GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores Video Card Review
By Gabriel Torres on November 19, 2008


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:

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

Main Specifications

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores main features are:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

How We Tested

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Driver Versions

Software Used

Resolutions and Image Quality Settings

Since we were comparing very high-end video cards, we ran all our tests under three 16:10 widescreen high resolutions: 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600. We always tried to run the programs and games in two scenarios for each resolution, one with low image quality settings and then maxing out the image quality settings. The exact configuration we used will be described together with the results of each individual test.

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

3DMark06 Professional

3DMark06 measures Shader 3.0 (i.e., DirectX 9.0c) performance. We run this software under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, first with no image quality enhancements enabled – results we call “low” on the charts and tables below –, then setting 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. See the results below.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 - 1680x1050 - LowScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X21755720.34%
Radeon HD 4850 X21672914.67%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X21626011.45%
GeForce 9800 GX2156237.09%
GeForce GTX 280149042.16%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)14589 
Radeon HD 4870142152.63%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)137016.48%
GeForce 9800 GTX+133559.24%
GeForce 9800 GTX1275914.34%
Radeon HD 48501184223.20%
GeForce 9800 GT1147127.18%
Radeon HD 48301089833.87%
Radeon HD 38701069436.42%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 - 1920x1200 - LowScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X21741431.26%
Radeon HD 4850 X21629422.82%
GeForce 9800 GX21554717.19%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X21548916.75%
GeForce GTX 280142157.15%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)13267 
Radeon HD 4870130171.92%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)126684.73%
GeForce 9800 GTX+122068.69%
GeForce 9800 GTX1163114.07%
Radeon HD 48501069124.10%
GeForce 9800 GT1025329.40%
Radeon HD 4830978735.56%
Radeon HD 3870945440.33%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 - 2560x1600 - LowScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X21592050.64%
Radeon HD 4850 X21414033.80%
GeForce 9800 GX21301523.15%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X21231516.53%
GeForce GTX 2801176611.34%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)10568 
Radeon HD 4870101594.03%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)98946.81%
GeForce 9800 GTX+936512.85%
GeForce 9800 GTX874320.87%
Radeon HD 4850807730.84%
GeForce 9800 GT767937.62%
Radeon HD 4830730844.61%
Radeon HD 3870682354.89%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 - 1680x1050 - HighScoreDifference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X21626046.65%
Radeon HD 4870 X21613445.51%
Radeon HD 4850 X21499735.25%
GeForce 9800 GX21390025.36%
GeForce GTX 280121579.64%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)11088 
Radeon HD 4870110630.23%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)106174.44%
GeForce 9800 GTX+939118.07%
GeForce 9800 GTX898123.46%
Radeon HD 4850888124.85%
Radeon HD 4830794339.59%
GeForce 9800 GT789940.37%
Radeon HD 3870691560.35%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 - 1920x1200 - HighScoreDifference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X21548956.39%
Radeon HD 4870 X21531354.61%
Radeon HD 4850 X21380939.43%
GeForce 9800 GX21221323.31%
GeForce GTX 2801099110.98%
Radeon HD 4870100141.11%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)9904 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)94504.80%
GeForce 9800 GTX+814421.61%
Radeon HD 4850797224.23%
GeForce 9800 GTX781126.80%
Radeon HD 4830710939.32%
GeForce 9800 GT682645.09%
Radeon HD 3870611461.99%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 - 2560x1600 - HighScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X21247961.92%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X21231559.79%
Radeon HD 4850 X21085440.83%
GeForce 9800 GX2982927.53%
GeForce GTX 280870412.94%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)7707 
Radeon HD 487075502.08%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)72855.79%
GeForce 9800 GTX+606527.07%
Radeon HD 4850589630.72%
GeForce 9800 GTX577433.48%
Radeon HD 4830521347.84%
GeForce 9800 GT504552.77%
Radeon HD 3870431978.44%

3DMark Vantage Professional

3DMark Vantage is the latest addition to the 3DMark series, measuring Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supporting PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Notice that we didn’t upgrade the PhysX to the latest version, which would make the physics calculations for CPU Test 2 to be made by the GPU instead of the CPU on NVIDIA video cards (since we aren't considering CPU or 3DMark scores this change wouldn't produce any increase in our results anyway).

