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Sharky Extreme : Video cards September 30, 2008





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    Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB Review
    By Vince Freeman :  November 29, 2007

    FarCry Performance

    FarCry is a hot first-person shooter that takes in-game graphics to the next level, although in a different direction than DOOM 3. Instead of darkness and confined spaces, FarCry can place you outdoors, on bright sandy beaches, jungles or even on the water itself. This game gives our video cards a different kind of a stress test, and rest assured that FarCry ranks up there with the very toughest 3D game benchmarks. FarCry is an interesting benchmark, as it combines old school performance requirements with hot new features such as support for SM 3.0. For this test, we are using the full retail version updated to version 1.4, along with a new custom demo file.

    The updated patches enable SM3.0 support for FarCry, and this makes it another good test of gaming feature sets and performance. The ATI-based cards tend to perform higher than in FarCry than on some other benchmarks, but the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate breaks that particular trend. The scores here are very low, and the Sapphire card barely manages to outperform the GeForce 7600 GS 256MB. As we've found in past reviews, DirectX 10 cards don't seem to like FarCry, as evidenced by the proximity of the GeForce 7600 GT and GeForce 8600 GTS scores.

    FarCry AA and AF Widescreen Performance

    When we shift to the widescreen resolutions and enable 4X AA and 16X AF settings, the overall rankings do not change, and the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB remains just ahead of the GeForce 7600 GS 256MB.

    Supreme Commander Performance

    Supreme Commander is a high-end real-time strategy game, similar to a next-gen Total Annihilation, which combines killer graphics with top-level AI. The in-game visuals are incredible, and when there are multiple armored mechs in the same area, it can take a real toll on even high-end system configurations. This makes it a great benchmark for our high-end graphic cards, and while the in-game benchmarking program offers several different performance ratings, but for this market segment, we prefer the overall FPS score.

    Supreme Commander can really give video cards a good workout, especially at the mainstream level, but the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB posted some impressive numbers for its class. While not quite up to the GeForce 8600 GTS, it does outperform the other entry-level and mainstream cards, even coming close to the Radeon X1950 Pro.

    Supreme Commander AA and AF Widescreen Performance

    Once we enable anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing settings and jack the widescreen resolutions, the benchmark rankings are consistent, although we do see the Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB fading back a bit from the GeForce 7900 GS and Radeon X1950 Pro.



    Page 1 The Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB Card
    Page 2 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 3 DOOM 3 and Quake 4 Performance
  • Page 4 Farcry and Supreme Commander Performance
    Page 5 F.E.A.R. and Company of Heroes Performance
    Page 6 Lost Planet and Crysis Performance
    Page 7 3DMark06 Advanced Feature Performance
    Page 8 Benchmark Analysis, Value and Conclusion

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