Sapphire Technology, one of the world’s largest producers of graphics cards, has recently added three graphics cards for outdated personal computers with accelerated graphics port (AGP) buses into its product matrix. The new cards fully support DirectX 10 and are based on the latest ATI Radeon HD 2000-series graphics processing units (GPUs).
The new graphics boards are Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT (800MHz/1400MHz core/memory) with up to 512MB of GDDR3 memory, HD 2600 Pro (600MHz/1000MHz core/memory) with up to 512MB GDDR3 memory onboard and HD 2400 Pro (525MHz/800MHz core/memory) with up to 256MB of GDDR2 memory onboard, all featuring ATI Rialto bridge, which allows GPUs originally architected for PCI Express to work on platforms supporting AGP 4x or 8x.
Both Radeon HD 2600 and 2400 are fully compatible with DirectX 10 and feature advanced Avivo HD video engine, however, the model HD 2600 sports 120 stream processors (SPs), 8 texture units (TUs) and 4 render back ends (RBEs), whereas the model HD 2400 has only 40 SPs, 4 TUs and 4 RBEs.
Even though some end-users may find the new graphics cards useful, as all of them is likely to be priced at below $199, it is unlikely that the new graphics cards will allow them to play modern games, as microprocessors on the vast majority of AGP systems are outdated for contemporary games, whereas DDR memory upgrades are already more expensive compared to DDR2 memory upgrades.
It is inclear when Sapphire starts to sell the new AGP graphics boards. ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, indicated earlier this year that ATI Radeon HD 2600 and 2400 families of graphics cards for PCI Express bus will be available in July, 2007.
Several producers also offer Radeon X1900-series graphics cards for AGP.