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600. First we used the “Performance” profile, and then we used the “Extreme” profile (basically enabling anti-aliasing at 4x, anisotropic filtering at 16x, and putting all detail settings at their maximum or “extreme” value. The combination of 2560x1600 resolution with extreme settings didn’t produce reliable results according to the program, so we aren’t going to add them here. The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 - 1680x1050 - PerformanceScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X21169780.87%
Radeon HD 4850 X2805024.48%
GeForce GTX 280769518.99%
GeForce 9800 GX269908.09%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)6467 
Radeon HD 487061934.42%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)58989.65%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2565114.44%
Radeon HD 4850479734.81%
GeForce 9800 GTX+449943.74%
Radeon HD 4830422053.25%
GeForce 9800 GTX380569.96%
GeForce 9800 GT369175.21%
Radeon HD 38702977117.23%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 - 1920x1200 - PerformanceScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2947286.31%
Radeon HD 4850 X2635525.00%
GeForce GTX 280610620.10%
GeForce 9800 GX253795.80%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)5084 
Radeon HD 487048804.18%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)458210.96%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2433617.25%
Radeon HD 4850372536.48%
GeForce 9800 GTX+337050.86%
Radeon HD 4830330154.01%
GeForce 9800 GT295172.28%
GeForce 9800 GTX289175.86%
Radeon HD 38702269124.06%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 - 2560x1600 - PerformanceScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2554289.34%
Radeon HD 4850 X2419743.39%
GeForce GTX 280354921.25%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)2927 
GeForce 9800 GX229100.58%
Radeon HD 487027287.29%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)264010.87%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2238222.88%
Radeon HD 4850205042.78%
Radeon HD 4830183759.34%
GeForce 9800 GTX+181561.27%
GeForce 9800 GT163878.69%
GeForce 9800 GTX155787.99%
Radeon HD 38701244135.29%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 - 1680x1050 - ExtremeScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2840566.27%
Radeon HD 4850 X2685935.69%
GeForce GTX 280600518.79%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)5055 
GeForce 9800 GX248584.06%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)453111.56%
Radeon HD 4870436015.94%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2356741.72%
Radeon HD 4850344546.73%
GeForce 9800 GTX+320157.92%
Radeon HD 4830298269.52%
GeForce 9800 GT274184.42%
GeForce 9800 GTX270387.01%
Radeon HD 38701855172.51%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 - 1920x1200 - ExtremeScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2691674.91%
Radeon HD 4850 X2555440.47%
GeForce GTX 280473219.68%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)3954 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)357610.57%
GeForce 9800 GX2350812.71%
Radeon HD 4870349013.30%
Radeon HD 4850275343.63%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2266948.15%
GeForce 9800 GTX+239964.82%
Radeon HD 4830234968.33%
GeForce 9800 GT213685.11%
GeForce 9800 GTX203894.01%
Radeon HD 38701439174.77%

Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will hapen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was put on the maximum values on the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the game internal benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo for downloading here if you want to run your own benchmarks. The game was updated to version 1.6. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Call of Duty 4 - 1680x1050 - MaximumScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2134.646.62%
Radeon HD 4850 X2120.030.72%
GeForce 9800 GX2106.215.69%
GeForce GTX 280105.314.71%
Radeon HD 487093.41.74%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)91.8 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)91.00.88%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X275.721.27%
Radeon HD 485072.426.80%
GeForce 9800 GTX+72.227.15%
GeForce 9800 GTX69.132.85%
Radeon HD 483065.839.51%
GeForce 9800 GT61.349.76%
Radeon HD 387043.0113.49%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Call of Duty 4 - 1920x1200 - MaximumScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2120.649.44%
Radeon HD 4850 X2105.730.98%
GeForce 9800 GX294.517.10%
GeForce GTX 28091.713.63%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)80.7 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)77.14.67%
Radeon HD 487076.45.63%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X261.331.65%
GeForce 9800 GTX+59.535.63%
Radeon HD 485059.136.55%
GeForce 9800 GTX57.739.86%
Radeon HD 483052.653.42%
GeForce 9800 GT50.858.86%
Radeon HD 387035.4127.97%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Call of Duty 4 - 2560x1600 - MaximumScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X283.851.54%
Radeon HD 4850 X270.527.49%
GeForce 9800 GX264.817.18%
GeForce GTX 28064.817.18%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)55.3 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)53.53.36%
Radeon HD 487048.114.97%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X240.636.21%
GeForce 9800 GTX+39.739.29%
GeForce 9800 GTX38.344.39%
Radeon HD 485036.750.68%
Radeon HD 483033.465.57%
GeForce 9800 GT33.366.07%
Radeon HD 387022.4146.88%

