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Graphics cards Reviews
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Asus GeForce GTX 260 review

£224 inc VAT

Manufacturer: MSI

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Asus GeForce GTX 260 graphics card is based around nVidia's GTX 260, and is a less expensive alternative to the GTX 280 cards.

The Asus GeForce GTX 260 graphics card is based around nVidia's GTX 260, and is a less expensive alternative to the GTX 280 cards.

Graphics card manufacturers have established a ritual: put out your most exciting but expensive, cutting-edge products first and wow the market, then deliver a cheaper product a couple of months later that uses much of its silicon magic, but in a smaller more modest version.

This is precisely the case with nVidia's latest pair of cards: cards based around the GTX 260 hit the shops shortly after the nVidia GeForce 280 and with far lower price tags. Despite being the mass market alternative to the top-end GTX 280, the GTX 260 cards are still hard to come by.

See also:

MSI GeForce GTX 280 1024MB review

The two cards share similar architecture, but differ significantly. The GTX 260 is nearly as long as the 280 card, but it's much less chunky and requires a single 6-pin connector, whereas its bigger sibling attaches via an 8-pin connector. The upshot is that the Asus 260 card draws less power and generates less heat.

The GTX 260 has seven memory controllers, compared to the 280's eight and offers a 448bit rather than a 512bit interface. Its core and memory clock speeds are slightly lower too, resulting in a memory bandwidth of 111.9GBps. The GTX 280, meanwhile, has a bandwidth of 141.7GBps and decisively beats its little brother in all our gaming tests.

The heftier model was able to surpass the 260 by 18 percent in our Crysis tests and more than 20 percent in Fear, but it was a closer-run thing in World of Conflict where the margin was 10 percent. The Stalker score showed a performance difference of 17 percent.

Even so, we were encouraged by the competitiveness of the GeForce GTX 260 GPU – it performed well with creditable frame rates in all these games.

Unfortunately, against the opponent that really counts, the Radeon 4870, the 260 is found wanting. It's generally only around 3-4 percent down on the 4870 – but its rival is still slightly faster and, more impressively, retails for about £30 less.

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Asus GeForce GTX 260 Expert Verdict »

nVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
896MB GDDR3
576MHz Core Clock
999MHz Memory Clock (1,998 DDR effective)
400MHz Ramdac
192 Stream Processors
PCI-E Interface
TV Out/Video In yes/no
DirectX 10
DVI
3-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

You get some very nice features in the GTX 260, and the potential of Cuda and the PhysX technology could see some surprises in the future. But we see that time being a year or two away yet. In the meantime, the 4870 is definitely the superior buy.

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