PowerColor HD 2400 Pro 256 MB
Reviewed by: robgs
Reviewed on: August 1, 2007
Price: $55.00 US
Have you got a gaming system built on a shoestring budget? Maybe you're building a new system and want the latest technology but without the financial bite. If you're an ATI fan, then the PowerColor HD 2400 Pro may be just what you're looking for. The newly released medium ranged cards, built on ATI’s R600 GPU technology, are the lower cost alternatives to the high end cards. The HD 2400 Pro incorporates most of the features of its higher end counterparts, except with more cost effective components. As one of PowerColor’s entry level boards, we’ll look into what kind of performance you can expect to see.
PowerColor was established in 1997 by the Tul Corporation, and has since continued to grow and prosper by consistently providing quality performance products and innovative technology to its customers. The right products, the right time, and the best quality are PowerColor’s driving principles that help to continue its drive to produce quality products for the world market.
Judging by the size and weight of the box, which is about the size of a video game box, the HD 2400 Pro is quite compact.
Inside the box we find the video card, an S-video to RCA dongle, an instruction manual and an installation CD.
As you can see, the HD 2400 Pro is quite small, which will definitely help in some space restrictive cases.
Before you begin the installation of this video card, or any video card for that matter, always completely uninstall any old drivers and software from your system. Starting with a clean system will help ensure that the installation will go more smoothly and prevent any software conflicts.
To install the PowerColor HD 2400 Pro, just insert the card into an available PCI-E slot. Ensure the card is completely seated inside the slot and that the locking tab is fully engaged. Then secure the card in the PCI expansion slot with the provided screw.
Next, plug your monitor into the card using any of the available connectors. You have a choice of DVI, VGA, TV, or S-Video outputs.
After you have restarted your system, you will have to install the new drivers. Insert the provided installation CD into your CD or DVD drive and follow the onscreen instructions. It is recommended that you download the latest drivers from the PowerColor website to make sure you have the latest and greatest software.
If you follow the onscreen instructions for the software and drivers, you shouldn’t have any problems with the install.
After the system has rebooted, following the driver installation. You should configure the card to suit your personal preferences. If you right click anywhere on the desktop, you should now see an “ATi Catalyst Control Center” menu item. Selecting this brings us to the main screen for the control center where we can choose basic or advanced controls.
In basic mode, the number of choices that you can make are reduced. For those of us that may not want to be bothered with all the details, ATi has integrated most of the selections for how the video card will operate into simpler choices and helpful wizards. After choosing the “Basic” ATi Catalyst Control Center, the next screen allows us to choose from three file tabs, “Easy Setup Wizards,” “Quick Settings” and “Information Center.”
In the first tab you can select Avivo Video Converter or set up display configuration. The Avivo video converter, just as the name implies, converts video from one format to another. The display configuration is what we are after. Here you can select the resolution for your screen.
The next file tab allows us to choose from three main selections, “3D Quality,” “Video Playback,” and “Display setup.” The controls are very basic and allow you to make various changes to the configuration, without a lot of detail.
And finally, the last tab in “Basic” mode shows you what various software versions are installed on your system.
In “Advanced” mode, we are given many more choices as to how we would like the HD 2400 Pro to work.
The first selection after the welcome is the “Information Center.” Again, the same as the information center in basic mode, this shows us what software versions are installed, but also shows us a lot of information about the hardware that is on the card.
Next, in the “Display Manager,” you can select multiple monitors or different resolutions and refresh rates.
”Display Options” is where you can change how the Catalyst Control Center detects your different displays, as well as select an option to override the 3D refresh rate.
In “Digital Panel Properties,” there are four subdirectories where we can change the properties of our digital display. The four subheadings are, “Attributes,” “Avivo Color,” “HDTV Support” and “LCD Overdrive”.
The next heading is 3D, where we can change all of the other properties of our 3D experience in explicit detail. For the purposes of this review, I won’t go through each subheading, but suffice it to know that I have left each setting to allow the program to select the desired effect. In this way, wherever possible, I can tailor each game to specific settings that I will choose in the game.
The “Color” section is where you can adjust the color levels of your monitor.
There are a whole host of controls available under the next heading, “Video.” All of these settings help in configuring the video output to your monitor or TV.
For problems, the next section “VPU Recover” gives you some solutions. In case there is a fault with your video card and it stops responding, you can select VPU Recovery. Also, the system will create a report for ATi in the event you may need assistance with a problem.
Finally, there is a handy overclocking utility which will allow you to squeeze the most out your card.
