In the last couple of months we were busy testing several HD2600XT cards. You can find out more about HD2600XT and HD2000 series in our Jetway, HIS and Sapphire reviews. We got the first Club3D HD2000 series cards a couple of months ago, thanks to the folks from Genelec Tuzla.
Thanks to the same people, we have some Club3D specialties on the menu again, but this time it's HD2600XT with GDDR4 memory. So far, we've mostly been testing HD2600XT cards with slower and somewhat lower priced GDDR3 memory, so we eagerly pounced on the chance to test out today's card. Is GDDR4 actually worth the extra money you'll lay out? Well, we're eager and ready to find that out.
Thanks to a great price/quality ratio, solid performance and impressive multimedia capabilities, HD2600 cards coming in XT and PRO flavors usually prove to be a good choice in this price range. Club3D HD2600XT GDDR4, just like the GDDR3 version, offers HDMI support and an overall nice bundle. You also get a Valve certificate, which allows you to download free games from Steam.
First glance at Club3D HD2600XT GDDR4
ATI Radeon Club3D HD2600XT GDDR4 is quite large. Its PCB is the same size as ATI Radeon X1950Pro Series PCBs. The cooler covers most of the card's surface, including the memory chips. Although quite bulky, the cooler isn't noisy, which definitely scores them additional points. Under the cooler you'll find an RV630 GPU clocked at 800MHz and 256MB of GDDR4 memory running at 2200MHz.
When you turn your computer on you'll hear some buzzing, but don't worry – it'll last for only a couple of seconds, and it means that the fan is starting up. Some people might even like to hear the roar when they start up their rig. However, if the SATA connectors on your motherboard are placed behind the slots, the size of the card might prove to be a problem. The problems we encountered were caused by the chipset cooler placement; namely, the card's rear side was leaning on the cooler and it resulted in some quite unpleasant noise caused by vibration.
Apart from the card, the black box contains a Valve voucher, instruction manual and the installation CD.
You'll also find an HDMI dongle, Crossfire connector, and other things that are missing from many HD2x00 cards.
Graphics Card: Club3D CGAX-XT266 Radeon HD2600XT 256MB GDDR4 (Supplied by Genelec)
Motherboard: Foxconn C51XEM2AA
CPU: AMD Athlon 3800+ X2
CPU Cooler: Arctic Freezer 7 Pro (Supplied by Ingel)
RAM: OCZ XTC Platinum 2x 1GB PC6400 800MHz 4-5-4-15
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 250GB sataII 7200.10
PSU: Fortron Epsilon 700W (Supplied by Ingel)
Case: ThermalTake XaserIII Super Tower
Monitor: FujitsuSiemens CRT 21“