Crysis

Crysis is a very heavy DirectX 10 game. We updated this game to version 1.2.1 and used the HOC Crysis Benchmarking Utility to help us collecting data. Since we don’t think the default demo based on the island map stresses the video card the way we want, we used the HOC core demo available with the abovementioned utility. We ran this demo under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, first with image quality set to “low” and then with image quality set to “high.” Since all video cards achieved a number of frames per second below 10 at 2560x1600 with image details set to “high,” we are not including this test as the results aren’t reliable. We ran each test twice and discarded the first result, as usually the first run achieves a lower score compared to the subsequent runs since the game loses time loading files. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Crysis 1.2.1 - 1680x1050 - LowScoreDifference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X212516.82%
GeForce GTX 28012516.82%
Radeon HD 4870 X212012.15%
Radeon HD 4850 X21157.48%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)107 
Radeon HD 48701015.94%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)998.08%
GeForce 9800 GTX+9117.58%
GeForce 9800 GTX8427.38%
Radeon HD 48508427.38%
GeForce 9800 GX27542.67%
GeForce 9800 GT7542.67%
Radeon HD 48307444.59%
Radeon HD 38707150.70%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Crysis 1.2.1 - 1920x1200 - LowScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X211930.77%
GeForce GTX 28011526.37%
Radeon HD 4850 X211526.37%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X210818.68%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)91 
Radeon HD 4870848.33%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)839.64%
GeForce 9800 GTX+7619.74%
GeForce 9800 GTX6931.88%
Radeon HD 48506735.82%
GeForce 9800 GX26344.44%
GeForce 9800 GT6149.18%
Radeon HD 48306149.18%
Radeon HD 38705856.90%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Crysis 1.2.1 - 2560x1600 - LowScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X210371.67%
GeForce GTX 2809558.33%
Radeon HD 4850 X28643.33%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X27118.33%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)60 
Radeon HD 48705313.21%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)5215.38%
GeForce 9800 GTX+4922.45%
GeForce 9800 GTX4436.36%
Radeon HD 48504339.53%
GeForce 9800 GX24242.86%
GeForce 9800 GT3953.85%
Radeon HD 48303857.89%
Radeon HD 38703571.43%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Crysis 1.2.1 - 1680x1050 - HighScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X25754.05%
Radeon HD 4850 X24727.03%
GeForce GTX 2804213.51%
Radeon HD 4870370.00%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)37 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)3215.63%
GeForce 9800 GTX2927.59%
Radeon HD 48502927.59%
GeForce 9800 GTX+2927.59%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X22642.31%
GeForce 9800 GX22548.00%
GeForce 9800 GT2548.00%
Radeon HD 48302548.00%
Radeon HD 38701994.74%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Crysis 1.2.1 - 1920x1200 - HighScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X24756.67%
Radeon HD 4850 X23930.00%
GeForce GTX 2803413.33%
Radeon HD 4870300.00%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)30 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)2615.38%
Radeon HD 48502330.43%
GeForce 9800 GTX+2330.43%
GeForce 9800 GTX2236.36%
GeForce 9800 GX22142.86%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X22050.00%
GeForce 9800 GT2050.00%
Radeon HD 48302050.00%
Radeon HD 38701687.50%

Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3 is the latest installment from this famous first person shooter franchise, supporting DirectX 10 graphics when installed on Windows Vista with a DX10 compatible card. We upgraded Unreal Tournament 3 to version 1.2 and benchmarked it with the help of HOC UT3 benchmarking utility using the “Containment” demo, maxing out image quality settings (image quality at “high” and anisotropic filtering at x16). It is important to note that we haven’t applied the PhysX mod to this game, which would transfer PhysX processing from the CPU to the GPU on NVIDIA cards. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Unreal Tournament 3 - 1680x1050 - MaximumScoreDifference
GeForce 9800 GTX1122.75%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)109 
GeForce 9800 GX21080.93%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)1062.83%
GeForce GTX 2801044.81%
Radeon HD 48701044.81%
GeForce 9800 GTX+1044.81%
Radeon HD 4850 X29811.22%
Radeon HD 48509613.54%
Radeon HD 4870 X29613.54%
GeForce 9800 GT9514.74%
Radeon HD 48308922.47%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X28429.76%
Radeon HD 38708331.33%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Unreal Tournament 3 - 1920x1200 - MaximumScoreDifference
GeForce 9800 GTX1081.89%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)106 
GeForce 9800 GX21060.00%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)1032.91%
Radeon HD 4870988.16%
Radeon HD 4850 X2979.28%
Radeon HD 4870 X29511.58%
GeForce 9800 GTX+9412.77%
GeForce GTX 2809116.48%
Radeon HD 48508919.10%
Radeon HD 48308229.27%
GeForce 9800 GT8032.50%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X27835.90%
Radeon HD 38707541.33%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Unreal Tournament 3 - 2560x1600 - MaximumScoreDifference
GeForce 9800 GTX9213.58%
GeForce 9800 GX29213.58%
Radeon HD 4870 X29112.35%
Radeon HD 4850 X2899.88%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)81 
Radeon HD 4870783.85%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)766.58%
GeForce 9800 GTX+6328.57%
GeForce GTX 2806230.65%
Radeon HD 48506035.00%
Radeon HD 48305352.83%
GeForce 9800 GT5255.77%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X25158.82%
Radeon HD 38704772.34%

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Half-Life 2 is a popular franchise and we benchmark the video cards using Episode Two with the aid of HOC Half-Life 2 Episode Two benchmarking utility using the “HOC Demo 1” provided by this program. We ran the game in three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, with quality set to maximum, x16 anisotropic filtering and 16xQCS anti-aliasing. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Half-Life 2: Episode Two - 1680x1050 - HighScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4850 X2158.026.40%
Radeon HD 4870 X2157.025.60%
Radeon HD 4870144.015.20%
GeForce 9800 GTX137.910.32%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2126.10.88%
GeForce 9800 GX2125.40.32%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)125.0 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)121.03.31%
Radeon HD 4850116.27.57%
Radeon HD 4830101.023.76%
GeForce 9800 GTX+94.032.98%
GeForce GTX 28089.339.98%
GeForce 9800 GT80.056.25%
Radeon HD 387068.383.02%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Half-Life 2: Episode Two - 1920x1200 - HighScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2157.049.52%
Radeon HD 4850 X2152.044.76%
Radeon HD 4870124.018.10%
GeForce 9800 GTX116.310.76%
GeForce 9800 GX2111.15.81%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2106.51.43%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)105.0 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)101.03.96%
Radeon HD 485097.28.02%
Radeon HD 483085.023.53%
GeForce 9800 GTX+74.041.89%
GeForce GTX 28070.349.36%
GeForce 9800 GT63.066.67%
Radeon HD 387056.884.86%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Half-Life 2: Episode Two - 2560x1600 - HighScoreDifference
Radeon HD 4870 X2130.0103.13%
Radeon HD 4850 X2108.068.75%
Radeon HD 487075.017.19%
GeForce 9800 GTX71.311.41%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)64.0 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)61.04.92%
Radeon HD 485058.49.59%
Radeon HD 483051.025.49%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X250.626.48%
GeForce 9800 GTX+39.064.10%
GeForce 9800 GX237.570.67%
GeForce 9800 GT36.077.78%
GeForce GTX 28035.580.28%
Radeon HD 387034.983.38%

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2 is based on an entirely new game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10 when played under Windows Vista with a DirectX 10-compatible video card. We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game, setting image quality to “high,” no anti-aliasing and running the demo “Ranch Small” three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

Unfortunately we had already returned to the manufacturer several of the video cards included in the previous comparisons and that is why you are seeing less video cards being included on this bechmarking.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

 

FarCry 2 - 1680x1050 - HighScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 28071.74.94%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)68.4 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)66.92.26%
Radeon HD 487063.18.27%
Radeon HD 485054.325.85%
Radeon HD 4850 X253.627.61%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

