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By:Santana Bhatnagar

So far Nvidia has been mesmerizing us with its DirectX 10 graphics monsters; but this time around it’s ATI’s turn. The first DirectX 10 card from ATI, the Asus EAH2600XT can be compared to Nvidia’s GeForce 8600 GTS, for it more or less shares the same specifications.


One of the most interesting features of the 2600XT is the lack of an external power connector, due to the 65nm manufacturing process which is why it consumes less power compared to other mainstream graphics cards. Another advantage is its wide heat sink that covers the RAM chips, keeping them and the rest of the card cool and dissipating heat evenly. The EAH2600XT is equipped with 256 MB of DDR3 RAM running at 700 MHz on a 128-bit interface. Its core runs at 800 MHz and comprises 120 unified shaders. The two DVI connectors allow the option for dual display, and the TV-out/S-video connector allows connection to a TV.


The EAH2600XT is a good performer, but when compared to the Nvidia 8600 GTS, it’s clear why no one would go for ATI. The card was tested using an AMD 690G chipset-based motherboard, an Athlon 64 X2 6000+ processor and 2 GB of DDR2-800 RAM working in dual channel mode. Game benchmarks such as Doom 3 and F.E.A.R. were used at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1280x1024, both with and without anti-aliasing. For a mainstream card, it gave pretty decent scores. But when it was compared with the 8600 GTS using the same rig, it was disastrous! The 8600 GTS battered this card without mercy. 3DMark was tried on Windows XP as well as Windows Vista. The card couldn’t run this test on either of the operating systems, but this cannot be pinned down to a problem with the card, the drivers, or 3DMark itself.


Investing in a graphics card is something we don’t do very often, and at the end of the day we want our money’s worth, right? It’s simple; when the Nvidia 8600 GTS is available with a negligible difference in price, there is no reason for someone to settle for the ATI Radeon HD 2600XT.

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