Gigabyte Radeon HD2400 XT Review

ajmatson - 2008-04-04 20:47:14 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: April 23, 2008
Price: $49.90

Introduction:

When someone mentions a video card, the first thing that we think is how fast will it play that new game? Never does anyone say 'Wow, that card would push my HTPCs video capabilities to the max'. On the other hand, say you are building a computer for use in an office environment, or for your school work. Do you really need to spend hundreds of dollars if you are not going to use it for gaming or graphic design? Of course not, but then what would be the best, to suit your needs? You don't want the bottom of the barrel either, especially if you are running Windows Vista's Aero Interface. So where does that leave you?

Enter Gigabyte's Radeon HD 2400 XT video card. The HD 2400 XT is a mid-range graphics accelerator card, that gives you the options you need without draining your wallet to get them. The HD 2400 XT supports DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.0, as well as Shader Model 4.0. This will allow you to run the goodies of Windows Vista and while you probably will not be gaming on extreme settings, it should allow you some casual gaming at discrete resolutions and graphics settings. The HD 2400 XT also supports HDCP and ATI's AVIVO for high definition playback of videos, without taxing the CPU to run them. So now let's take a look at what makes it handle all of this technology.

 

Closer Look:

The Gigabyte HD 2400 XT comes in nice packaging, with a lot of the features right on the front of the box. This is an excellent marketing strategy, because when I look to buy a piece of hardware, I do not want to search all over the box to see what the features it offers. The back of the box lists some more of the features in several different languages, as well as highlighting some of the more unique features of the card, which we will go over later in this review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open the packaging, you can see the care taken to secure the HD 2400 XT while being transported. The card is wrapped in an anti-static bag and sandwiched in a cardboard cutout, to keep from moving around to much. Under the card are the accessories that are included with the Gigabyte HD 2400 XT. Included is the card itself, a quick install guide in several languages, a manual, the driver/software CD, a DVI to VGA adapter and an S-Video to Composite Video Adapter.

 

 

So do you want to see the card yet? I know I do so let's move on.

Closer Look:

The Gigabyte HD 2400 XT is a low profile card that has a very large heatsink instead of a cooling fan. Gigabyte chose the blue colored PCB, which adds to it's pleasant looking design. This video card uses the power from the X16 PCI Express slot, so there is no need for an external power connection to run it. The connections on this card include a D-Sub/VGA, an S-Video port and a DVI port for high definition video and HDCP support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like I mentioned above, the Gigabyte HD 2400 XT uses a unique cooling method called "Screen Cooling". This takes a fan-less heatsink and extends it past the width of the PCB, making the card essentially a full size ATX card. This gives the video card a wider and thicker look, while effectively cooling it with  zero noise level, from the lack of fans. This design also protects the VGA connection, which uses a ribbon cable to extend the port on the PCI bracket, from snagging or damage. By removing the outer connection bracket we can get a better look at the fins of the heatsink and the holes which allow air flow from the case to pass through them and cool the card.

 

 

 

After removing the heatsink, we are able to get a look at all of the cards glory. The HD 2400 XT uses the RV610 core, which is one of the first GPUs to be manufactured using a 65nm process, for higher clock speeds while running at cooler temps. The stock clock speed of the GPU is 700MHZ and pushes video to a resolution of 2560 x 1600 via dual 400MHZ RAMDACs. The memory on the HD 2400 XT is 256MB DDR2, manufactured by Hynix and runs at 400MHz (800MHz effective) on a 64-bit memory interface.

 

 

Now that we have taken a good look at the card itself, let's install the software to get the magic happening.

Configuration:

To start the configuration, you must first pop the CD into the drive. The installation software will start the auto run and a window will show up, giving you options to get going. You can choose to install DirectX 9, install the display drivers, install the Yahoo Companion Toolbar, browse the CD, view the 'read me', or exit the program. We are going to choose to install the Display Drivers for the setup. When you choose that option, the ATI Catalyst Control Center Installation will start on its own. You are opted to Install, Update, or Uninstall the drivers if you already have ones installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you choose the option to install, you are presented with an option to perform an Express Install with the default options, or a Custom install, to choose the path and what you would like installed. I chose 'custom' to see what exactly was being installed to the test system. Once you agree to the license, the installation will finish up and let you know when it is done.

