Graphics Cards Guide

MSI RX2600XT Diamond (Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4) review

MSI RX2600XT Diamond (Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4)

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The MSI RX2600XT Diamond

The MSI RX2600XT Diamond

The two-slot heat pipe based cooler on the MSI RX2600XT Diamond is a custom cooler that has appeared before in other MSI products. It's a relatively simple design, with a slow and quiet fan keeping the temperatures down. The price of such a cooler of course is the adjacent expansion slot that it takes up, a minor compromise for most users for the mostly silent cooler. Heatsinks are also found for some of the onboard components and the memory chips are all cooled passively in such a manner.

The clock speeds are the highest we have seen on a retail Radeon HD 2600 XT card so far. The core got a nice boost of 50MHz to 850MHz, while the memory clocks had a less significant increase to 2300MHz DDR from the original 2200MHz DDR. Since this is a GDDR4 version, the clocks are obviously higher than the GDDR3 version, though any hopes of overclocking this card are quickly dampened by the ATI Catalyst Control Center, which has an upper bound on the clock speeds for its Overdrive section.

Additional features that are found on any Radeon HD 2600 XT card, not just this Diamond edition are the full HDCP compliance and the MSI package includes a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor, which means that you can connect this graphics card easily to any HDMI device, like the latest HDTV. Courtesy of the GPU, you will also get ATI's Universal Video Decoder functionality on board for hardware accelerated decoding of videos, especially high definition content. So this is a card that punches above its weight for its mid-range caliber, especially during video decoding. MSI has also bundled the essential cables and accessories and the only letdown in its package is the lack of any application or games. Adding MSI's recent choice of bundled game, Company of Heroes, would have been appropriate for this Diamond edition product, but apparently it's a region specific package option. So here's what you get in suammary:-

  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 1 x DVI-to-HDMI adaptor
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN to Composite/S-Video dongle
  • S-Video extension cable
  • Driver CD
  • User manual