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Home » Video
GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores Video Card Review
Author: Gabriel Torres
Type: Reviews Last Updated: November 19, 2008
Page: 1 of 12
Introduction
Hardware Secrets Golden Award

NVIDIA is launching today a new version of GeForce GTX 260 with 216 processors instead of 192 to better compete with Radeon HD 4870. In fact NVIDIA is pitching to reviewing websites that this new GeForce GTX 260 is faster than Radeon HD 4870 for the top latest games released (FarCry 2, Fallout 3, Dead Space, Call of Duty World at War and Left 4 Dead). Let’s see the performance increase brought by this new model and how it is compared to other NVIDIA products and competitors – including Radeon HD 4870, of course.

In our Radeon HD 4870 review we saw that the original GeForce GTX 260 and this ATI video card had the same performance level on most scenarios, with an advantage to Radeon HD 4870 in the games that where a difference between the two cards (the only scenario were GeForce GTX 260 was faster was on Call of Duty 4 at 2560x1600 with image quality settings maxed out). What NVIDIA wants now is to move this advantage to the new GeForce GTX 260.

This new GeForce GTX 260 is identical to its older brother, with the only difference being the number of internal processors (known by several different names, such as “streaming processors,” “SP” or “cores”). Both run at the same clock rates. That is why we are not posting any pictures, as both cards are physically identical.

To make the comparison between the new GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores and the other video cards we included in this review easier, we compiled the table below comparing the main specs from these cards. If you want to compare the specs of the reviewed video card to any other video card not included in the table below, just take a look at our NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table and on our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table.

GPU

Core Clock

Shader Clock

Processors

Memory Clock

Memory Interface

Memory Transfer Rate

Memory

Price

GeForce GTX 280

602 MHz

1,296 MHz

240

1,107 MHz

512-bit

141.7 GB/s

1 GB GDDR3

USD 405 - 460

GeForce GTX 260 (192 cores)

576 MHz

1,242 MHz

192

1,000 MHz

448-bit

112 GB/s

896 MB GDDR3

USD 215 - 220

GeForce GTX 260 (216 cores)

576 MHz

1,242 MHz

216

1,000 MHz

448-bit

112 GB/s

896 MB GDDR3

USD 250 - 295

GeForce 9800 GX2

600 MHz

1,500 MHz

128

1,000 MHz

256-bit

64 GB/s

1 GB GDDR3

USD 285

GeForce 9800 GTX+

738 MHz

1,836 MHz

128

1,100 MHz

256-bit

70.4 GB/s

512 MB GDDR3

USD 175 - 210

GeForce 9800 GTX

675 MHz

1,688 MHz

128

1,100 MHz

256-bit

70.4 GB/s

512 MB GDDR3

USD 178

Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB

600 MHz

1.5 GHz

112

900 MHz

256-bit

57.6 GB/s

1 GB GDDR3

N/A

Radeon HD 4870 X2

750 MHz

750 MHz

800

900 MHz

256-bit

115.2 GB/s

1 GB GDDR5

USD 480 - 530

Radeon HD 4870

750 MHz

750 MHz

800

900 MHz

256-bit

115.2 GB/s

512 MB GDDR5

USD 190 - 290

Radeon HD 4850 X2

625 MHz

625 MHz

800

993 MHz

256-bit

63.5 GB/s

1 GB GDDR3

USD 410

Radeon HD 4850

625 MHz

625 MHz

800

993 MHz

256-bit

63.5 GB/s

512 MB GDDR3

USD 150 - 200

Radeon HD 4830

575 MHz

575 MHz

640

900 MHz

256-bit

57.6 GB/s

512 MB GDDR3

USD 120 - 130

Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2

857 MHz

857 MHz

320

927 MHz

256-bit

59.3 GB/s

1 GB GDDR3

N/A

Radeon HD 3870

776 MHz

776 MHz

320

1,125 MHz

256-bit

72 GB/s

512 MB GDDR4

USD 95 - 200

It is important to note that this table reflects the current prices for the listed video cards at Newegg.com, which are lower than the prices we published in other reviews, since prices tend to drop every day.

Some important observations regarding this table:

  • All NVIDIA chips are DirectX 10 (Shader 4.0), while all AMD/ATI chips are DirectX 10.1 (Shader 4.1).
  • The memory clocks listed are the real memory clock. Memory clocks are often advertised as double the figures presented, numbers known as “DDR clock.” Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 4870 X2 use GDDR5 chips, which transfer four data per clock cycle and thus the “DDR clock” for these video cards is four times the value presented on this table (i.e., 3.6 GHz).
  • GeForce 9800 GX2, Radeon HD 3870 X2, Radeon HD 4850 X2 and Radeon HD 4870 X2 have two GPU’s. The numbers on the table represent only one of the chips.
  • All video cards included on our review were running at the chip manufacturer default clock configuration (i.e., no overclocking), except Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2. The official core clock for Radeon HD 3870 X2 is 825 MHz, while the official memory clock is 900 MHz. So this card was a little bit overclocked. We couldn’t reduce these clocks to their reference values and since we hadn’t any other Radeon HD 3870 X2 available we included this video card anyway.
  • Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
  • We couldn’t find Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 for sale. This model will be more expensive than cards from other vendors based on the same GPU because it features water cooling. Just for you to have an idea, prices on the regular Radeon 3870 X2 are quoted between USD 190 and USD 350.
  • We couldn’t find Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB for sale. The model with 512 MB from the same manufacturer is quoted at USD 130.

Before going to our tests let’s recap the main features from GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores.

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