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Benchmarks: GTX 470 vs GTX 260 SLI (Core 216)

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a b Î Nvidia
July 1, 2010 10:37:07 PM

For anyone who has a GTX 260 (let alone has an SLI setup) who might be considering a new GTX 470 or similar GPU upgrade. Here are my personal benchmark results after making the same switch. These are all DX9 or DX10 comparisons (obviously) as the GTX 260 cannot run DX11 applications. Keep in mind this is no where near a full comparison of all titles, however these were the benchmark utilities I had available to me at the time of this switch.

Unfortunately I do not own a copy of 3dMarkVantage so there is no Vantage comparison. Tried the trial once, but that expired.

System & Setup Details
CPU: Intel i5-750 @ 4Ghz Vcore 1.32V
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P
RAM: GSKILL DDR3 1600 Mhz (9-9-9-24 @ 1.5V)
P-Supply: Antec TPQ-850
nVidia Forceware Driver 257.21 [Driver Sweeper used to ensure good drivers]
nVidia Forceware Driver 258.69 **Some Updated Benchmarks on GTX 470 Only** 7/2/2010


Video Cards
MSI GTX 470 (Stock 607Mhz) [N470GTX M2D12]



MSI GTX 260 Core 216 (655Mhz) OCv2 [Factory OC]
MSI GTX 260 Core 216 (655Mhz) OCv4 [Factory OC]




Thank goodness I received the MSI GTX 470 with the Jet logo on it. The Street Fighter IV logo displayed on the photos at the NewEgg.com website were HIDEOUS! As you can see however, the GTX 470 is actually noticeably smaller than the GTX 260 Core 216 graphics card. So for those of you with smaller cases, this might be a great thing.

Benchmarks Used & Settings
Crysis 1.2 (DX10 32bit Very High 1920x1080)
GTA IV (1920x1080, Texture Quality High, Reflection Quality High, Shadows High, Water Quality Very High, Texture Filter Highest, View Dist = 43, Detail Dist = 100, Definition = On, VSync = Off)
Unigine Heaven V2.1 Benchmark (D3D10, High Settings, 4x Anisotropic, 1920x1080)
Unigine Tropics V1.3 Benchmark (D3D10, High Settings, 4x Anisotropic, 1920x1080)
Unigine Sanctuary V2.3 Benchmark (D3D10, High Settings, 4x Anisotropic, 1920x1080)
Furmark 1.8.2 (1920x1080 Full Screen 12,000ms 4x MSAA)
3dMark06 Basic (Default Settings)
FarCry 2 (v1.0) (All High/Ultra High @ 1920x1080, AA 8x, DX10 Demo Small Ranch 3 loops)

Crysis 1.2.1 (After 4 runs, ignoring 1st run scores)
GTX 260 SLI = 41 FPS
GTX 470 = 30 FPS Forceware 257.21 Drivers
GTX 470 = 30 FPS Forceware 258.69 Drivers

Crysis is probably the benchmark I'm most disappointed with. Granted Crysis is arguably one of the best or worst benchmark utilities, I was surprised by the dramatic difference between scores. We're talking a 25% loss in performance going from the GTX 260 SLI setup to the GTX 470.

GTA IV
GTX 260 SLI = 64.2 FPS
GTX 470 = 61.58 FPS

Here we are pretty much equal. I only ran one run through with both setups. This variation of 3FPS doesn't bug me in the least. I'd be more than willing to call this an even tie.

Unigine Heaven
GTX 260 SLI = 70.6 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 147.7 / MIN FPS = 6.6
GTX 470 = 50.4 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 94.8 / MIN FPS = 6.9 Forceware 257.21 Drivers
GTX 470 = 50.4 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 93.0 / MIN FPS = 30.3 Forceware 258.69 Drivers

Having seen this benchmark a million times on YouTube I was glad to finally give it a go. I have yet to push the GTX 470 into DX11 mode on this benchmark, but can't wait to play with it. I was honestly blown away however, at how poorly the GTX 470 tested here compared to the GTX 260 SLI setup. Knowing how much ATI and nVidia both have pushed Tessellation and DX11, I guess I had figured the new GTX 470 would have been tweaked more for Unigine's Heaven Benchmark.

Please note, both GPUs suffered what I believe to be a synthetic FPS loss between Scenes 18 & 19 during the Heaven Benchmark. It appears there was a point (both at the same time) where the system had to load data into memory as the scenes switched. This caused a visual delay on screen. Both GPUs recovered immediately with 40+ FPS during the scene. So the minimum FPS counted for each is very close, and quite frankly I'm going to call BUNK on the Minimum FPS for both cards.

