ATI Radeon HD 2400/2600 On Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 7 September 2007. Page 4 of 4. 8 Comments

If ATI had not rewritten their Linux driver, the Radeon HD 2400PRO and HD 2600PRO would barely be playable in either Doom 3 or Quake 4. However, thanks to the new fglrx 8.41 driver the performance imbalance has been eliminated. The ATI Radeon HD 2600PRO 256MB had performed extremely well in all of our benchmarks. The Radeon HD 2400PRO had also performed, but not nearly as fast and had lagged behind the Radeon X1300PRO. However, the Radeon HD 2400PRO is largely limited by the hardware capabilities and not the new software driver. The Radeon HD 2400PRO had performed at about twenty frames per second in Doom 3 and Quake 4, which is a bit choppy, but this GPU should perform well in a standard Linux desktop with accelerated desktop effects and also has open-source support through AMD's just-announced specifications. Though for a $50 USD graphics card there is not much to expect.

On the other hand, the ASUS Radeon HD 2600PRO 256MB had performed remarkably well under Linux. The ATI HD 2600PRO was much faster than the HD 2400PRO by two to three times and it had a noticeable advantage over the NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT. In many benchmarks, the HD 2600PRO was in sync with the GeForce 8600GT 256MB, which of course wouldn't have been possible on the older driver code-base. It is also important to keep in mind that both the Gigabyte 8500GT and 8600GT were factory overclocked. Separating the ASUS graphics card from the reference design is the heatsink. The heatsink claims to operate 20 degrees Celsius cooler, but the Linux driver doesn't currently support die temperature monitoring by the end-user. However, we had run into no thermal related issues with this mid-range graphics card and the heatsink fan was remarkably quiet. Unfortunately, the Linux driver still lacks ATI OverDrive or any form of manual overclocking support. The ASUS EAH2600PRO 256MB PCI Express graphics card costs about $100 USD and is certainly a great buy. The Radeon HD 2600PRO is also supported by the soon to be released open-source driver.

Unless you are on a very tight budget or are strictly looking to use Beryl, Compiz, or Compiz Fusion with a Linux desktop, we wouldn't suggest using the ATI Radeon HD 2400PRO 256MB. It performs slower than the ATI Radeon X1300PRO 256MB but still performs acceptable with the new driver. Meanwhile, the ATI Radeon HD 2600PRO 256MB offers an incredible value for a $100 USD price tag. The HD 2600PRO performed very well and in many of the benchmarks were similar to the Gigabyte GeForce 8600GT 256MB, which is factory overclocked beyond the reference memory and core frequencies. In fact, we believe that the ATI Radeon HD 2600PRO 256MB is the best mid-range graphics card available to Linux users. The ASUS edition of the Radeon HD 2600PRO also offers a very nice GPU heatsink. For additional details check out the Phoronix Forums.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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