I have left the settings for most of the options in their default positions to show a typical performance result in the testing section of this review. Now that the installation is complete, we’ll test the PowerColor HD 2400 Pro with the standard barrage of Overclockers Club benchmarks.
|Graphics Engine||RADEON HD2400|
|Video Memory||256MB MB DDR2|
|Engine Clock||525 MHz|
|Memory Clock||400 MHz x 2|
|Bus Standard||PCIE x16|
|Adapter/Cable Bundled||Manual, S-video|
|Software Bundled||Driver CD|
- 180 million transistors on 65nm fabrication process
- 64-bit DDR2/GDDR3 memory interface
- Unified Superscalar Shader Architecture
- 40 stream processing units
- Dynamic load balancing and resource allocation for vertex, geometry, and pixel shaders
- Common instruction set and texture unit access supported for all types of shaders
- Dedicated branch execution units and texture address processors
- 128-bit floating point precision for all operations
- Command processor for reduced CPU overhead
- Shader instruction and constant caches
- Up to 16 texture fetches per clock cycle
- Up to 128 textures per pixel
- Fully associative vertex/texture cache design
- DXTC and 3Dc+ texture compression
- High resolution texture support (up to 8192 x 8192)
- Fully associative texture & Z/stencil cache designs
- Early Z test, Re-Z, Z Range optimization, and Fast Z Clear
- Lossless Z & stencil compression
- 8 render targets (MRTs) with anti-aliasing support
- Physics processing support
- 40 stream processing units
- Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 10
- Shader Model 4.0
- Geometry Shaders
- Stream Output
- Integer and Bitwise Operations
- Alpha to Coverage
- Constant Buffers
- State Objects
- Texture Arrays
- Dynamic Geometry Acceleration
- Programmable tessellation unit
- Accelerated geometry shader path for geometry amplification
- Memory read/write cache for improved stream output performance
- Anti-aliasing features
- Multi-sample anti-aliasing (up to 4 samples per pixel)
- Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA) for improved quality
- Adaptive super-sampling and multi-sampling
- Temporal anti-aliasing
- Gamma correct
- Super AA (CrossFire configurations only)
- All anti-aliasing features compatible with HDR rendering
- Texture filtering features
- 2x/4x/8x/16x high quality adaptive anisotropic filtering modes (up to 128 taps per pixel)
- 128-bit floating point HDR texture filtering
- Bicubic filtering
- sRGB filtering (gamma/degamma)
- Percentage Closer Filtering (PCF)
- Depth & stencil texture (DST) format support
- Shared exponent HDR (RGBE 9:9:9:5) texture format support
- CrossFire™ Multi-GPU Technology
- Scale up rendering performance and image quality with 2 or more GPUs
- Integrated compositing engine
- High performance dual channel interconnect
- ATI Avivo™ HD Video and Display Platform
- Dedicated unified video decoder (UVD) for H.264/AVC and VC-1 video formats
- High definition (HD) playback of both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats
- Hardware MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/DivX video decode acceleration
- Motion compensation and iDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform)
- Avivo Video Post Processor
- Color space conversion
- Chroma subsampling format conversion
- Horizontal and vertical scaling
- Gamma correction
- High Quality Video Post Processing
- Advanced vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
- De-blocking and noise reduction filtering \
- Detail enhancement
- Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
- Bad edit correction
- Two independent display controllers
- Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls and video overlays for each display
- Full 30-bit display processing
- Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion
- Spatial/temporal dithering provides 30-bit color quality on 24-bit and 18-bit displays
- High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all display outputs
- Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
- Fast, glitch-free mode switching
- Hardware cursor
- Two integrated DVI display outputs
- Primary supports 18-, 24-, and 30-bit digital displays at all resolutions up to 1920x1200 (single-link DVI) or 2560x1600 (dual-link DVI)1
- Secondary supports 18-, 24-, and 30-bit digital displays at all resolutions up to 1920x1200 (single-link DVI only)1
- Each includes a dual-link HDCP encoder with on-chip key storage for high resolution playback of protected content2
- Two integrated 400 MHz 30-bit RAMDACs
- Each supports analog displays connected by VGA at all resolutions up to 2048x15361
- HDMI output support
- Supports all display resolutions up to 1920x10801
- Integrated HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support, enabling a plug-and-play cable-less audio solution
- Integrated AMD Xilleon™ HDTV encoder
- Provides high quality analog TV output (component/S-video/composite)
- Supports SDTV and HDTV resolutions
- Underscan and overscan compensation
- MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264/AVC encoding and transcoding
- Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
- VGA mode support on all display outputs
- Dedicated unified video decoder (UVD) for H.264/AVC and VC-1 video formats
- PCI Express x16 bus interface
- OpenGL 2.0 support
To test the PowerColor HD 2400 Pro video card, I will run it through a series of well known benchmarks and guage the performance level based on frames per second counts and benchmark scores. The benchmarks I will use are Far Cry, F.E.A.R., Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Call of Duty 2, Quake 4, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, 3DMark06, and RyderMark. The setup of each benchmark will be shown before the graphs for each test.
- Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo Processor
- Asus P5N32-E SLI motherboard
- 2GB OCZ PC2-6400 EL Platinum ram
- 3 Seagate 320GB SATA II drives, RAID 5
- LG GSA-H22L-BLK 18x DVD ROM
- Windows XP Professional SP2
Video Cards Compared:
- PowerColor HD 2400 Pro 256 MB
- Sapphire HD2400 XT
- Sapphire HD2600 XT
- Foxconn 8600 GTS
Benchmark: Far Cry
Far Cry is a game that was introduced a few years ago but still has many advanced features to task any of the newer video cards.
- Maximum quality option, Direct3D renderer
- Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
- Pixel shader: model 2.0b
- Antialising: 4×
- Anisotropic filtering: 8×
- HDR: disabled
- Geometry Instancing: disabled
- Normal-maps compression: disabled
First Encounter Assault Recon is still considered by many the top shooter available. Here we will use the built in hardware test at the settings listed below.
- FSAA: x4
- Anisotropic: x16
- Effects: Max
- Computer: High
- Soft Shadow: Off
Benchmark: Microsoft X
Microsoft Flight Simulator X is one of the most well known and popular flight sims out there. If you are a flight sim fan, you probably own this game or at the very least have heard of it. Since Microsoft Flight Simulator X doesn't support the 800 x 600 resolution, that resolution is omitted for this test.
- Target Frame rate to unlimited
- Bilinear filtering
- All other settings to medium high
Benchmark: Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 2 is an excellent WW II shooter that has been around for some time now.
- Anti-aliasing: x4
- Texture Filter: Trilinear
Benchmark: Quake 4
ID software, in its latest installment of the Quake series, has supplied a game with some intense graphics and innovative effects that continue to bring video cards to their knees.
- Demo: Hardware OC
- Quality: High
- Aspect Ratio: [4:3]
- Antialiasing: 4×
- Anisotropic filtering: 4x
- Symmetric MultiProcessing (SMP) enabled
Benchmark: Need for Speed MW
In its latest installment of Need for Speed, Electronic Arts supplies a game rich in detail, realism and fun, and can be quite demanding on hardware.
- Track: Clubhouse and Hollis
- All basic video settings set to ¾ on scroll bar
- All geometric features: High
- Vsync: Off
3DMark06 is another very popular video card and system benchmark. It is always nice to use the latest version of this software as we also get a chance to see what new texture, lighting, and graphics processing standards are coming down the pipe.
- SM2.0 Graphics Tests: GT1- Return to Proxycon, GT2- Firefly Forest
- CPU Tests: Cpu1- Red Valley, CPU2- Red Valley
- HDR/SM3.0 Graphics Tests: HDR1- Canyon Flight, HDR2- Deep Freeze
RyderMark is a relatively new benchmark on the scene that has been created by Candella Software.
- Shader model 3.0
- Resolutions 1024x768,1280x1024,1680x1050
- AA 4x Quality 8
- AF 16x
- 64 Bit Shader
- Memory set to video card level
The installation of this card went very smoothly. There was adequate documentation available, both in print and online, to help with the special features, as well as with the configuration. The Catalyst Control Center is a very handy utility that is easy to navigate and has many features that I would have only expected on a more expensive card. One drawback was that the heatsink and fan looked a little undersized and would probably be the big limiting factor in overclocking, but the board design makes upgrading it much easier.
At first glance, this card appeared to be way too small to be of any performance value, but after testing, I quickly realized that the size was really a benefit of the 65nm fabrication process that this card was built with. I really like the fact that the HD 2400 Pro is so compact in design but can still deliver so much power and performance at moderate game settings. It would easily fit into any size case or multimedia enclosure.
The PowerColor HD 2400 Pro is definitely not a top of the line video card, but it is not meant to be. The card, when configured properly, can deliver blazing fast performance that is, at some resolutions, not far from the high end cards. For the overall cost and what you get for your money, the PowerColor HD 2400 Pro is a good choice for the moderate gaming system.
- Low Cost
- Good performance
- HDMI capable
- Small size
- Limited cooling capability