MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus Graphics Card

MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus - Up Close

The MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus comes packed with an ample collection of hardware, printed materials and software to take full advantage of the card's features.  There is a User's Manual and Quick Installation guide to cover the installation and features and the Drivers/Software CD comes with the necessary drivers and a collection of extra software.  Unfortunately, MSI's software complement hasn't evolved much over the last few years, offering a number of proprietary software bundles and dated third party titles with questionable usefulness.  For example, there is no need to offer Norton A/V 2005 when there are free titles available such as Avast! and AVG.   The same can be said for Goodmem, Lockbox and WMIinfo, all of which are dated as well.  What would be more impressive than a list of software past its prime, would be a current gaming title.

The hardware bundle consists of a DVI-to-VGA adapter and a DVI-to-HDMI adapter that delivers HDMI video and audio to external HDMI-ready equipment.  MSI also includes an S-Video cable, 9-pin-to-component cable and a 9-pin-to-S-Video/composite cable for connecting to a wide range of external video sources.

The MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus has a name that implies something extra, and that it has.  There is both a MSI RX2600XT Diamond and MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus, which are identical except for memory configuration.  The MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus comes with 512MB of GDDR4 memory, double that of its counterpart.  With a 128-bit memory interface and GDDR4 clocked at 2300MHz DDR, the memory interface can deliver 36.8GB/s of bandwidth while the 850MHz RV630 based VPU delivers 120 Stream Processing Units and 8 Texture Units with a peak Fill Rate topping out at 6800MTexels/s.
  The rear of the card comes with two DVI connections as well as a port for component inputs/outputs.

To help keep the MSI RX2600XT Diamond Plus cool, MSI outfitted the card with a two slot cooler that is very quiet.  Sadly, the two slot design means potentially sacrificing other available slots adjacent to the PCI-Express slot.  We would have much rather seen an elegant single slot solution, much like we saw with our recent review of the Sapphire HD 2600 XT, which is of course clocked at a more modest 800MHz/2200MHz.  The sink itself is a heat-pipe design while RAM-sinks are also applied separate from the main cooling assembly.  We should note, however, that the way the VPU cooler is designed, no airflow passes across the RAM-sinks from the VPU fan itself, leaving the case fans to do the job alone.  Another plus is the fact that the card does not need an external power supply but instead meets the standard PCI Express power budget drawn from the slot itself..

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