It’s easy to be seduced by the latest and greatest graphics cards, but you can sometimes find excellent deals in older-generation cards that can still keep up with today’s shader-heavy PC games. Gigabyte’s 260 GTX SuperOC is a good example.
To make the cards, Gigabyte starts with cherry-picked 260 GTX chips from the factory. Then it clocks the GPUs at 680MHz, more than 100MHz faster than the standard 576MHz. Similarly, the SuperOC pushes the shader clock to 1,466MHz, instead of the stock 1,350MHz. Rounding off the performance push is 896MB of GDDR3 running at 1.25GHz instead of 1GHz. Gigabyte delivers these rarefied clock rates at slightly less than $200.
When Nvidia unveiled its G200 GPU, we were immediately drawn to the shiny, speedy GeForce GTX 280. Why wouldn’t we be? With high core and memory clocks and 240 stream processors to churn through the toughest shaders, it was sexy and fast. We were less excited about the 260, which sported 192 stream processors and slower clocks speeds but cost about $100 less than the 280 (at the time). Since then, ATI has released its R700-based Radeon 4870, which outperforms the original 260 but costs the same amount.
And that’s where the Core 216 edition of the 260 GTX comes in. With the same stock clock speeds but 24 more shader processors than the original, the new version of the 260 GTX delivers comparable performance to the 4870 at a similar price. The speeds and feeds are about the same as the original 260’s, although EVGA clocked this card’s core at 626MHz (up from 576MHz stock) and includes 896MB of GDDR3 running on a 448-bit bus at 1053MHz (stock is 999MHz).
If you've been thinking about upgrading to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 260 videocard, you may want to hold off for a few weeks. According to Chinese site Expreview, Nvidia will release a new 55nm-based GTX 260 along with a 55nm GTX 295 (GTX 260 GX2) in January 2009. And if history tells us anything, Nvidia tends to do well with core revisions (G92-based 8800GT, for example). Expreview posted several pics of the revised GTX 260, which it claims were sent in from Zotac.
In addition to a die shrink, the new GTX 260, or at least Zotac's version, looks to be built with a 10-layer PCB design rather than 14 layers as found on current GTX 260/280 videocards, Expreview says. The new revision also upgrades its 3+2 phase power modules to 4+2 phase.
Other specs look to remain the same, such as the number of stream processors (216) and core and memory frequencies. This means you might not see a leap in stock performance, but in theory, the power consumption, heat output, and overclocking potential should all be improved.
No word yet on projected pricing, which could either sweeten or spoil the whole deal.
If you haven't heard, ATI's HD 4870 kicks some serious gaming ass. Nvidia's received the message loud and clear, so the company's gone back to the drawing board and now plans to release a revised version of its GTX 260 videocard. The tweaked GTX 260 pushes the number of stream shaders from 192 up to 216, expected to result in a 5-10 percent performance increase. To prevent confusion in the market place with existing GTX 260s, speculation suggests the new card may carry a 'Gold' moniker.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Nvidia has revised an existing SKU, with the company earlier this summer shrinking the 9800 GTX's core from 65nm to 55nm and boosting clockspeeds, which resulted in the 9800 GTX+. But this time around, DigiTimes reports graphics card makers are voicing concerns that the Gold release will leave them with an oversupply of original GTX 260 cards that no one wants. Whether those fears prove founded or not depends on how Nvidia plans to price the new release, which so far has not yet been announced.
Nvidia contnues to feel the pressure from a suddenly competitive ATI and will once again tweak one of its mainstream videocards. Back in June, Nvidia took its 9800GTX card based on the immensely popular G92 core and shrank the core from 65nm to 55nm, pushed the core, memory, and shader clockspeeds, and dubbed the resulting product the 9800GTX+. This time around its the GTX 260 that will undergo a revision.
Citing an un-named source, Expreview reports Nvidia will add another Texture Processing Cluster (TPC) to its GTX 260, bringing the total up from 8 to 9. By doing so, the revised card will sport 216 shader processors instead of the 192 found in the original GTX 260. As far as Expreview knows, core, shader, and memory clockspeeds will remain the same.
If the report holds true, look for the updated card to arrive in September.
My trusty PC is long in tooth, and it’s 7900GT just no longer serves well enough for my gaming desires. I’ve taken to dropping items in my New Egg cart on the weekends and putting together my own Dream Machine, only to sigh and dump everything out when I realize that my wife would only strangle me for spending that much on anything short of diamonds for her. Hey, I live in Vermont, the women out here are tough.
Fortunately Nvidia has introduced new prices on the GeForce GTX 280 and 260 to be even more competitive with ATI’s line. The GeForce GTX 280 is now available for around $499. The GeForce GTX 260 is now going for around $299.
So maybe I can slip one of those into my current rig before she gets the credit card bill. After all it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission. At least I’ll have a nice new videocard to console myself with afterwards.