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GTX 250 vs 260

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November 24, 2009 12:46:57 AM

My previous video card was an evga 8800 GT SC, and recently it died so I'm looking for a replacement. From what I've read, the 8800 GT = 9800 GT < 9800 GTX < 9800 GTX+ == GTX 250 < GTX 260, so I'm assuming my old card was comparable to a 9800 GTX.

Games I play / intend to play:
Crysis
Left for Dead (1 & 2)
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Mirror's Edge
Half-Life 2
Dragon Age
DDO/WoW
Modern Warfare 2
Bad Company
and others (etc)

System Specs:
Motherboard - EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel
CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor
RAM - Kingston HyperX 4GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
Hard drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
Power - PC Power and Cooling S75QB 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS

Monitors - Dual monitors, two of the following:
LG W2053TQ-PF Black 20" 2ms GTG 16:9 Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 50000:1 w/ Smart Package
[ur]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...[/url]
(Native Resolution 1600x900)

I would prefer to play games at higher settings. A lot of time I play in windowed mode, but still most or all the monitor is used - I just hate fullscreen tabbing. I'd also like to be able to play with high settings while streaming video on the second monitor (e.g. netflix or DVD) fullscreen, if possible. I realize Crysis is a bit out there in terms of 'max settings' so it's less of an issue for that game. Being able to at least turn on 4x or 8x AA and PhysX, when applicable, are important to me. Also I'd like the card to be able to run games for the next 1-3 years at least, though I expect settings to diminish over time.

From looking around, the ideal graphic cards seem to be:
evga GTX 250: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
evga GTX 260: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

My main questions:
1. Which card would be ideal to run what I want? That is, is the GTX 250 "good enough?"
2. Are there any other options that might be better (such as sli set ups) in the same price range? (For games listed, and possibly in the next year)
3. How important is PhysX and other nvidia perks over DX11? (Basically, it seems Radeon is cheaper with similar benchmarks, but with less features and game support)
4. Anything else I should know - possible other hardware conflicts, settings information, game-related stuff, etc.

Thanks ahead of time for any help.

More about : gtx 250 260

November 24, 2009 12:44:48 PM

under those circumstances i would suggest a 5970, provided that it wont cause any problems on that 780i (but i think it would) and if your budget would permit $600 for a graphics card.

im a gtx260-216 owner and i wouldnt mind getting a 5770 still (especially after getting first hand experience on it), im dissuading everybody i know to get any nvidia cards right now.
November 24, 2009 12:53:23 PM

the 260 is a great card and wont kill your wallet like a new 5xxx series card will. the 5xxx series will come down in price though once supply is higher. price/performance a 4890 is a great card as well but you may be opening up a can of worms on that nForce board.
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November 24, 2009 1:20:56 PM

Yeah, I think radeon makes some good cards right now, but I think nvidia better suits my needs right now due to the motherboard and other features.

A $600 video card is outside my budget. I'm sure it's a nice card as I've bought the high end before, but I don't think they are worth it right now when you can sli/crossfire lower end cards for amazing performance at two-thirds the price.

I know the 260 is faster and stronger. I'm curious if that extra strength will be useful for my set up, though. I also don't know how well these games, and upcoming games, would benefit more from the GTX 260, if a GTX 250 will be fine, or if two 9800 GT or 9800 GTX in sli would be better.

I had originally bought the motherboard with the intention of getting another 8800 GT in the future, but with a dead card that's not really an issue anymore (it's also the reason for a 750W power supply).

Another thing is I have no problem with overclocking whatever I get. I'm not sure how this would factor in, though. I hear overclocking a GTX 260 can make it equivalent to a GTX 275 (non-OC) which is pretty cool.
November 24, 2009 1:33:37 PM

The 5970 would be MAJOR overkill for what the OP plays on a daily basis, hence the resolution...A GTX 260 or 5770 would be the best option at this point. Personally I would opt for a 260 and later on add another one if needed.
November 24, 2009 3:22:46 PM

^ actually it wont as there is potential for an eyefinity setup for his rig. what complicates it is his motherboard.
November 24, 2009 3:26:24 PM

what??^^ eyefinity is only needed when someone is going to use more than 2 monitors under one GPU...
a b Î Nvidia
November 24, 2009 3:34:27 PM

If you are looking for a card to last a while you'll want the GTX 260.
November 24, 2009 3:46:18 PM

OvrClkr said:
what??^^ eyefinity is only needed when someone is going to use more than 2 monitors under one GPU...

Is eyefinity any different, functionally, than Matrox Triplehead2Go? While a third monitor isn't unreasonable (I'd love to add a 24-27" in the middle), this won't be happening any time in the next year or two. Either way, eyefinity and nvidia 3D Vision would be require another monitor that I don't have.
Quote:
The 5970 would be MAJOR overkill for what the OP plays on a daily basis, hence the resolution...A GTX 260 or 5770 would be the best option at this point. Personally I would opt for a 260 and later on add another one if needed.