 

 

 

Once installation is over, you can use the ATI Catalyst Control Center to configure your card, so lets move on and examine the CCC. The first time you start the Catalyst Control Center (CCC) you are presented with an option to run it in Basic or Advanced mode. Since we are here to test the HD 2400 XT I will choose and show you the Advanced mode. When the CCC comes up there is a wealth of settings you can tweak and view.

 

I will be going over the CCC in the next section.

Configuration:

The Catalyst Control Center is where all of the settings for the Gigabyte HD 2400 XT takes place. There is a lot that you can change and set, however, I am only going to go over the main parts of it.

Information Center: The Information center is where you can view everything about the hardware and software associated with the video card, such as driver versions and hardware specifications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Panel: The Digital Panel is where you can set and view monitor information, HDTV settings, ATI's AVIVO color settings and LCD Overdrive to apply LCD settings that override the hardware of the monitor.

 

 

 

 

3D: The 3D tab is where you can modify your visual settings for performance or quality, including Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, color schemes and more.

 

 

VIVO Video, Power Play & ATI Overdrive: AVIVO settings allow you to alter the colors for better viewing. Power Play allows you to create settings to conserve power and heat. ATI overdrive is where you can push the HD 2400 XT to the limits by overclocking it. There are controls for the advanced user or you can Auto-Tune for automatic overclocking.

 

 


Now that we have the settings down, let's move on to the testing phase.

Specifications:

 

Chipset
ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT
Memory
256MB
Memory Bus
64 bit
Memory Type
GDDR2
Card Dimensions
Low Profile with ATX Bracket
Bus Type
PCI Express
Bus Speed
x16
Connections
TV Out, D-Sub, DVI
VIVO
No
Multi View
Yes

 

 

 Features: 

 

Testing:

To effectively test the Gigabyte Radeon HD 2400 XT video card, I am going to run it through a series of gaming benchmarks to see how well it scores. I will also compare it to another ATI HD card, the PowerColor HD 3450, to see how it compares to a similar card, in terms of speed and performance. All hardware will be run at their stock speeds, to ensure no variables will contaminate the scores and both cards will be run on the exact same setup. The only changes will be to the HD 2400 XT card itself during the overclocking phase described below.

 

Testing Setup:

 

 Comparison Video Card:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

To overclock the Gigabyte Radeon HD 2400 XT, I went in to the overdrive section of the Catalyst Control Center. To my surprise, any time I tried to raise either the memory or GPU clocks and test them, they automatically defaulted to the stock speeds. I was scratching my head and tried another card and used the CCC again and it worked. Since it had to be the HD 2400 XT not allowing the overclock, I opened RivaTuner and tried again to raise the clock speeds. This time it worked. I was able to raise the clock speeds to 800MHz on the GPU and 500MHz on the memory, stable, using RivaTuner. Anything over those, I started to get freezing and blue screens, so the overclocking benchmarks will be run at 800/500MHz speeds.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Crysis
  2. Knights of the Sea
  3. Bioshock
  4. Call of Duty 4
  5. World in Conflict
  6. Call of Jaurez
  7. 3DMark 06 Professional

 

Crysis is a new addition to the gaming benchmark suite use at OverclockersClub.com. This game is one of the most anticipated and system intensive games to be released to the market right now. The Crysis single player demo includes a GPU benchmark to test the performance of the video card installed in the system. 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Crysis benchmark, the HD 2400 XT took the HD3450 in all resolutions, except at 1920x1200, where the scores evened up.

Testing:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a new DX10 title that features its own proprietary graphics engine currently in development. The game is a combination of real time strategy and simulation. You have the ability to control the entire crew, or just a single member. Play as the German, Russian or Allied navies, and prove your mettle on the open seas.

