HD 2600 PRO in two words? Absolutely Brilliant! This is the reason it's so important to include pricing into the structure. You have a card that is priced at the same level as the 8500 GT and manages not only to beat it but kill it every time.
The HD 2600 XT is also an excellent performing card, but with what the PRO offers as far as bang for buck goes, it's hard to look past. Focusing on the 8600 GT vs HD 2600 XT debate, we would probably recommend you opt for the 8600 GT at the moment. BUT (and this is a big but), with monthly driver updates from AMD it's quite possible that we could see some decent gains on the new mid-range cards, and the 8600 GT isn't exactly killing the HD 2600 XT (unlike what the PRO was doing to the 8500 GT).
It's a tough decision, and for gamers who run 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024 the decision is going to be even harder as both cards perform really well. Throw in the fact that the OpenGL performance continues to get better on the ATI offerings, also taking into account the fact that the XT performed best in COH, it's not too hard to recommend the AMD based card. The choice between the two cards could almost come down to who you're a bigger fanboy of.
The bottom line though is that the dark horse of the group was the HD 2600 PRO which performed well and truly above our expectations. Don't forget that when you throw in the fact that it has a HDMI port built into it, it's really a win win card all round.
We will be doing a bit of "in with the new, out with the old" in our next version of the Catalyst Performance Analysis so we would recommend you keep an eye out for both HD cards as we venture there.
The only thing we need now is the ability to overclock the new mid-range cards and we can see what they are really capable of. As soon as the ability pops up we will be re-looking at the cards in a Performance Analysis.
Palit HD 2600 XT Sonic
Full version game
No external power
Single slot design
Not quite as good bang for buck as the HD 2600 PRO
8600 GT is still a very good option
Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Value Award!
Palit HD 2600 PRO Sonic
Built in HDMI
No HDMI cable
Rating - 9.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Editor's Choice Award!
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [The Packages]
- Page 3 [The Cards]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast HDR)]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Prey]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Company of Heroes]
- Page 10 [Temperature and Sound Tests]
- Page 11 [Power Consumption Tests]
- Page 12 [Pricing - AUD]
- Page 13 [Final Thoughts]
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