The super high-end, Â£200+, graphics cards like the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT and nVidia 8800 GTX may dominate the tech news headlines but it's actually the mid and low range cards that make the vast majority of money for the manufacturers. Its just like the car market where the money made from massive volumes of low profit sales of 'boring' family cars is used to develop race cars for Formula One, concept cars for car shows, or super cars like the Buggati Veron for the super rich.
That's why ATI won't be too unhappy at relinquishing the high-end performance crown to nVidia for the time being, just as long as its mid range cards can prove competitive in this lucrative segment.
To this end ATI recently launched the HD 2600 XT, HD 2600 Pro, HD 2400 XT, and HD 2400 Pro graphics cards. These will be directly competing with the 8600 GT, 8500 GT, and 8400 GS from nVidia in the sub Â£100 market. Indeed prices for these parts start at Â£87 for the HD 2600 XT and finish with the HD 2400 Pro at Â£34. The individual prices for each card seem to be aimed just below the competing nVidia card, which is no bad thing so long as performance isn't also consistently sub par.
Riyad has covered the details of the architecture behind the HD 2600 and HD 2400 series in his mammoth review of the HD 2900 XT so Iâ€™ll just give you a brief recap of whatâ€™s hidden away under those heatsinks.