ATI's affordable DirectX10 graphics cards

Entry level and midrange chipsets out in June

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ATI has released full technical details of the new Radeon HD 2400 and Radeon HD 2600 DirectX 10 graphics chipsets. Positioned below ATI's Radeon HD 2900 flagship offering, the new chipsets round out its DirectX 10 range of graphics boards.

Thanks to its mediocre performance, of course, there was very little rejoicing when ATI unsheathed the Radeon HD 2900 XT earlier this week . Can ATI do any better with its mainstream DirectX 10 boards?

For now, ATI is keeping performance statistics under wraps. But we can bring you full tech specs for the new cards.

First up is the entry-level Radeon HD 2400. Its 3D grunt is provided by a fully unified shader array composed of 40 stream processing units with full support for DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.

In terms of raw throughput, the HD2400 is capable of cranking out four pixels per clock and sports four texture units, too. The midrange HD 2600 weighs in with 120 stream processors, eight textures and four pixels per clock. Various models of both boards will be available with clockspeeds spanning a wide range from around 525MHz to 800MHz. Both the HD 2400 and HD 2600 run 128-bit memory buses.

Multimedia malarkey

Fancy unified 3D architecture aside, the big news with the new Radeon HD 2000 series is its multimedia prowess. Courtesy of a new dedicated video engine, known as UVD, all cards in the range boast full hardware acceleration for both Blu-ray and HD-DVD disks.

Also new is on board digital audio. This allows the Radeon HD 2000 range to be the first consumer graphics card to offer properly synched and integrated digital audio and video via an HDMI port.

Add in support for HDCP content encryption and you have a total solution for HD-DVD and Blu-ray playback in a single card. And in the case of the Radeon HD 2400, a very affordable solution to boot.

The HD 2400 and 2600 chipsets will be available at the end of June priced from around £50 and £75 respectively.

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