Sapphire Radeon HD2600 Pro
- Passive cooler, Unified video decoder
- Low benchmark results
Our gaming tests didn't return very promising results, but we expect this silent, budget card will appeal to anyone building a media centre, or a smaller form factor PC, that can still run Windows Vista comfortably.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
ATI hasn't yet released its high-end competitor to NVIDIA's 8800 GTX GPU (assuming one is coming), but there are plenty of options available at the lower end of the market. For those of us who wish to run Windows Vista smoothly, play some basic level of gaming and watch movies on the computer, without greatly impacting system performance, the Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 Pro is an affordable option. Sapphire's budget version of the HD 2600 GPU slots in below its Radeon HD2600 XT on the performance scale. This version of Sapphire's Pro card is also a silent one; it uses a passive cooler to help keep your PCs noise level to a minimum.
Like the Radeon HD2600 XT, which uses GDDR4 memory but also has a GDDR3 version, our test sample of the HD 2600 Pro uses 256MB of GDDR3, but a GDDR2 version is also available, in capacities from 128MB to 512MB. Apart from the memory size and type, and the passive cooling on our review model, there are no other variations among the different HD 2600 Pro cards. They're all built using the new 65nm fabrication process and have a core clock speed of 600MHz and a memory clock speed of 1000MHz (effective). The stream processor count tops at 120, a far cry from the 320 used at the current top end of the HD 2000-series, and a much smaller 128-bit memory bus has also been used.
Although the hardware is not primed for serious gamers, offering fairly mediocre scores in our benchmarks, its passive cooler and less-invasive size will appeal to people looking to build a quiet, and possibly smaller form factor, PC that can handle media applications. In particular, it's good for watching DVDs or high-definition media such as Blu-ray or HD-DVD. According to ATI, all HD 2000-series graphics cards have ATIs UVD (unified video decoder) to handle video decoding, rather than offload it to the CPU, and they also include a DVI to HDMI converter in the sales pack. The HDMI output supports digital video and audio signals, so it's simple to hook up to your TV or amplifier.
In our benchmarks, the Sapphire HD 2600 Pro proved to be a bit of a slow coach. In our DirectX 9 tests, it barely scraped through as playable and in our DirectX 10 tests it really hit rock bottom.
Using 3DMark 2006 at the default setting, which consists of a 1280x1024 resolution, no antialiasing (AA) and no anisotropic filtering (AF), it scored a reasonable 4408. However, when the resolution was pumped up to 1680x1050 and 8xAA was turned on with 16xAF, the scored dropped dramatically to 1558.
In the F.E.A.R in-game performance test, it scored an average of 23fps (frames per second) using a resolution of 1280x960 with 4xAA and 16xAF.
In the Call of Juarez DirectX 10 benchmark, using a resolution of 1280x1024 with high-quality image details, the card scraped out a mere 6.9fps. Dropping it down to the balanced quality setting only added one frame to the average, which is no help at all. Increasing the resolution only worsened the situation.
In the Lost Planet: Extreme Condition DirectX 10 demo, it averaged 15.5fps, which is mildly better but still virtually unplayable.
Judging by the benchmarks alone, we don't recommend using this card if you're a keen gamer. The HD 2000-series does offer native Crossfire support. This means that a boost in performance could be achieved later by introducing a second HD 2600 Pro card to your motherboard and teaming them up (the motherboard must support Crossfire). The Sapphire HD 2600 Pro's sales pack includes a Crossfire bridging cable. Also included in the box is a DVI to D-sub adapter, a Component output cable and an S-Video to composite output cable. All video-out options work via the two DVI outputs and the S-Video output on the rear panel of the card. The card itself doesn't require any more power than it draws from the PCI Express slot, so no special power cables are needed.
On the subject of the sales pack, it's pleasing to be able to point out that Sapphire, like the Zotac cards we've recently tested, are now shipping with more eco-friendly packaging. The small, sensible packaging matches the size of the hardware inside, rather that the garish, wasteful packaging that has been the norm for some time, and is still used by some vendors. If you want to make a small environmental statement when purchasing your computer hardware, then Sapphire is a good choice.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Apple iPhone X
cloudandco Smart Cane
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Will Now Resist the Elements
- Logitech Unveils MX ERGO, their first trackball in nearly a decade
- Nvidia unveils Pegasus, an AI computer that can power fully autonomous vehicles
- MSI's new Ryzen-ready motherboard coming to Oz
- Seagate Expands Portfolio with 12TB Drives for NAS and Desktop Computing
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- The Best Australian Black Friday Tech Deals That Aren't On Amazon
- Wolfenstein The New Colossus Review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTCloud ArchitectNSW
- TPEL1 Business AnalystACT
- FTApplication Packaging EngineerOther
- FTAccount Management/Customer Service - MULTIPLE ROLESSA
- FTSenior IT Business AnalystOther
- FTAgile Project ManagerOther
- CCLevel 1 and 2 Help Desk OfficerQLD
- FTUser Experience PractitionerACT
- FTMultiple Axway rolesOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - Change Management - Government backgroundOther
- FTOperations Process Improvement ManagerOther
- FTInfrastructure Solutions Architect - Converged InfrastructureOther
- FTVBA DeveloperOther
- FTChange Analyst, Transformation, SAPOther
- FTField Service EngineerOther
- CCTest Analyst - BrisbaneNSW
- FTProgram Manager - Technology & EngineeringOther
- FTData ModellingACT
- CCMid-level SAP ArchitectQLD
- TPScrum MasterNSW
- FTApplication Support Team Lead l Experience with health applicationsNSW
- CCDigital Reporting AnalystNSW
- FTLinux Systems EngineerOther
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Sunshine Coast HospitalQLD
- FTAsset and Configuration ManagerSA