The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT is the least expensive of the new ATI cards we've seen – in fact, it's cheaper even than the GeForce 8500 GT (see Asus EN8500GT Silent graphics card review). As such, you shouldn't really expect much in the way of features or performance – and here the 2400 XT is happy to oblige.

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT budget graphics card review

The specifications aren't perhaps as modest as you'd expect given that this card costs £6 less than the 8500 GTs. Perhaps as a result of the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT being built on a small 0.065-micron manufacturing process, the 700MHz core and memory clocks are generous enough - the 8500 can manage only figures of 500MHz and 450MHz respectively. You also get more stream processors on the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT - 40 rather than the meagre 16 rattled off by the 8500 GT – which ought to give the 2400 an advantage on games titles that require lots of shaders.

Of course, there's inevitably a fly in the ointment. And in the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT's case it's the memory interface which, being just 64bit (rather than the 128bit version offered by the 8500 GT), tends to curtail the speed somewhat. Indeed, the resulting memory bandwidth of 11.2GBps is the lowest we've seen on a new card in quite a while.

And so, in games tests, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT struggles to keep on terms with the 8500 GT. It did get marginally higher scores in Company of Heroes, but it lost in FEAR by around 5-8fps. And on Stalker, it was only at a resolution of 1,600x1,200 that the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT managed to overhaul the 8500 GT - and then by a single frame.

As you pile on the detail, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT card does seem to perform a little better than the 8500 GT. But, in all honesty, you aren't going to want to play tomorrow's games (certainly not DirectX 10) on this card.

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT: Specs

  • Graphics processor ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT
  • installed RAM 256MB GDDR3
  • Core Clock 700MHz
  • Memory Clock 700MHz (1.4GHz DDR effective)
  • Manufacturing process 0.065-micron
  • Stream Processors 40
  • Memory Interface 64bit
  • Interface PCI Express
  • DirectX 10.0 support yes
  • DVI yes
  • video in/out no/yes
  • Graphics processor ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT
  • installed RAM 256MB GDDR3
  • Core Clock 700MHz
  • Memory Clock 700MHz (1.4GHz DDR effective)
  • Manufacturing process 0.065-micron
  • Stream Processors 40
  • Memory Interface 64bit
  • Interface PCI Express
  • DirectX 10.0 support yes
  • DVI yes
  • video in/out no/yes

OUR VERDICT

If all you want is a card that'll make a nice job of displaying video, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT is a pretty solid bet. It's quite pretty, cheap and doesn't need an internal power connector, so it's extremely quiet. However, it isn't even able to match the slightly lacklustre performance of the 8500 GT, so if you want a card that's going to let you play games at a decent detail level, you'll have to set your sights higher than this one.

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