Graphics Cards Guide

Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 OC Edition review

Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 OC Edition

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The Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB OC Edition

The Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 PRO 256MB OC Edition

A short (but not low profile) and rather lightweight card after the heavy duty Radeon HD 2900 XT, the Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 PRO comes with a small cooler that is quite audible given its size. It's not too noisy but it was definitely louder than the default CPU cooler for our Intel Core 2 Duo processor. However, if you already happen to have a couple of system fans spinning in your chassis, especially the smaller but faster 80mm variety, then you shouldn't worry too much since from our experience, those fans should submerge the noise from the Sapphire.

The core clock on this Sapphire OC Edition has been raised from the standard 600MHz to 700MHz, while the memory clocks are also boosted to 1400MHz from the usual 1000MHz DDR. In fact, compared to the standard Radeon HD 2600 PRO, this Sapphire seems more like an underclocked Radeon HD 2600 XT instead of a true 2600 PRO. This is due to the similarities in the PCB, with the reference Radeon HD 2600 PRO missing the CrossFire interconnect bridges (since CrossFire is enabled via the PCIe for that SKU) but these are present on the Sapphire, a feature that is found on standard Radeon HD 2600 XT cards. 1.2ns rated DDR3 memory from Samsung is also used and not the slower DDR2 due to the higher memory clocks.

And have we mentioned yet again that the Radeon HD 2600 PRO comes with the 'HD' features like HDCP support, HD audio controller and the much touted UVD that aims to reduce the CPU workload during HD video playback? We are sure that these features have been imprinted into your minds by now and if the performance numbers we are seeing is any indication, these features could well be the saving grace for these new cards. The good news for this Sapphire is that the vendor has bundled the DVI-to-HDMI adaptor needed for HDMI output and there's also a CrossFire bridge included. Although we feel that these accessories should come standard on every Radeon HD card, that is not usually the case, hence Sapphire gets our nod for doing so. The accessories found in the bundle are as follows:

  • 1 x DVI-to-HDMI adaptor
  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN to Composite adaptor
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN to Component/S-Video dongle
  • 1 x CrossFire bridge
  • Driver CD
  • User manual
  • 3DMark06 Professional Edition