PCB Design and Cooling System
The PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB uses a different PCB than the ASUS EAH2600PRO we reviewed earlier. Both cards are marked out for two types of the reference cooler from ATI, but the PCB of PowerColor’s card is revision 1.0 while ASUS’ is revision 1.01.
The PCBs are the same size, but differ greatly in their wiring and component layout except for the memory chips and the GPU. Like on the ASUS card, some elements, probably belonging to the power circuit, are not installed, indicating that this PCB can be used in upcoming products from PowerColor based on ATI Radeon HD chips with higher power consumption. Thanks to its small size the card will easily fit into almost any existing PC case, including horizontal cases (with an adapter) and barebone systems.
The card carries 512 megabytes of GDDR2 memory in eight Hynix HY5PS121621CFP-25 chips (512Mb, 32Mb x 16, 1.8V). The memory is accessed across a 128-bit bus. The FP-25 suffix means a rated frequency of 400 (800) MHz which is in fact the frequency the chips are clocked at by the card. Thus, the not-very-fast memory subsystem of the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro is further slowed down in the PowerColor version of the card – its peak bandwidth is 12.8GB/s as opposed to the original card’s 16GB/s. This is going affect the card’s gaming performance and can hardly be made up for by the double amount of memory. The memory is also unlikely to overclock to the level of the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro due to the use of 2.5ns chips.
The GPU of the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB card has a standard configuration with 120 shader processors grouped into 24 blocks by 5 ALUs, 2 texture processors equivalent to 8 traditional texture-mapping units, and 1 raster processor equivalent to 4 traditional ROPs. The graphics core is clocked at 600MHz, the standard GPU frequency of the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro. The PowerColor card is not cut down relative to the reference card in this respect.
The graphics card has two universal dual-link DVI ports capable of outputting to two monitors at 2560x1600 resolution. The card can also output video and audio in digital format via a special HDMI adapter. For analog devices the card offers a universal port supporting S-Video, composite and YPbPr connections. Like the ASUS EAH2600PRO, the PowerColor HD 2600 Pro doesn’t have a CrossFire connector, relying on data transfers via PCI Express instead.
The GPU is cooled by a humble aluminum heatsink with a small 11-blade fan.
The cooler can’t have high performance as it doesn’t even have a profiled cap, but this is unimportant considering the low heat dissipation of the graphics core clocked at a lower frequency than in the Radeon HD 2600 XT. The cooler is unlikely to have astonishing noise characteristics, yet it shouldn’t be loud, either. We’ll check this out in the next section.