Unigine Tropics
GTX 260 SLI = 97.2 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 178.9 / MIN FPS = 48.9
GTX 470 = 65.9 FPS AVG / MAX FPS =103.7 / MIN FPS = 43.1 Forceware 257.21 Drivers
GTX 470 = 66.7 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 105.3 / MIN FPS = 47.7 Forceware 258.69 Drivers

This benchmark quite frankly reminds me of the once famed Farcry (the original). It's set on a tiny little island in the midst of a vast ocean. Unlike our Gulf of Mexico, this ocean is pristine and blue. The graphical details in the palm trees seem a bit outdated.

Unigine Sanctuary
GTX 260 SLI = 97.8 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 119.9 / MIN FPS = 65.0
GTX 470 = 66.9 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 79.3 / MIN FPS = 43.8 Forceware 257.21 Drivers
GTX 470 = 95.3 FPS AVG / MAX FPS = 120.2 / MIN FPS = 54.1 Forceware 258.69 Drivers

Sanctuary is a beautiful benchmark for the Unigine Engine. As a Christian I was impressed that anyone would produce a benchmark with Christian overtones. I really enjoyed watching the angelic statues, stained glass windows, and the fine details around the altar and wall details in this benchmark.

Furmark 1.8.2
GTX 260 SLI = 14,821 Points
GTX 470 = 8,327 Points Forceware 257.21 Drivers
GTX 470 = 8,339 Points Forceware 258.69 Drivers

This is blatently huge. I've never used Furmark in the past for benchmarking. Of course I had to use the Furmark Multi-GPU exe to facilitate an accurate SLI test for the GTX 260. Then I used the standard single GPU Furmark for the GTX 470. Furmark pushed GPU temperatures more than any of the other tests, pegging my GTX 470 @ 94C for the majority of the test period.

3dMark06 Basic
GTX 260 SLI = 24,750 Marks
SM 2.0 Score = 9,859
SM 3.0 Score = 12,269
CPU Score = 6,202

GTX 470 = 23,820 Marks
SM 2.0 Score = 9,907
SM 3.0 Score = 11,258
CPU Score = 6,089

This was an interesting benchmark in my opinion. Obviously there is some variation here as even the CPU score changed by over 100 points. Synthetic benchmarks are continually argued as it is, and this benchmark in particular uses the DX9 system. So it's probably not the best utility to compare these two DX10 graphics cards. Of course, anyone who has used Futuremarks utilities knows that repeated runs come up with slightly varying scores.

Still, with that being said, it's interesting to see the variations. The GTX 260 SLI setup beats out the GTX 470 in the Shader 3.0 category, but is edged out ever so slightly in the Shader 2.0 category. Still, the differences are so close you might as well call them a tie!

Farcry 2 (v1.0)
GTX 260 SLI = AVG 70.55, MAX 103.56, MIN 49.01 FPS [257.21 Driver]
GTX 470 = AVG 71.45, MAX 118.41, MIN 50.95 FPS [258.69 Driver]

Unfortunately I forgot to benchmark this on my original post. Rather than install the 257.21 drivers again, I was lazy and just ran the GTX 470 with the latest Beta driver. I haven't seen much change from the 257.21 to 258.69 drivers for the GTX 470 anyhow.

Temperatures

GTX 470 Idle Temp = 50C (Fan Speed on Auto = 40%)

GTX 470 High Temp = 94C (Fan Speed on Auto = 86%)

Interestingly, and not exceedingly surprising, the GTX 470 does indeed live up to it's reputation temperature wise. My ambient temperatures are between 72F and 75F. My GTX 260's as I recall kept idle temperatures in the 40's, and could peak about 79-80C. As my case sits right beside me, with the side vent pointed toward me, I can hear the roar of the GTX 470's fan as it hits the 80% range. It's fairly loud. If I had a case with no side vent opening (my Thermaltake Armor full tower has an optional 25CM side fan which I removed for space concerns) it probably wouldn't be quite so loud. But to be honest, so far I think the GTX 470 makes more noise than both my GTX 260's did when running at load in SLI.

It'll be interesting to see as nVidia continues to mature their drivers whether I gain any of my performance losses back. And I have yet to try playing Metro 2033 or Battlefield: Bad Company 2 in DX11 mode. Should be interesting to test those out as well.

Conclusion:

Obviously with the specific benchmarks I've done, it's fairly obvious I've taken a performance hit. Time will tell whether nVidia can squeeze more juice out of this new Fermi based card. It does indeed run extremely high temperatures compared to my old GTX 260s. The one advantage I have at the time however, is two fold. For once, I can now enjoy the first season of DX11 game titles available on PC. Secondly, although I sold one of my GTX 260's already, I have the second for PhysX dedication.

