Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
GeCube Radeon HD2600 XT X-Turbo II OC edition (256MB DDR4)
- UVD chip, HDMI output, OC edition
- Gaming performance
Although this card won't suit heavy gamers, it will suit casual gamers and is fine for running Windows Vista and watching movies with, plus the price is right.
Price$ 259.00 (AUD)
The GeCube Radeon HD2600 XT X-Turbo II OC Edition is one of ATI's current mid-range graphics card with support for DirectX 10 (DX10) and Shader Model 4.0. However, GeCube hasn't just pumped out another standard board with this model. The HD2600 XT X-Turbo II OC edition has been factory overclocked from a core clock speed of 800MHz to 840MHz, providing a slight boost to the performance.
GeCube's implementation of the Radeon HD2600 XT offers 120 stream processors and a mere 256MB of video RAM, but uses the latest in graphics memory, GDDR4 RAM. GDDR4 has a few benefits, none of which are particularly breathtaking, but are certainly worth having if it's on offer, especially if power consumption is a concern for you.
For instance, GDDR4 moves data with greater efficiency and lower power usage. Thanks to an 8-bit burst rate (instead of the 4-bit burst rate seen in GDDR3), the memory clock on this card has been bumped up to 2.2GHz (an effective speed). Combine that with a 128-bit memory interface and you get a throughput of 35.2GBps, which isn't crash hot, but will handle some casual gaming among the other features this card boasts.
Like ATI's other HD2600 cards (and those lower in the HD2000 family), the GPU is built using a 65nm fabrication process. However, despite all of its fancy technology, the GeCube Radeon 2600 XT card does not go like a rocket, but at least it won't leave a huge dent in your wallet; it costs only $259 at the time of writing.
Despite its lower specifications the HD2600 XT offers a number of useful features. First of these is ATI's UVD (universal video decoder), which is a chip dedicated to video decoding, which helps free-up the CPU; an especially useful tool for low-end computers. Another handy feature of the HD2000 series is its HDMI adapter. All ATI Radeon HD2000 series cards allow sound to be passed through the DVI port and the HDMI adapter then allows the video and sound to be passed to a TV or sound system as needed.
In our benchmarks it scored as we would expect from a low-mid range card from this latest generation. When run through DirectX 9-based tests, it performed reasonably well, but fell apart in DX10-based tests, especially at higher resolutions.
In 3DMark 2006 at the default setting (1280x1024) it scored 5447, but dropped to 999 when we cranked up 8x antialiasing (AA) and turned on 16x anisotropic filtering (AF) with a resolution of 1920x1200. In FEAR at a resolution of 1280x960, with 4x AA turned on, it achieved 29fps (frames per second), but again it dropped to 20fps when the resolution was turned up to 1600x1200.
In the Call of Juarez DX10 demo it only achieved 10.5fps at the default setting and only got worse when we maxed out the resolution, scoring just 4fps. In the DX10 version of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition it averaged 15.9fps on the default setting at 1280x960 (with DX10 fur effects on) and dropped to 9.65fps at 1920x1200. In the DirectX 9 version it scored 27.65fps and 16.7fps at the same resolutions.
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