Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 video card review
While AMD promised us a launch of their entire range of Radeon HD 2000 series parts back in May, the only part available in retail on launch day was the high-end Radeon HD 2900 XT part, leaving anyone looking for the latest and greatest in the mid-range with only NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 boards for company, in the DirectX 10 market segment at least.
It took a little while, but the release of Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 eventually followed, giving us a full picture of the DirectX 10 landscape from top to bottom for (we assume) most of the remainder of 2007. With NVIDIA's mid-range parts offering solid performance without ever dropping any jaws, there was a general feeling that this could be a golden opportunity for AMD to stake a real claim in the mainstream graphics market with their Radeon HD 2600 parts - A feeling made all the more interesting by the positioning of the HD 2600 XT up against NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 GT part, leaving the GTS SKU without any true competition, on pricing at least.
Today, we take our first look at a Radeon HD 2600-based board, courtesy of Sapphire's Radeon HD 2600 XT. Can it wow us where the GeForce 8600 only elicited a small nod of approval, or will it suffer a similar fate to AMD's high-end Radeon HD 2900 XT, being good but not good enough? Read on, as we put this board through its paces.