Quote:
If you are looking for a card to last a while you'll want the GTX 260.

A GTX 260 seems to be the general vibe of the thread, and the possibility of upgrading to an sli set up is in line with my previous intentions with the 8800 GT. I assume by the time I'd need to upgrade that more game will probably support dual GPU systems (Been reading a lot previously/current do not).

That said, is it safe to say none of the GTX 260's superior capabilities (over the GTX 250) will be wasted for the resolution I'll be playing at and dual monitor set up?
November 24, 2009 4:00:40 PM

what??^^ eyefinity is only needed when someone is going to use more than 2 monitors under one GPU... said:
what??^^ eyefinity is only needed when someone is going to use more than 2 monitors under one GPU...


keyword: "potential". he already has 2 20"ers in there.

to the TS:

your expected lifespan for the videocard is too far off. 3 years? a 5770 is probably the smartest/ most practical choice. but as it age and degrades, so as your game's graphics settings in the future.


November 24, 2009 4:15:59 PM

providence said:
Is eyefinity any different, functionally, than Matrox Triplehead2Go? While a third monitor isn't unreasonable (I'd love to add a 24-27" in the middle), this won't be happening any time in the next year or two. Either way, eyefinity and nvidia 3D Vision would be require another monitor that I don't have.
Quote:
The 5970 would be MAJOR overkill for what the OP plays on a daily basis, hence the resolution...A GTX 260 or 5770 would be the best option at this point. Personally I would opt for a 260 and later on add another one if needed.

Quote:
If you are looking for a card to last a while you'll want the GTX 260.

A GTX 260 seems to be the general vibe of the thread, and the possibility of upgrading to an sli set up is in line with my previous intentions with the 8800 GT. I assume by the time I'd need to upgrade that more game will probably support dual GPU systems (Been reading a lot previously/current do not).

That said, is it safe to say none of the GTX 260's superior capabilities (over the GTX 250) will be wasted for the resolution I'll be playing at and dual monitor set up?


I used to have dual 250's in SLI but they were running a single 22" 16x10 res monitor. Since then I sold both the 250's and got a single GTX 260. As I pointed out I am currently playing at 16x10 res so there would be a mojor bottleneck if I went SLI. Once I get my hands on a bigger monitor I can add the second 260 and actually see a performance gain.

BTW I play Crysis, Warhead, L4D/L4D2, MW1/MW2 and BF2. I can max out everything (including xAA) and still get high frames except for Crysis/Warhead....hope this helps....
a b Î Nvidia
November 24, 2009 4:29:57 PM

providence said:
That said, is it safe to say none of the GTX 260's superior capabilities (over the GTX 250) will be wasted for the resolution I'll be playing at and dual monitor set up?
Considering you say you play games in windowed mode a GTS 250 may be acceptable for now depending on what resolution you are actually playing at. However you specifically asked for something that will last you a while so in that context the answer is the GTX 260.
November 24, 2009 5:27:41 PM

dual 260's will deliver enough graphics power to keep you happy for quite a while. i went from dual 260's to a single 295 and performance was very similar and pretty much traded punches depending on what games you play. overall, the dual 260's were less hassle.
November 24, 2009 5:41:19 PM

A single GTX 260 will suffice seeing as you want PhysX. While I'd recommend not getting a card for PhysX just for some gimmicky features in Batman Arkum Asylum and Mirror's Edge, that is your best choice if you choose to go that route. The GTS 250 is a fine value card, but its power is lacking. It really doesn't have the power beyond being a dedicated PhysX card to run the effects by itself negating that point. You'd be better off with an HD 5750.

As far as the GTX 260, I'd recommend a 5770. Avivo video technology better handles video than Nvidia's equivalent, hands down, for Netflix and DVDs. The card has Eyefinity with support for up to three monitors on one card better supporting your setup. The card has DirectX 11. Its drivers are brand new so it will receive performance improvements via them throughout its lifetime. The 5770 scales better in CrossFire than any Nvidia counterpart and most of ATis offerings. It outputs less heat and uses less power. It will last longer.

Regardless, the GTX 260 is a fine choice -- just know what you're looking for and you won't have any regrets.
November 24, 2009 5:54:17 PM

The GTX 260 seems like the best fit in this situation. Is there any merit to buying a factory OC model, or will a good brand allow me to OC it similarly? My previous card with an evga. I've been impressed with its performance, and they offer a lifetime warranty (unfortunately I forgot to sign up my old card). Besides connectors, is there any performance or quality difference between evga / XFX / gigabtyte?