But, if you have a GTX 260 and want to add a second one, it's not a bad idea. If you already have a GTX 260 SLI setup, you're not missing much of anything performance wise. In fact, you may indeed have the greater performance already.
a b Î Nvidia
July 1, 2010 10:43:07 PM

Quote:
Go install the new Beta drivers i posted about today and retest :) 

Score jumped 400 points in vantage for a single 470 with the new drivers


Thanks for the input. :)  I will check them out. Hopefully there's some substantial improvements. So far my personal benchmarks are disappointing. ;) 

I did get one thing though. The MSI GTX 470 came with a coupon code for a free download of DarkVoid, Street Fighter IV, or Resident Evil 5. Granted it "Expired" June 30th, 2010. But it accepted the code over at ww.nzone.com so I'm downloading Resident Evil 5. Should be a fun time later on. :) 
a b Î Nvidia
July 2, 2010 6:38:52 AM

Darkvoid looked kind of cheesy to me. It's set during WWII I guess, but you get futuristic weapons and a jetpak to fly around with. Robots and aliens and stuff to fight. Reviews I saw gave it a 5-6 out of 10. LOL

Resident Evil 5 on the other hand, was like 89% rating and is pretty modern graphics for PCs from the looks of things.

Unfortunately I've downloaded it three times from nVidia, and so far my 7GB downloads keep getting corrupted somehow. So I have yet to install and play the game. :(  Makes me a bit angry. ;) 
Related resources
a b Î Nvidia
August 22, 2010 5:14:32 AM

Thanks for this thread jerreece, I was thinking about getting a 470 today now that the MSI is down to 260 are MIR.
September 10, 2010 6:39:13 PM

Thanks for the useful info
a b Î Nvidia
September 10, 2010 8:59:18 PM

No problem! :)  Just glad if this helps even one or two people make a good decision on their GPU upgrade.
a c 414 Î Nvidia
September 10, 2010 9:28:42 PM

I was trying out some fan settings on my Asus GTX480, and I noticed the loud noise threshold to be when the fan gets above 80%. Below that, it pretty much sounds like any video card, but above that, you get that whooshing jet engine sound.

The good thing is that on Auto fan, it never goes above 75% at full overclocked load and never above 92c. So in regular operation, it's pretty manageable and easy to ignore while playing games with the sound on.

I wonder if there is a way to configure your MSI card to keep the fan around 75% max.
a b Î Nvidia
September 10, 2010 9:35:03 PM

17seconds said:
I was trying out some fan settings on my Asus GTX480, and I noticed the loud noise threshold to be when the fan gets above 80%. Below that, it pretty much sounds like any video card, but above that, you get that whooshing jet engine sound.

The good thing is that on Auto fan, it never goes above 75% at full overclocked load and never above 92c. So in regular operation, it's pretty manageable and easy to ignore while playing games with the sound on.

I wonder if there is a way to configure your MSI card to keep the fan around 75% max.


Oh most certainly. I use the MSI Afterburner software to set custom fan profiles. :) 
a c 414 Î Nvidia
September 10, 2010 9:44:19 PM

I was surprised to see you reached 94c and 86% fan. I have never seen those on my card, and the GTX470 should run cooler than the 480.
a b Î Nvidia
September 10, 2010 9:52:04 PM

17seconds said:
I was surprised to see you reached 94c and 86% fan. I have never seen those on my card, and the GTX470 should run cooler than the 480.


Yeah. LOL I'd love to find a cost effective Aftermarket cooling system for my GTX 470. It's a reference model, problem is I haven't really seen anyone release good coolers for them. My home is not air conditioned, so when I ran these tests back in July I wasn't using cold air. Granted room temps were fairly good.

This winter perhaps things will be cooler inside. ;) 
a c 414 Î Nvidia
September 10, 2010 10:19:51 PM

jerreece said:
Yeah. LOL I'd love to find a cost effective Aftermarket cooling system for my GTX 470. It's a reference model, problem is I haven't really seen anyone release good coolers for them. My home is not air conditioned, so when I ran these tests back in July I wasn't using cold air. Granted room temps were fairly good.

This winter perhaps things will be cooler inside. ;) 


The Zalman 3000 seems to be one of the best after market coolers for the 470. Too bad you didn't get the MSI GTX470 Twin Frozr II. I wonder why there are no custom GTX480's, other than the Zotac AMP!?
November 21, 2010 5:21:45 AM

:hello: 
Bro Thanks for the bench marks - Excellent review - more folks should check this out - As this is a very good assesment of what the GTX 260 could do

I have two MSI Twin Frozr's GTX216 OC'd to 703mhz on the cores - I havent even touched the Memory settings - I paid a total of $250 for both cards sometime ago - Newegg rebate and ebay -

They could probably do 712Mhz max but my OC utility kinda jumps them up to 720mhz if set to 704 or higher.... I know it's just a funky quirk on the utility - My temps are way down too never get higher then 57c-59c...

Waaaaay down the road I will get two MSI twin Frozr's GTX470 in about a year or so -

Again Major props for taking the time out to do this!
a c 171 Î Nvidia
November 21, 2010 7:53:43 AM

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