I currently have an ati x300SE with a 3GHz Pentium 4 (rest of my specs are in my profile). I am considering building an HTPC and buying a 2600xt. I have a few questions about it though. I plan to use it as my video card to play games for a short while until I build a game rig (sometime next year).

Has anyone with this card played Bioshock? I tried searching for benchmarks but can't find any. I did find a reviewer on Newegg say he got great results by disabling AA and AF with max settings at 1680 x 1050.

Because I am thinking of using the card in an HTPC build, I want a silent version. I was considering this one:

Is a fanless version going to overheat while I use the card in the mean time playing games like Bioshock? Also, is that version good or does anyone know of a better silent version?

Finally, the specifications say that it does not have VIVO. I thought all of these new video cards would have VIVO? Does anyone know why this card would not have this? Also, what might I miss not having VIVO?

Thanks in advace for any info.
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  1. dont trust newegg reviews ,most of them are fake it surely can play bioshock , but i dont think @ max settings ,
  2. go for it but the GDDR4 version might also be an option. New drivers has helped this card a lot.
  3. I am pretty sure it does have AVIVO. I know fore sure that it has HD video decoding in the hardware.
  4. I wouldn't worry about the card overheating while playing games like Bioshock. The fact that MSI made this card into a silent model would seem to say that they have a fair bit of confidence in it not spontaneously combusting. The card might run a few degrees hotter without a fan but probably not enough to make any difference.

    I know that ASUS makes a silenced 8600GT, although it is a two-slot card and it deffinetly can't do video in, video out yes but not video in. And, while not a big deal, it's actually $2 less than the 2600XT. As for it being better, according to the Tom's Hardware VGA charts, the 8600GT averages a few more frames per second than the HD 2600XT but it depends entirely on the game being played. In some the 8600GT is better than the 2600XT, not so much in others.

    I agree with Maziar, you should deffinetly be able to play Bioshock but probably not with max settings. And it does have AVIVO which is supposed to stand for ATI Video In and Video Out but it doesn't seem as if this card can do video in. Looking at the accessories that come with the card seems to confirm this.

    If you look at the s-video/composite cable, the s-video portion is labelled as 's-video out'. Manufacturers who's cards that can do video out sometimes give you the option of doing it by composite and s-video. With the s-video labelled as out seems to say that the composite is also out thereby confirming that this card can't do video in. At least I think so.

    The only reason you'd really want Video In/Video Out is if you wanted to feed a video source into your system. Something like a DVD player or an old VCR that you wanted to hook-up to your comp so you could use it to back-up old home movies that are on VHS tape.

    If you go with the MSI card and it turns out not to be able to do video in, I wouldn't worry about it too much since you have the HVR-1600 which CAN do video in.
  5. Haha, I should have expected you to come here as well. Thanks for the info. I worry about the comparison between the 2600xt and the 8600gt. I think the Tom's Benchmarks were done with the original drivers, which I think have since been improved leading to these two cards being about equal (I think).

    Also, the hardware decryption on the 2600 is supposed to be better (again, I think).
  6. I think they are about equal, generally speaking. Although (and my info is probably out of date), if you're running Vista, apparently Nvida video drivers and Vista don't get along so well together.

    I don't know about the 2600 having better hardware decryption but the 2600 does offer VC-1 acceleration that the 8600 doesn't.

    In the end, if you were seriously considering the HD 2600 XT, you should go with it since the differences between it and other silenced cards in it's performance catergory aren't all that big a deal.
  7. I am looking at more recent tests and it looks like these cards are about equal in all things.

    Would the hardware encryption actually help in video editing/recording using my HVR-1600 or is it just to better decode Bluray/HD DVD?
  8. You might look at the HIS IceQ models. They aren't silent, but they are nearly so and they exhaust heat from the case very nicely (dual-slot with the second being for exhaust). Configured well, this could keep the rest of your PC silent by reducing the need for other fans or reducing the required speed for same.
  9. The HD 2600 XT should help more with decoding Blu-Ray and HD-DVD since the card will take care of most of the video decoding work itself.
  10. Averaging 20 fps is not exactly "playing" Bioshock
  11. About the xp thing i cant rember exactly what but ther are some of the features on a 8600 that wont run under xp but the 2600 has no such worries
  12. The IceQ model does look nice, but I can't find one except for one TigerDirect and it's listed at $155 which seems a little high. Do you know where I can find a cheaper model?

    Also, I meant does the AVIVO help with anything other than decoding Bluray/HDDVD? For example, does it help with video editing and recording TV with my HVR-1600?
  13. AVIVIO is just video in video out the decoding is a different thing altogether.
  14. I just checked and this is what i was on about what the HD cards do in xp that the 8600 cards dont.
    Quoted from one of Cleves posts(hope he dosent mind).

    Ati's 2400 & 2600 will accelerate HD in Wwindows XP as well as Windows Vista; the Geforce 8500/8600 cards will only accelerate HD in Vista at this time...

    The 2400/2600 is the way to go if you're running XP. They are great cards for video acceleration, truly. And they even come with an HDMI out and integrated sound chip, which is nice.

  15. I appreciate that (I was actually thinking about going Nvidia but may decide against it for that reason), but what is video acceleration? Does it only refer to watching Bluray/HDDVD or does it come into effect whenever I play any video/do video editing/record tv with my HVR 1600. Thanks.
  16. Actually, the MSI card mentioned at the beginning of this thread can do HDMI output and it does have an integrated HD audio controller.

    And AVIVO isn't just video in/video out. Check out these two Tom's Hardware articles:

    Article 1: AVIVO vs. Purevideo, Round 1

    Article 2: AVIVO vs. Purevideo, Round 2
  17. From what I understand video acceleration is basically the offloading of most of the video decoding work to the GPU thereby taking a good bit of the video decoding load off the CPU. Read this.

    And yes this can be done with other files too like DivX and MPEG 1/2/4.
  18. Originally AVIVO was marketed as Advanced video in /video out by ati when they released the RV500 core since then it has been used to cover all aspects to do with media but its just an interface to allow ease of use for these applications some cards support different features to others but its all blanketed with the AVIVO branding now :)
  19. mactronix said:
    Originally AVIVO was marketed as Advanced video in /video out by ati when they released the RV500 core since then it has been used to cover all aspects to do with media but its just an interface to allow ease of use for these applications some cards support different features to others but its all blanketed with the AVIVO branding now :)

    That is true.
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