Sapphire HD 2600Pro AGP ReviewFormer staff writer -
Category: Video Cards
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It used to be that if you wanted to experience DirectX 10, but were still sporting an AGP video card, you were forced to upgrade, not only the video card, but your motherboard as well, to support a PCI-Express card. Well not anymore! As "yesterday's" technology can still keep up with most of today's software, many people have not made the jump to PCI-Express, and now thanks to ATI, you don't have to. AGP gamers and HTPC users have been hit hardest with being left behind with DX10, new shaders, and HD output. ATI's 2x00 series looks to capitalize on this market.
Sapphire’s ATI Radeon HD 2600PRO AGP bridges the gap between yesterday’s hardware and today’s software. So for those of us still holding AGP close to our hearts, let's see if it's really worth holding on to.
“For over ten years Sapphire has held true to its unwavering commitment, the commitment to deliver the most feature rich and soundly engineered products. Captured within the circuitry of each of SAPPHIRE's graphic cards and mainboards can be found the collective feedback from generations of enthusiasts in every market niche. Brought to life through performance oriented innovation and an emphasis on quality control, SAPPHIRE designs, manufactures and distributes the most complete range of ATI video boards and mainboards--from the mainstream products that afford the casual user the opportunity to enjoy enriched graphics and affordable platform solutions to the state-of-the-art technological marvels that drive fantasies to before unattainable thresholds of realism.“
The Sapphire HD 2600PRO comes very efficiently packaged in a box a little bigger than a three-DVD box set. The front of the box stays true to the Sapphire/ATI marketing with an imposing, attractive female, as well as the AGP 8X and 512MB DDR2 info. Strangely, it seems the info on the side of the box needs some updating, as it states that PCI-Express is required.
Getting to the inside packaging shows the accessories packed in the bottom of the box, and the video card tucked securely in the flaps above. Opening the flaps reveals the thick anti-static bag that protects the card from damage in transit.
Taking a look at the accessories shows that Sapphire includes the driver installation disk, DVI to D-sub connector, TV out connector, HDTV breakout cable, instruction manual, power cable adaptor, and the all-important case badge.
Getting the HD 2600PRO out of the anti static bag reveals the Blue Sapphire heat sink fan with the model number and the attractive female to stand guard over your case internals. The heat sink covers the GPU while the memory is sadly left to fend for itself. The rear of the card is also left bare. The HD 2600PRO has a 4-pin power connector for external power. The card comes with a DVI port, D-Sub and S-Video Out connector.
The HD 2600 Pro should have no problems fitting in the tightest of spaces. For comparison, the 9600XT is pictured next to the HD 2600 Pro.