Quote:
As far as the GTX 260, I'd recommend a 5770. Avivo video technology better handles video than Nvidia's equivalent, hands down, for Netflix and DVDs. The card has Eyefinity with support for up to three monitors on one card better supporting your setup. The card has DirectX 11. Its drivers are brand new so it will receive performance improvements via them throughout its lifetime. The 5770 scales better in CrossFire than any Nvidia counterpart and most of ATis offerings. It outputs less heat and uses less power. It will last longer.

ATI cards are great, but I can't take advantage of crossfire with my motherboard. Nvidia is a better fit for my system. I appreciate the recommendation, though. Certainly, ATI will be something to look at when my system is outdated enough to warrant a new build.
November 24, 2009 6:01:48 PM

As long as it is the Core 216 version you are fine, don't go spending 40-50 dollars more for the OC'ed version when you can manually OC the card to the same speeds....
November 24, 2009 6:03:33 PM

providence said:
The GTX 260 seems like the best fit in this situation. Is there any merit to buying a factory OC model, or will a good brand allow me to OC it similarly? My previous card with an evga. I've been impressed with its performance, and they offer a lifetime warranty (unfortunately I forgot to sign up my old card). Besides connectors, is there any performance or quality difference between evga / XFX / gigabtyte?


Factory OC models give you satisfaction of some overclocking performance without voiding your warranty. You'd have to look up the specific name of the card to see performance results versus a stock GTX 260, however. As far as I know you will probably be able to overclock any card to the pre-overclocked settings that a factory OC'd model would use, but it will not be under warranty. A bright side is, if you get something like an MSI GTX 260 lightning you can modify the voltage with the supplied software and get an impressive overclock out of that, probably around stock GTX 275 performance, but don't get caught paying over $20-30 for an overclocked version if you ask me. I think EVGA's (correct me if I'm wrong) Super Overclocked versions are good as well.

As far as brands: EVGA has a step-up program which allows you to upgrade your card to a more powerful version within 3 months (?) and you only have to pay the difference; XFX has a double-lifetime warranty meaning if you sell the card secondhand to someone they also get a lifetime warranty; I'm not sure about Gigabyte. :/ 
November 24, 2009 6:12:40 PM

I have OC'ed about 15 GPU's since 95 and to this date I have never had an issue as far as warranties go. As long as you know what you are doing you will be fine. EVGA, XFX and BFG don't mind the OC'ing as long as your card does not die due to heat/volt modding/being stupid, etc..... For example I have a BFG Maxcore GTX 260, basically the OC'ed version of the GTX 260. If I had the regular version (non-OC'ed) I would be able to OC the card to the same spec's as the Maxcore and it will not hurt the card in any way. Now if you go crazy with the overclock and you do not watch your temps, THEN it is your fault and YES the warranty would be nulled. Other than the above, the warranty remains the same.
a b Î Nvidia
November 24, 2009 6:15:33 PM

brockh said:
As far as I know you will probably be able to overclock any card to the pre-overclocked settings that a factory OC'd model would use, but it will not be under warranty.

And they could tell you OCed your card how exactly?
November 24, 2009 6:22:58 PM

jyjjy said:
And they could tell you OCed your card how exactly?


No need to jump all over me, guys. Warranties state clearly if you OC the card and something happens (whether or not it was a reprecussion of doing so), if they find out they will not cover it. I'm not saying they will find out, and it will ruin your life, but I do think it's something to take into consideration if he plans on taking overclocking it seriously. If he doesn't (or just wants to take it up a few MHz), it's a non-issue and doesn't need to be taken into account.
November 24, 2009 6:25:22 PM

You guys need to understand that overclocking a GPU does not hurt it in any way UNLESS you are dumb enough to push the slider all the way to the right and forget about it. As long as you OC within working limits and you monitor temps the GPU should work as advertised unless you push it too far, same goes for CPU's... People that void their warranties due to OC'ing are just un-educated noobs that don't know what they are doing in the first place.
a b Î Nvidia
November 24, 2009 6:29:25 PM

OvrClkr said:
People that void their warranties due to OC'ing are just un-educated noobs that don't know what they are doing in the first place.

No, a lot of warranties state that ANY overclocking voids the warranty whether it's being done by a noob or a pro. But like I indicated earlier it will never been an issue as there's no way for them to know you've OCed unless you specifically tell them.
November 24, 2009 6:32:06 PM

OvrClkr said:
You guys need to understand that overclocking a GPU does not hurt it in any way UNLESS you are dumb enough to push the slider all the way to the right and forget about it. As long as you OC withing working limits and you monitor temps the GPU should work as advertised unless you puch it too far, same goes for CPU's... People that void their warranties due to OC'ing are just un-educated noobs that don't know what they are doing in the first place.


A lot of people think they can just push it up a bit and nothing happens. Especially with larger cards (e.g. cards that aren't running on a 40nm process like ATi's 5 series that can just see a 6 watt TDP increase with a 2 degrees difference) these problems present themselves in a variety of ways: (1) power consumption, (2) card temperature, and (3) case temperature & airflow. Some people are pushing the limits of their power supply already and even if its an extra 20 or 30 watts it could cause a problem. The card will run hotter when its overclocked, and sometimes the card will not downclock itself in 2D mode when it is overclocked. Case temperature and airflow is definitely one of the problems that people seem to negate most quickly, and it can even cause problems when the card is at stock speeds with a bad cooler/fan that is just recycling air or bad case design that causes it to do so by not bringing in enough fresh, cool air to meet the needs of the card's heatsink.

I'm not saying anyones dumb, but it's also not correct to assume we can all get free performance for no risk. You're still usually paying these prices when you buy a factory OC'd card, which, as I said, are really not worth it.

November 24, 2009 7:08:04 PM

jyjjy said:
No, a lot of warranties state that ANY overclocking voids the warranty whether it's being done by a noob or a pro. But like I indicated earlier it will never been an issue as there's no way for them to know you've OCed unless you specifically tell them.


I agree but if you use a tad of common sense you should know how far a GPU will overclock without decreasing it's lifespan. I have NEVER had an issue overclocking a GPU mainly because I do my research beforehand just to see the OC threshold. I can tell you that 99.9% of GPU failures due to overclocking are caused by pushing the GPU too far while exceeding maximum temps. If you OC correctly and maintain the temps at tolerable levels the GPU should not have any issues whatsoever.
November 24, 2009 7:11:33 PM

brockh said:
A lot of people think they can just push it up a bit and nothing happens. Especially with larger cards (e.g. cards that aren't running on a 40nm process like ATi's 5 series that can just see a 6 watt TDP increase with a 2 degrees difference) these problems present themselves in a variety of ways: (1) power consumption, (2) card temperature, and (3) case temperature & airflow. Some people are pushing the limits of their power supply already and even if its an extra 20 or 30 watts it could cause a problem. The card will run hotter when its overclocked, and sometimes the card will not downclock itself in 2D mode when it is overclocked. Case temperature and airflow is definitely one of the problems that people seem to negate most quickly, and it can even cause problems when the card is at stock speeds with a bad cooler/fan that is just recycling air or bad case design that causes it to do so by not bringing in enough fresh, cool air to meet the needs of the card's heatsink.

I'm not saying anyones dumb, but it's also not correct to assume we can all get free performance for no risk. You're still usually paying these prices when you buy a factory OC'd card, which, as I said, are really not worth it.

http://media.bestofmicro.com/,8-M-227110-3.png


Agreed, but you have to take into consideration that if you have bad cable managemant, poor airflow and no knowledge whatsoever as far as OC'ing goes, you shouldn't be overclocking in the first place ;)  ....
November 24, 2009 9:17:08 PM

Woo, that sparked a conversation, heh.

I have no problems overclocking. I'm confident in my own ability to do research, and even without OC'ing I always kept tabs on my graphics card's temperature (the advantage of multiple monitors) and other important things. I'm also going to be buying a new case as part of this endeavor to replace my video card. That should make cooling and such manageable.

So I've pretty much decided, from all that was said here, that the GTX 260 is worth it over the GTX 250. Also I've got a lot of information here in terms of brands, subtypes of the GTX260, and future viability. All I have left to do is look at various prices and whatnot - and that will probably be delayed till Monday to see if any deals are going to be coming around.

All of your input was very helpful. I did a lot of looking around before I posted, but this cleared up everything I needed. Thanks again to everyone who posted!
November 25, 2009 4:24:08 AM

wooooo
GTX 260 ftw
November 25, 2009 6:22:29 AM

Glad to see another GTX 260 into my family of Sli 260s....

Youll enjoy it Im sure. Im runnig SLI 260s and nothing is giving me a choke (except crysis...) and on max, so in a year most of the settings will be high with reduced AA and so on.... Your fine till your next major build!!

November 25, 2009 8:45:17 AM

the price difference of my gtx260-216 factory oc'd vs the stock one was like $5. the brand is is inno3d, they're not that popular in the states though.
November 29, 2009 1:08:49 PM

well yh they are not popular enough but have good cards i have one of their products and is good but my advice is a gtx 260 or ati 4870
November 29, 2009 1:10:25 PM

well inno3d are not that popular in the states but i have one of their products and its good my advice is simple gaming card gtx 260/gt240
ati 4850/4870
ur choice
November 29, 2009 5:33:02 PM

as long as the manufacturer gives you some sort of warranty you should be ok.....
December 5, 2009 4:33:42 PM

totally true
!