PCB Design and Cooling System
Although the graphics card vendor doesn’t have to follow the reference design here, the discussed card uses the PCB developed at ATI. The company seems to produce PCB & GPU kits and assembles them by itself as is indicated by the ASUS logo in the bottom left corner.
The EAH2600PRO is about as large as the ATI Radeon X1600 XT or X1650 Pro/XT and will easily fit even into a cramped system case. The system case must have a full height or allow to install the graphics card at 90 degrees to the mainboard by means of a special adapter.
The wiring of the new PCB differs significantly from ATI’s earlier works. It lacks components placed at an angle of 45 degrees and doesn’t have a place for a VIVO chip. The memory chips are turned around by 90 degrees on the PCB.
As we know, the RV630 has a low power draw even in the Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 implementation, so the power circuit of the ASUS EAH2600PRO is very simple and contains a small number of elements, most of which are even not installed. There is no additional power connector on the card as it gets all the power it needs from the PCI Express x16 slot.
The EAH2600PRO is equipped with GDDR2 memory. It carries eight Qimonda HYB18T256161BF-20 chips (256Mb, 16Mbx16, 500 (1000) MHz). The chips yield a total of 256 megabytes of graphics memory accessed across a 128-bit memory bus. The memory is clocked at its rated frequency of 500 (1000) MHz. With such parameters, the peak memory bandwidth is only 16GB/s, which is going to affect the performance of the EAH2600PRO in games. And there is no headroom for overclocking.
The graphics core of the EAG2600PRO card is clocked at 600MHz and contains 120 unified shader processors grouped into 24 blocks of 5 ALUs. It also incorporates 2 texture processors roughly equivalent to 8 classic TMUs and 1 raster processor equivalent to 4 ordinary ROPs. In other words, the GPU configuration is standard and identical to the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT.
The ASUS EAH2600PRO has two universal DVI-I ports with support for dual-link mode which allows connecting two monitors at a resolution of 2560x1600. The graphics card also supports HDMI with the audio-over-HDMI feature, but we didn’t find the necessary adapter in the box. For analog devices the card offers a universal port that supports S-Video, composite and YPbPr connections.
The RV630 features a frame compositing engine, but the PCB design of the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro does not provide for CrossFire connectors. Thus, the EAH2600PRO can work in multi-GPU mode but data transfers and synchronization signals will be sent by the two cards via the PCI Express bus, which is less efficient than the native mode with an external CrossFire interface.
The GPU is cooled by a rather large cooler with a radial placement of the ribs. It resembles the legendary Orb coolers from Thermaltake and Zalman’s CNPS7x00 series. Considering the universal fastening mechanism, it seems to be an OEM product from Thermaltake or from ASUS itself because ASUS makes coolers besides other things. The yellow color of the ribs can hardly mislead you as it doesn’t look like the red color of copper. It is anodized aluminum. Well, it would be a squander to use expensive copper in a cooler system for a device with such low heat dissipation. The cooler is equipped with an 11-blade fan whose impeller is made from translucent plastic. The fan lacks highlighting and uses a simple 2-wire connection. The cooler is fastened to the PCB with four spring-loaded screws and doesn’t need a back-plate due to its low weight.