Sapphire Radeon HD2600XT Ultimate graphics card

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Sapphire has taken the notion of passively cooled graphics cards seriously with its Ultimate range of cards, the latest of which is the HD2600XT.

As you may gather from its name, this Ultimate is built around AMD's DX10-supporting HD2600XTcore and features a nicely designed heatpipe and radiator arrangement to keep it cool.

Built on a blue printed circuit board (PCB), the RV630 core runs at 800MHz and sits under a small copper and aluminium heatsink with two heatpipes running around the board to a big multi-finned cooler. Unlike some passive cards, this cooler isn't too large to fit into a motherboard that uses big passive coolers on the Northbridge. We fitted it into a couple of motherboards with the largest coolers we have seen with no problems.

The 256MB of GDDR3 memory is clocked at 700MHz (1,400MHz effective) and sits uncovered on the PCB. The memory modules are rated at 750MHz (1,500MHz) so running them at 700MHz enables them to be left uncovered.

The HD2600XT Ultimate would make an ideal card for a quiet entertainment PC if you use a case that takes full-size cards, not only for its silence but for the hardware that comes as standard on the HD2600/HD2400 series. The GPU has a built-in audio controller, which, although requiring an audio codec on the motherboard, does away with the need to use a cable to connect them.

Although there is no HDMI output on the card expansion plate, a DVI/HDMI adapter is supplied with the card, which carries both the video and audio streams. Also part of the hardware is AMD's UVD (Unified Video Decoder) which handles all the decoding HD DVD or Blu-ray duties relieving both the GPU and the systems CPU.

Source: VNU Net

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