    If I have an ATI 9800 Pro, what card would that be comparable to? ...or is it too old to even compare to any of these?
  • Spoelie - Friday, October 19, 2007 - link

    it's performance would be slightly slower than a 6600gt, which itself is >~30% slower than the 7600gt
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    First of all it won't be able to run all of the effects...even all of the DX9 effects. Then it also may be limited by it's small memory size. Barring those points though, I'd compare it to the 2400XT, but I wouldn't count on matching the performance.
  • punko - Thursday, October 18, 2007 - link

    I'm running that card with an ancient AMD XP 1800+ at 1024x768 at detail level 5

    Am I missing graphics & performance? Yes.

    But I agree, I have no idea what I'm missing.

    Running about inside the dark walker is great fun.

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