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PowerColor ATI HD 2600 256MB Graphics Card Review

Nov 29 2007, 12:00am CST | by , in Reviews | Computer Hardware

PowerColor ATI HD 2600 256MB Graphics Card Review
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Benchmarks

Features & Specifications
The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro has a core clock of 700MHz and a memory clock of 1200MHz. the memory interface is 128-bit and the card has 256MB of GDDR3 RAM. The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro has 120 stream processors, 390 million transistors and is built on 65nm fabrication process. The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro is also fully DirectX 10 compliant and has the onboard sound card like other recent ATI video cards. This is not an enthusiast gaming card by any means. This card retails online for around $100 making it a card appropriate for budget systems, office computers and home theater PCs that won’t see hard-core gaming duty. See the specifications section of this review for a full list.

Test Machine
The test machine used in this review has the following specifications:

  • CPU- Intel QX6850
  • Mainboard- XFX 680i
  • PSU- PC Power and Cooling 1KW
  • Display- Dell 30-inch
  • OS- Windows XP Pro

Benchmarks & Testing
To test the performance of the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro I will be using 3DMark06, FEAR, Bioshock, and Quake Wars. The first test up is 3DMark06.

3DMark06
I ran 3DMark06 at default settings in the NVIDIA control panel and in the application. The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro scored as follows in 3DMark06:

  • Total 3DMarks- 5104
  • SM2.0- 1669
  • HDR/SM3.0- 2055
  • CPU- 4500
  • Return to Proxycon- 12.514
  • Firefly Forest- 15.302
  • Canyon Flight- 18.469
  • Deep Freeze- 22.627
  • CPU1- 1.490
  • CPU2- 2.174

As you can see from the scores above, the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro isn’t a serious gaming card, but it’s not meant to be. This card is aimed at more of a general PC user that might play games occasionally. I haven’t tested an NVIDIA card that compares price wise to the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro to be able to make a direct comparison in 3DMark06 performance.

FEAR
The first gaming test up was FEAR. I ran the game at 1024 x 768, all settings on medium, soft shadows off, 8x AF and 4x AA. The FEAR in game test loop recorded the following data:

  • Min- 12 fps
  • Avg- 40 fps
  • Max- 90 fps

The percentages show that 11% of the time frame rates were under 25 fps, 47% of the time frame rates were between 25 and 40 fps and 42% of the time frame rates were greater than 40 fps.

Bioshock
The next test up for the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro was with Bioshock. I ran the game at 1280 x 1024, all settings on high and 4x AA. I used Fraps to record frame rate data while playing the level where you leave your weapons behind in Fontain Fisheries. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:

  • Min- 12 fps
  • Avg- 32.756 fps
  • Max- 50 fps

Quake Wars
The final game test up for the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro was with Quake Wars. I ran this game at 1280 x 1024, all settings on high, 8x AA and smooth foliage on. I used Fraps to record frame rate data on the first Africa campaign. Fraps recorded the following data:

  • Min- 11 fps
  • Avg- 23.77 fps
  • Max- 35 fps

Final Thoughts
In the end the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro isn’t a gaming graphics card, but we knew that going into this review. This card would make a great video card for a PC that needs extra graphics muscle for running the cool new features of Windows Vista. The onboard sound card also makes this a great choice for a budget home theater system.

Verdict

Conclusion

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Custom cooling solution
  • Built-in sound card

Cons

  • Not for those looking to play lots of games at high settings

Verdict
If you are considering the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro, you need to consider what you will do with the card. If you are a gamer looking to build a budget computer, this card doesn’t have much gaming performance. If you are building a Pc for windows Vista and only game casually, the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro is perfect. The card is quiet, doesn’t make high demands of your PSU and has onboard sound. The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro would make a great HTPC video card and a worthy upgrade from integrated graphics.

7.0
10
 

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