Sapphire HD 2400 XT Video Card
Reviewed by: Makaveli
Reviewed on: July 29, 2007
Price: $79.99 USD
What are some people thinking? Hundreds of dollars for a video card!? I just want to be able to play one or two DirectX 10 games at realistic resolutions. If this sounds like you, you're probably in the market for an entry level graphics card. Something inexpensive that can still make your games playable is what's most desirable. Will the Sapphire HD 2400XT video card be the solution? Let's go ahead and see how well this entry level card does against some of the lower end and middle performance mainstream cards. How will the card react when pushed to the limit? Join us as we thoroughly test and inspect this video card.
Sapphire is one of ATi's largest and most trusted partners. The company creates innovative products that are high quality and reliable for its customers in various markets. Sapphire continues to strive to be an elite force in the graphics card, motherboard, and multimedia markets.
I really enjoy the boxes in which Sapphire's video cards are shipped in. They are extremely eye-catching and really make you want to open the box right away to retrieve your item from within. On the front of this box, we have a young man wearing a body suit that is decked out in Sapphire logos. The back of the box boasts the DirectX 10 capability that this HD 2400XT has.
Once you unwrap your card, you'll notice how small it is. Since it is an entry level card, I wasn't really expecting a big card. I then noticed how there was no fan on the video card, only a big heatsink. Also, take a look at the Crossfire connectors, VGA port, S-Video port, and DVI port on the card.
Included with the card is the user manual, HDTV breakout cable, DVI to HDMI converter, DVI to D-Sub converters, and a TV-Out converter. I was suprised to see that there was no driver CD included. Read on to find out why.
To install the Sapphire HD 2400XT, first remove all current video card drivers on your computer. Then power down your machine, unplug the power supply and open up your computer. Remove your old graphics card and place the HD 2400XT in your PCI-Express x16 slot. Since there is no power port on the video card, you won't have to plug it in. Close up your computer, plug in the power supply and power on your machine.
Here is where it got nasty. I have the new video card in my system, so I go directly to ATI's website and download the latest drivers (driver version 7.6 at the time) and tried to install it. Once I got it set to install, I got an error saying "Setup did not find a driver compatible with your current hardware or operating system. Setup will now exit." So then I thought that I didn't clear off all of the old display drivers. My next course of action was to use Driver Cleaner Pro and clean out everything that has to do with nVidia or ATi. After that was clean, I disconnected myself from the internet, booted into Windows Safe Mode and ran Driver Cleaner Pro again to make sure that it got everything. I ran Cab Cleaner to get the Driver.cab file wiped out as well. I used a registry cleaner program and cleaned out the registry, defragged it and then booted back into normal Windows. I tried to install the drivers again but it still didn't work.
Next, I went to ATI's website and downloaded an older version of the display drivers to see if that would work. I got the exact same error as above. After nothing worked and days of frustration, we were given special access to an FTP site to download working drivers. What do you know? They worked! Finally, we can use and test this card.
Update: I just saw that ATi released display driver version 7.7, so I tried that on the HD 2400XT but I still got the "Setup did not find a driver compatible with your current hardware or operating system. Setup will now exit." error. I will update this review again once ATi or Sapphire releases a working driver to the public.
Now that I have successfully gotten the Catalyst Control Center and the display drivers for the Sapphire HD 2400XT installed, let's take a look into the "Advanced" part of the Catalyst Control Center.
The options that caught my attention were the "Displays Manager" and the "Display Options" where you can set the monitor resolutions, refresh rates, and display management options.
Next, I found myself in "Monitor Properties" configuring colors and AVIVO settings. Then I saw the "Standard Settings" tab which is where you can change the performance versus quality options. The list of options you have to change is very long and range from your monitor settings to your TV settings.
Alright, now that we've got an idea for what the Catalyst Control Center is capable of, let's move on to test the Sapphire HD 2400XT!
- Graphics Processor: ATI Radeon HD 2400XT
- Memory Installed: 256MB GDDR3
- Interface: PCI Express x16
- 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
- Full support for Microsoft
- Hardware based H.264/VC-1 decoding of Blu-ray™ and HD DVDs
- HDMI with 5.1 surround sound audio
- DirectX® 10 support
- Up to twice the performance of integrated graphics
To test this entry level card, we're going to be benchmarking it with some of the most popular games on the market today. We will be testing the Sapphire HD 2400XT at three different resolutions: 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, and 1280 x 1024. Let's see how it fares against the competition.
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Processor
- Abit IN9 32X-Max Wi-Fi Motherboard
- Crucial Ballistix Tracer (2 x 1GB) DDR2 1066 Memory
- Mushkin XP2-6400 (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 Memory
- Cooler Master 750watt Power Supply
- Western Digital 250GB IDE Hard Drive
- Western Digital 160GB SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive
- Seagate 80GB IDE Hard Drive
- LG DVD-R DL Burner
- Windows XP Professional SP2
- Turtle Beach Montego DDL Sound Card
- Enermax Uber Chakra ATX Full Tower Case
- Sapphire HD 2600XT (ATi)
- Power Color X1650 Pro Golden Pig Edition (ATi)
- Foxconn 8600 GTS OC (nVidia)
- XFX 8600GTS XXX Edition (nVidia)
- Far Cry: Hardware OC (Ubisoft Volcano)
- F.E.A.R. (Performance Test)
- Call of Duty 2: Stalingrad (FRAPS)
- Quake 4: Hardware OC
- Need For Speed: Most Wanted (FRAPS)
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Benchmark: Far Cry
Let's take a look at the scores from Far Cry, an older first person shooter.
- 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
One of the more popular first person shooters is F.E.A.R. We'll be using the in-game benchmark.
- FSAA: x4
- Anisotropic: x16
- Effects: Max
- Computer: High
- Soft Shadow: Off
Benchmark: Call of Duty 2
We'll be playing on the multiplayer map Stalingrad, Russia in this popular first person shooter.
- Anti-aliasing: x4
- Texture Filter: Trilinear
Benchmark: Quake 4
Quake 4 is a popular first person shooter taking place in space.
- Demo: Hardware OC
- Quality: High
- Aspect Ratio: [4:3]
- Antialiasing: 4×
- Anisotropic filtering: 4x
- Symmetric MultiProcessing (SMP) enabled
Benchmark: Need For Speed Most Wanted
Next test is from the popular racing game series, Need For Speed dubbed "Most Wanted".
- Track: Clubhouse and Hollis
- All basic video settings set to ¾ on scroll bar
- All geometric features: High
- Vsync: Off
Benchmark: Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Microsoft Flight Simulator X can punish a video card because of how graphically challenging it is. We couldn't run the benchmark at 800x600 because the game won't go that low for resolutions.
- Target Frame rate to unlimited
- Bilinear filtering
- All other settings to medium high
Benchmark: 3D Mark 06
3DMark06 is a great benchmark for video cards.
- 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
Candella Software has produced a new benchmark called "RyderMark". It is basically a boat racing game that takes place in Venice Italia. The game is graphically challenging and is tough on video cards. Check back at OverclockersClub.com for an official review of the benchmark!
- Shader model 3.0
- Resolutions 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024
- AA 4x Quality 8
- AF 16x
- 64 Bit Shader
- Memory set to video card level
Being an entry level graphics card, I have to say this card wasn't too impressive for gaming. I would not recommend this card to any gamer because the benchmarks clearly show that this card isn't meant for hardcore gaming. It seems like this card would be a great choice for a family or home theater computer because it does have HDMI support and can handle graphics, to some extent. The price of this card is very low, which is a huge plus. The driver installation was a nightmare and you might have to wait for the public release of a driver that works. The card is DirectX 10 and High Definition capable, so that is a plus. If you're looking for an entry level card with a low price that can still put out some decent numbers and has DirectX10, HDMI, and High Definition support, don't look past this Sapphire HD 2400XT video card! Check back at OverclockersClub.com for a DirectX 10 graphics card round up coming up soon.
- DirectX 10
- Decent Performance
- High Definition Capable
- Driver Installation