|Speed. It's the one thing that gets all the attention when most folks consider performance computer hardware. Whether we're referring to the CPU, Memory, Hard Drive or Graphics card, one of the most important characteristics we consider is its raw performance, wanting to know just how fast a component is compared to others in its category. Perhaps a better question to ask is how fast does it need to be? Case in point is the constants battle between NVIDIA and AMD/ATI for who has the fastest graphics card on the market.
This time last year the Geforce 8800 GTX was the new top graphics card on the scene, trouncing on every competitor it was pitted against. This was viewed by some as a back breaker for AMD/ATI, who was struggling to match the raw performance of NVIDIA's power hungry behemoth, let alone producing a viable DX10-ready graphics solution at that time. Now, roughly a year later, AMD/ATI still doesn't have a high-end card to match the GeForce 8800GTX in raw power, but when you consider the market share of graphics cards that cost over $500, AMD/ATI seems perfectly content in delivering quality options that appeal to the masses, rather than the high-end market niche'.
Today, while ATI/AMD still doesn't have a "GeForce killer", it does have a number of competent and competitive low, mid and high-end cards that often score high marks for those evaluating performance from a dollar-for-dollar perspective. One such model is the Radeon HD 2600 XT. In this article, we will assess another 2600 XT class card in the form of the MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus, an aggressively clocked Radeon HD 2600 XT backed with 512MB of high-speed GDDR4. We'll take a look at the card's gaming performance with a number of quality titles known to stress even the strongest of graphics cards. Then we'll assess overall features as well as pricepoint, to come up with a balanced view of how the MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus fits in the current graphics card market.
|MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus |
|Specifications & Overview |
|RADEON™X2600XT Chipset Features and Specifications
Fully DirectX 10.0 compliant, including full speed 32-bit floating point per component Operations
- Full symmetry on both heads.
- Shader Model 4.0 geometry and pixel support in a unified shader architecture:
- Full speed 32-bit floating point processing per component.
- High dynamic range rendering with floating point blending, texture filtering and antialiasing support.
- High performance dynamic branching and flow control.
- Advanced shader design, with ultra-threading sequencer for high efficiency operations.
- Advanced, high performance branching support, including static and dynamic branching.
- Full anti-aliasing on render surfaces up to and including 128-bit floating point formats.
- Support for OpenGL 2.0
- 2x/4x/8x modes.
- Sparse multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sample patterns, and centroid sampling.
- Temporal anti-aliasing.
- Adaptive anti-aliasing mode.
- Lossless color compression (up to 8:1) at all resolutions, up to and including widescreen HDTV.
- 2x/4x/8x/16x modes
- Up to 128-tap texture filtering.
Advanced Texture Compression (3Dc+)
- High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and luminance maps.
- Works with any single-channel or two-channel data format.
- New vertex cache and vertex fetch design, to increase vertex throughput from previous generations.
- New multi-level texture cache to give optimal performance, greater than 8x the previous designs.
High efficiency ring bus memory controller
- Programmable arbitration logic maximizes memory efficiency, software upgradeable.
- Fully associative texture, color, and Z cache design.
- New hierarchical Z & Stencil buffers with Early Z Test.
- New lossless Z-buffer compression for both Z and Stencil.
- Fast Z-Buffer Clear.
- Z cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering.
Integrated HD Audio Controller (Azelia) and Codec
- Integrated HD Audio codec supports linear PCM and DolbyR Digital (5.1) audio formats for
- HDMI output.
- Uses Microsoft UAA driver.
- Internally connected to the integrated HDMI interface, hence no external cable required.
- PCI device id : AA10h (Azalia), AA11h (Audio Codec).
- Support for basic audio (32, 44.1 or 48 kHz stereo) and DolbyR Digital or DTS at the same sample rates.
- Fully compliant with the DVI electrical specification.
- Fully integrated DVI/HDMI Interface
- Supports one single link DVI or one HDMI link (HDMI output on single-link TMDS1 only).
- Meets Vista logo requirements.
- 1650 Mbps/channel with 165 MHz pixel clock rate per link.
- Supports industry standard EIA-861B video modes including 480p, 720p and 1080i. For a full list of currently supported modes, contact your AMD CSS representative.
|Avivo Display System - Dual DACs & MPEG 1/2/4 decode and encode acceleration|
- Dual-link support for display resolutions up to 3840x2400 per display output.
- Flexible support of the following configurations: CRT + DVI/HDMI, TV + DVI/HDMI, DVI/HDMI + DVI/HDMI.
- Maximum pixel frequency of 400 Mhz.
- HDCP support available on all DVI and HDMI links with integrated key storage for up to two simultaneous outputs including dual-link DVI. (Note: HDCP available only to HDCP licensed buyers).
- iDCT/DCT and color space conversion
- HW DXVA parser support for iDCT
- MPEG-4 Simple Profile support
- All-format DTV/HDTV decoding.
HDCP - High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection
HDCP is a content protection specification to protect digital entertainment content across the DVI/HDMI interface. The HDCP provides a robust, cost-effective and transparent method for transmitting and receiving digital entertainment similar to DVI/HDMI-compliant digital displays. HDCP encrypts the data transmitted between the DVI/HDMI connector on the graphics adapter and the display. To provide this support, both the graphics adapter and the display need to have an HDCP transmitter and receiver respectively.
CrossFire Multi-GPU Technology
- Scale up rendering performance and image quality with 2 or more GPUs
- Integrated compositing engine
- High performance dual channel interconnect
• Memory interface: 128-bit
• Memory Clock Speed: 2300MHz
• Engine Clock Speed: 850MHz
• Stream Processing units: 120
• Texture Units: 8
• VGA Driver
• MSI Live Update Series ( Live VGA BIOS & Live VGA Driver)
- Automatically online download & update VGA BIOS & Drivers, reduce the risk of getting the wrong files, and never have the trouble on web site searching.
Automatically release the system memory space, reduce the risk of system hang-up.
- Instantly enter the data lock mode when you must leave your system for a while.
- Automatically list the detail system configuration, it helpful for engineering service people.
• MSI VIVID NEW!
- Automatically list the detail system configuration, it's helpful for engineering service people.
• MSI Live NEW!
- Including all real time life information you need, such as Live MSI Product News, Live Daily Information, Live Personal Schedule Manager, Live Search and more.
• MSI Secure DOC
• ThinSoft Be Twin
• Adobe Acrobat Reader
• Norton Internet Security 2005
• Microsoft® DirectX 9.0b