The transition to hardware supporting Direct3D 10 has been a tough one for NVIDIA and for AMD.
While the range-topping parts from both have offered strong performance compared to the previous-generation Direct3D 9 parts, the mid-range has been less impressive.
When we first looked at the GeForce 8600 GTS we were less than impressed. We assumed that AMD was going to come out and eat NVIDIA's lunch in the mid-range. But then the Radeon HD 2600 XT arrived in our labs and saved Santa Clara's blushes.
We found that while both companies had packed an impressive amount of features into their cards, including HDCP over dual-link DVI and strong high-definition content-decoding capabilities, the 3D performance simply couldn't match that of similarly-priced Direct3D 9 hardware.
But now we have a pair of HIS cards on the table, both based on the Radeon HD 2600 XT SKU - the HIS HD 2600XT Zalman Fan 256MB GDDR3 and the HIS HD 2600XT IceQ Turbo 256MB GDDR3.
Each comes complete with updated drivers but is this enough to help turn the Radeon HD 2600 XT into a viable competitor?