FarCry 2 - 1920x1200 - HighScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 28068.89.57%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)62.8 
Radeon HD 487061.91.44%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)61.03.00%
Radeon HD 4850 X253.617.14%
Radeon HD 485051.122.97%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

FarCry 2 - 2560x1600 - HighScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 28052.013.38%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)45.9 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)43.35.93%
Radeon HD 487040.413.64%
Radeon HD 4850 X238.120.41%
Radeon HD 485034.433.35%

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 is based on the same engine used by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and it is a DirectX 9.0c (Shader 3.0) game. We configured the game with “ultra” image quality settings, 4x anti-aliasing and 15x anisotropic filtering. To measure performance, we used the FRAPS running an outdoor scene at God mode, running through enemy fire, triggering post processing effects, and ending with a big explosion in front of Dupont Circle.

Unfortunately we had already returned to the manufacturer several of the video cards included in the previous comparisons and that is why you are seeing less video cards being included on this bechmarking.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Fallout 3 - 1680x1050 - UltraScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 28076.23.53%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)74.10.68%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)73.6 
Radeon HD 4850 X273.50.11%
Radeon HD 487069.55.84%
Radeon HD 485061.120.42%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

 

Fallout 3 - 1920x1200 - UltraScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 28076.13.82%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)73.3 
Radeon HD 4850 X272.41.26%
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)71.72.20%
Radeon HD 487064.613.56%
Radeon HD 485053.038.30%

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores

Fallout 3 - 2560x1600 - UltraScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 28068.111.46%
Radeon HD 4850 X261.60.77%
GeForce GTX 260 (216 Proc.)61.1 
GeForce GTX 260 (192 Proc.)60.90.41%
Radeon HD 487047.428.96%
Radeon HD 485035.671.58%

Conclusions

On the previous pages you can see a comparison between the new GeForce GTX 260 with 216 processors and a myriad of video cards. We’d like make here a summary comparing this new release to the “old” GeForce GTX 260 with 192 processors and to its main competitor, Radeon HD 4870.

The addition of 24 processing engines made the new GeForce GTX 260 to be a slight faster than the older model on several scenarios – but not on all of them. On Fallout 3 both cards achieved the same performance, on Unreal Tournament 3 the new card was faster (7%) than the old model only at 2560x1600, and on Call of Duty 4 and FarCry 2 both cards achieved the same performance level at 1680x1050, with the new model being  3% faster at 1920x1200 and 5% (CoD 4) or 6% (FC 2) faster at 2560x1600.

The new GTX 260 was up to 7% faster on 3DMark06, up to 12% faster on 3DMark Vantage, up to 16% faster on Crysis and up to 5% faster on Half-Life 2: Episode Two than its older version.

Radeon HD 4870 had the advantage compared to the old GeForce GTX 260, but now the new GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores is the one that has the advantage. Radeon HD 4870 was faster than GeForce GTX 260 with 216 processors at only one game, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, where it was between 15% and 18% faster.

GeForce GTX 260 with 216 processors was between 6% and 29% faster on Fallout 3, up to 14% faster on Far Cry 2, between 4% and 8% faster on Unreal Tournament 3, up to 15% faster on Call of Duty 4, between 4% and 16% faster on 3DMark Vantage and up to 4% faster on 3DMark06. On Crysis it was between 6% and 13% faster with no image quality enhancements enabled, but when we maxed out image quality both video cards achieved the same performance.

Then comes pricing. Both cards can be found on the same price range (USD 250-290), but some Radeon HD 4870 can be found a little bit lower at USD 230, but probably it is just a matter of time for the prices of this new release to drop a little bit as well.

Unless you can find a Radeon HD 4870 being sold today below USD 230 the new GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores is certainly our recommendation if you have between USD 250 and USD 290 to spend on a video card.

Of course if you are looking for at more affordable price range there are several other options on the market that will give you a better cost/benefit ratio, like Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4830, depending on your budget.

In summary, it is clear to us that NVIDIA successfully “fixed” the GeForce GTX 260 to correctly compete with Radeon HD 4870.

The only question now is how they and their partners will promote this new product, since it has the exact same name of an older and slower product. We simply hate when manufacturers release different products using the same name. It wouldn’t be easy to consumers if they released this product as GeForce GTX 261 or something like that?

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/GeForce-GTX-260-with-216-cores-Video-Card-Review/655


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