Ever since 3D graphics cards first rose to prominence with 3dfx's Voodoo, vendors have relied on the presence of blockbuster PC games to push their adoption and sales. Titles like Doom and Duke Nukem 3D arguably created the demand for a 3D graphics card and ten years after the Voodoo's splashy debut, we have now reached the point where even the cheapest integrated graphics solution is capable of 3D hardware acceleration of some limited form. Not surprisingly, some vendors have taken the additional step of including the games with their hardware and hoping they can boost sales. Game developers too gain from a higher profile and of course, increased sales figures.
Such a practice is now so widespread that there are occasions where the game comes to dominate the packaging of the graphics hardware. We have all seen such examples, with ASUS being one such vendor where a top game title headlines the graphics product. Consumers who buy such packages immediately get an appropriate game that will show off the capabilities of the hardware. Of course, that's assuming that the game is worthy of the hardware and while this practice may be common, what also occurs frequently is the same game being recycled repeatedly by many vendors and thus staying way past its 'expiry date', with dated games still found in some of the newer graphics cards.
While all the major graphics vendors have from time to time bundled some classy and distinguished games, Gigabyte has been surprising us with its choice of the bundled game titles as of recent. A glance at its list of games showed us some solid big names, like Civilization IV, Supreme Commander and Warhammer. These titles are not the conventional first person shooters that you'll usually find. The latest Radeon HD graphics card from Gigabyte is another example of having an interesting title that's different. This time, the sequel to the popular RPG, Neverwinter Nights 2 joins the ranks and it is certainly refreshing to see an RPG title among game bundles. It is found in its new, silent Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR3 card, the focus of our article today. So here are the specifications for this Silent Pipe II card: