For all game tests we set the graphics detail settings to the highest available settings, in 3Dmark benchmarks we stuck to default settings.
For comparison purposes we included the scores achieved by Club3D's 2400/2600 cards in our charts.
We overclocked the HD 2600 XT, but just slightly, and ended up at 860/1700MHz. The reference clocks are 800/1400MHz. Although overclocked, the card never exceeded 55 °C under load, which is impressive. In idle, the card was much cooler and we measured 35 °C. We overclocked the card using ATI Overdrive, included in the ATI Catalyst center.
The 3Dmark 03 tests were surprising, at least when the Sapphire HD 2600 XT is concerned. With 7223 marks the XT falls behind the Pro version, which scores 8394.
When overclocked, the situation changes drastically, with the overclocked scores 91% better than on stock clocks. As you can see, the overclocked score is 13878.
The HD 2400 XT is 55% faster than the HD 2400 PRO.
Of course, this was expected, since the XT cards use GDDR3 memory. The HD 2400 XT uses a 64 bit bus, but the GPU clock is 175MHz higher than on the Pro version, and the memory is also much faster, which allows it to outperform the Pro by a significant margin.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT is 22% faster than the Pro version, while the HD 2400 XT is almost 40% faster than its Pro cousin.
The HD 2600 XT is the only card to achieve a noteworthy score. Both XT cards are about 45% faster than the Pro versions. In 3DMark 06 the 2600 XT is 105% faster than the 2400 XT.
Company of Heroes
At 1024x786 without antialiasing and aniso filters all cards churn out a playable framerate.The HD 2600 XT is 89.7% faster than the 2400XT.
At 1600x1200, also without AA or AF, the gap widens, with the 2600 XT outperforming the 2400 XT by 158.8%. The 2400 shows its bus limitations, and gets us just 17 FPS.
When we turn on 2xAA and 8xAF at 1280x1024, the 2600 XT performance drops significantly. It still outperforms the 2400 XT by 140%. The 2600 PRO keeps up and gets us a playable framerate, but just barely.
Company of Heroes at 1600x1200 is too much even for the HD 2600 XT. To get a playable framerate you have to lower the detail levels.
In FEAR, 1024x768 without AA/AF, the 2600 XT is scores 64% more than the 2400 XT. On 1600x1200, no AA/AF, the 2600 XT is still faster than the 2400 XT by 125%.
Interestingly, we can see that the HD 2400 XT performance is on par with the 2600 Pro, it even beats it at 1600X1200, albeit by just one FPS.
However, with 2xAA and 8xAF the 2600 Pro shows its teeth and outperforms the 2400 XT. The 2600 XT gets us a playable 30 FPS, while the overclocked 2600 XT does even better, with 36 FPS, thanks to a 300MHz memory clock boost.
Wit 4xAA and 16xAF only the overclocked HD 2600 XT gets us a playable framerate with 25 FPS.
As expected, the Sapphire HD 2600 XT is the best card on the test. The HD 2400 Pro is simply not an option for Oblivion. The HD 2400 XT is somewhat better and provides a playable framerate at the lowest tested resolution.
The HD 2600 Pro exhibits a performance penalty when using AA and AF, due to its DDR2 memory.
Serious Sam 2
Serious Sam 2, being the least demanding of all tested games, is playable with all cards.
In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. the 2600 XT does great, and show it has enough power to take anything you can throw at it. The slight performance difference between the 2600 Pro and 2400 XT shows that the cheaper card is not to be discounted either.