Thanks to their use of TSMCís 65-nm manufacturing process, the Radeon HD 2600 cards require very little power to operate. According to AMD, the thermal design power for the Radeon HD 2600ís RV630 GPU is just 45 watts. As a result, neither Radeon HD 2600 card needs an external power connector in order to operate. The cards get all their juice from the PCIe interface.
The Radeon HD 2600 XT
The reference board design for AMDís Radeon HD 2600 XT reminds us of the Radeon X1950 Pro in many ways. At right around 9Ē, the Radeon HD 2600 XT card is just as long as the Radeon X1950 Pro, and it relies on a ducted cooling design thatís similar to the X1950 Pro. ATI uses a similar fan for the card too.
Of course, the biggest difference is in power delivery. As youíll see in our benchmarks, the power demands of the 2600 XT are significantly reduced from the X1950 Pro, and the cooler is also composed of a mixture of aluminum and copper, whereas the X1950 Proís cooler is manufactured entirely with copper. Aluminum doesnít dissipate heat as well as copper does, but considering how cool the GPU on the Radeon HD 2600 XT runs, we donít think all-copper is necessary. One benefit of going to aluminum is that the card is a little lighter, and of course, itís cheaper to manufacture.
Surrounding the GPU is a large aluminum plate which also cools the boardís VRM circuitry. Then resting atop the GPU itself is a copper heatsink. Measuring in at just 3Ē long, this copper heatsink does a very good job of keeping the GPU cool, even under load we noted temps in the mid-60 degree Celsius range and the cardís fan generates very little noise in use.
In terms of connectivity, AMD outfits the Radeon HD 2600 XT with two dual-link DVI ports, and of course, the aforementioned HDMI adapter cable. AMDís 2600 XT card also supports HDCP, and the final output on the card is an HDTV output.
The GDDR3 board ships with the exact same configuration/cooling, with the obvious difference being the memory type supported.
Radeon HD 2600 Pro
The board design for the Radeon HD 2600 Pro is very different from the XT. Gone is the large ducted cooler, in its place youíll see a much smaller aluminum heatsink/fan unit. Also gone are the two 12-bit CrossFire connectors on the top of the card. At this time the Radeon HD 2600 Pro lacks support for connectorless, software-based CrossFire.
Weíre going to be frank with you, we donít like the cooling as it stands now on the Radeon HD 2600 Pro. This is because the cardís fan generates over 50 dB of noise! This is considerably louder than other cards in its class.
Thankfully the noise generated by the cardís fan isnít caused by the fanís motor. Instead itís the amount of air that the card pushes. AMD cranks the fan up to very high levels, this in turn pushes a lot of air through the cardís ducted cooling. This air passing through the cardís duct is the bulk of the noise that you hear, resulting in a somewhat deep whooshing noise.
On the multimedia front, the Radeon HD 2600 Pro supports all the features found in the more expensive Radeon HD 2600 XT.
AGP users will be glad to hear that AGP variants of the Radeon HD 2600 are in the works from AMDís board partners. During Computex Sapphire demoíed their AGP cards, and we wouldnít be surprised if more partners also offered AGP variants in the near future.