 

The settings we will use are below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, the 2400 XT fell behind until the highest resolution where it evened up.

Testing:

BioShock is one of the newest games on the market. It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This first-person shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HD3450 took over this newer benchmark, until the end where the overclocked 2400 XT did slightly better.

Testing:

Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare is the successor to the Call of Duty crown. This iteration of the game is fought in many of the world's hot spots with modern armaments and firepower. You can play as either a US Marine or British SAS trooper. Since this game does not feature an in-game test, I will run through a section of the game and measure average FPS using Fraps 2.9.3.

 

The settings used are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, the older technology of the 2400 XT gave in to the newer technology of the HD3450.

Testing:

World In Conflict is a newly released DX10, real-time strategy game that simulated the all out war that the world hopes never comes. The difference in this RTS game, is that it is not the typical generate wealth and build type of game. You advance by conquering your foe.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At stock speeds the HD 2400 XT was slower, but overclocked, it took the win.

Testing:

Call of Juarez is a DirectX10 First Person Shooter set in the Wild West of the late 1800s. The game is inspired, in part, by the movies of the Wild West genre of the seventies and eighties. The game can be played as both single player and multiplayer. The game focuses on realistic graphics and gameplay designed to take advantage of the latest video cards on the market.

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, here in the Call of Juarez Benchmark, which fully uses DirectX 10, the cards have a stalemate matching each other speed for speed in all the resolutions.

Testing:

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts is the latest chapter in the Company of Heroes series. The scene is WWII. The mission is Operation Market Garden, the first allied attempt to break into the Third Reich. Play as the British or Germans. This real time strategy game is brought to us by Relic Entertainment.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This test was a close one, fluctuating between resolutions.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has started. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the HD 2400 XT did better while overclocked, but measured almost the same at the HD3450 while at stock speeds.

Extras:

As you may have noticed, the HD 2400 XT is not a mind-blowing gaming card. So what is its best quality? Well the answer would be video. The HD 2400 XT is designed to deliver stunning and rich video, all while relieving the decoding from the CPU to the GPU. This keeps the computer from bogging down during video playback and increases the quality since the video is now processed by the video card. This also allows older systems with not-so-strong CPUs to be used as media computers. That's right - now you can turn your older out-dated computer, into a video powerhouse HTPC, with an inexpensive upgrade. For the testing I will be using two movies to see how well they playback. The movies I chose were "We Were Soldiers" and "Behind Enemy Lines".

 

The first set of pics will be from the HD 2400 XT video card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second set is from the HD3450 video card.

 

 

Now I am going to rate the cards for picture quality and resources used. The scores are on a scale of 1 to 100 percent with higher being better. This is going off of what I saw while watching the videos based on first hand experience.

 

Wow, that was a tough one. There is no clear winner here as both cards are designed for video playback and they do them well. The Gigabyte HD 2400 XT did use slightly less average CPU power during the same testing, but the picture quality was excellent with no bogging down.

Conclusion:

The Gigabyte HD 2400 XT, while not being a very good gaming card for high graphics intensive games, does work well at lower settings and for video projects. The HD 2400 XT supports Windows Vista and the Aero interface, allowing you to have a great computing experience. Gigabyte packs all of today's technology into a nice little card that is inexpensive for anyones budget. The passive cooling design makes it perfect for an HTPC or small office computer running programs with ease. When compared to the HD3450, which is a newer low profile, mid-range card, the HD 2400 XT held on strong and coming up on top for some of the benchmarks. That is amazing for older technology, which you hardly ever see.

Since this card is designed as a media card more than a gaming card, I had high expectations for the video review. I must say that those expectations were met and exceeded. The video playback was flawless and crisp. The pictures in the review do not do it justice and I actually got caught up watching the full length of both movies, because of the definition and clarity. If you are looking into building an HTPC or even for casually playing low quality games, then the Gigabyte HD 2400 XT is a no brainer buy. However, if more than casual gaming is your thing I would look for a more high-end video card such as Gigabyte's 8600GT Video Card , which uses the same concept for cooling and low profile design.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: