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Test Setup And Benchmarks

AMD Radeon R7 260 Review: The Bonaire GPU Rides Again
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AMD announced its Radeon R7 260 in December of last year, and we were excited about a $110 Radeon HD 7770 replacement. Almost two months later, one model is available on Newegg for $140. Today, we're testing the card and pondering its curious position.

We'll compare the Radeon R7 260 to a wide range of cards from $80 to $140; we want a good overview of the budget-oriented marketplace. All of our benchmarks are run at 1920x1080 to show how AMD's latest handles Full HD.


Test System
CPU
Intel Core i5-2550K (Sandy Bridge), Overclocked to 4.2 GHz @ 1.3 V
Motherboard
Asus P8Z77-V LX.
LGA 1155, Chipset: Intel Z77M
Networking
On-Board Gigabit LAN controller
Memory
Corsair Performance Memory, 4 x 4 GB, 1866 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-24-1T
Graphics
XFX Radeon R7 250 GDDR5
1000/1050 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1150 MHz (4600 MT/s)

Reference AMD Radeon HD 7750

800 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHz (4500 MT/s)

Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770
1000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHz (4500 MT/s)

Gigabyte Radeon R7 260
1000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1500 MHz (6000 MT/s)

Reference Radeon R7 260X
1100 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1625 MHz (6500 MT/s)

Reference Nvidia GT 640
900 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 891 MHz (1782 MT/s)

Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 650

1058 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 1250 MHz (5000 MT/s)

Reference Nvidia GTX 650 Ti
925 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 1350 MHz (5400 MT/s)
Hard Drive
Samsung 840 Pro, 256 GB SSD, SATA 6Gb/s
Power
XFX PRO850W, ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
DirectX
DirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.5, Nvidia GeForce 332.21 WHQL

We've almost completely eliminated mechanical storage in the lab, and instead lean on solid-state drives to alleviate I/O-related bottlenecks. Samsung sent all of our offices 256 GB 840 Pros, so we standardize on these exceptional SSDs.

Naturally, discrete graphics cards require a substantial amount of stable power, so XFX sent along its PRO850W 80 PLUS Bronze-certified power supply. This modular PSU employs a single +12 V rail rated for 70 A. XFX claims that this unit provides 850 W of continuous power (not peak) at 50 degrees Celsius (a higher temperature than you'll find inside most enclosures).

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Metro: Last Light
Version 1.0.0.14, Built-in Benchmark
Grid 2
Version 1.8.85.8679, Built-in Benchmark Scene D6
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Version 1.05, Custom THG Benchmark, 40-Sec
Battlefield 4
Version 1.0.0.1, Custom THG Benchmark, 90-Sec
BioShock Infinite
Version 1.1.24.21018, Built-in Benchmark
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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    mapesdhs , February 6, 2014 12:59 AM

    If the price difference is so small compared to the 260X, why would anyone
    bother with the 260? Skip a couple of beers and get a 260X. An utterly
    unnecessary product IMO, it's just making use of dies that couldn't make the
    grade for higher models.

    Also, it's sad that we don't see single-slot cards anymore.

    Ian.

  • 14 Hide
    Novuake , February 6, 2014 12:13 AM
    Mildly frustrating the HD 7790 is not included. Since its bonaire too? You know, the apples with apples concept?:/
Other Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Novuake , February 6, 2014 12:13 AM
    Mildly frustrating the HD 7790 is not included. Since its bonaire too? You know, the apples with apples concept?:/
  • 8 Hide
    Herr_Koos , February 6, 2014 12:51 AM
    Why is the R7 260 called the "HD260" in your graphs?
  • 14 Hide
    mapesdhs , February 6, 2014 12:59 AM

    If the price difference is so small compared to the 260X, why would anyone
    bother with the 260? Skip a couple of beers and get a 260X. An utterly
    unnecessary product IMO, it's just making use of dies that couldn't make the
    grade for higher models.

    Also, it's sad that we don't see single-slot cards anymore.

    Ian.

  • 5 Hide
    heydol , February 6, 2014 1:37 AM
    It will be fun to se those 260/260x compared to new gtx 750/ti !
  • 3 Hide
    rdc85 , February 6, 2014 1:43 AM
    I'm agreed with the review,I think in their perspective the 7770 still selling well, there no rush to put 260 out...putting it out at 110~120 will cannibalize the 7770...
  • 0 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , February 6, 2014 4:02 AM
    Hmmm... I don't really know where I stand on this one. I suppose I want to see what happens when the market forces of supply and demand start having an effect on the price, otherwise, I think it's a pretty decent card but just TOO close to the 260X which may be the one I'd choose if I were looking for a card in that league. I'm getting my GTX 760 at month-end finally, so this is not going to turn my head or change my plans...
  • 3 Hide
    ubercake , February 6, 2014 4:29 AM
    That 260x seems like a decent value. The 260 not so much.
  • 1 Hide
    vertexx , February 6, 2014 4:33 AM
    So now add the R7 250x into the mix, and you have quite a mess in this segment....
  • 9 Hide
    ddpruitt , February 6, 2014 5:16 AM
    Great review, especially given what it's competing at in the same price range. It's interesting that AMD isn't pushing vendors to differentiate the products a bit more and get rid of the 7770s to allow more room for the R260s to breath. However...
    Quote:
    Naturally, discrete graphics cards require a substantial amount of stable power, so XFX sent along its PRO850W 80 PLUS Bronze-certified power supply. This modular PSU employs a single +12 V rail rated for 70 A. XFX claims that this unit provides 850 W of continuous power

    Statements like this are what's causing Watt inflation and the myth that you need a dedicated transformer to run a PC. The review itself points out that system wattage is less than a quarter of the max continuous wattage. I think it's a serious disservice to constantly repeat this statement when it's clearly not true. At the very least it should be rewritten a bit.
  • 5 Hide
    vertexx , February 6, 2014 5:30 AM
    Quote:

    Also, it's sad that we don't see single-slot cards anymore.


    I agree - that would be one way AMD could differentiate with some of these models is to have one or two designed to be single-slot and/or low profile. That would add some reason for this insanity.
  • 0 Hide
    gxpbecker , February 6, 2014 5:53 AM
    i would imagine they are trying to push/clear out the stock of 7770/90s first.
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , February 6, 2014 6:36 AM
    I agree with the article. At the right price, this could be a real sweet-spot card. At these prices, it makes more sense to either move up, or settle for less, depending on budget.
    I definitely agree with ddpruitt about the PSU boilerplate in this article. A system with this card would run quite nicely on a 380W Earthwatts or Seasonic G360. There's certainly nothing wrong with maintaining a testbench containing an oversized monster of a PSU, but I'd like to see articles like this call out specific PSU suggestions so people know what they need for the card under review. I don't think a power-usage graph is enough for newbs who may not realize there aren't other usage cases where the card needs more.
  • 0 Hide
    average joe , February 6, 2014 6:43 AM
    This card makes sense to me. It replaces the 7770 for the R series. it performes a little faster just like the r260x replaces the 7790 and performes a little faster. however they priced it higher at the moment to let the vendors sell off the old packaging.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , February 6, 2014 6:43 AM
    Dissipating 80W in a single slot would be quite a challenge. With the last single-slot GPU I had, I ended up putting an IO slot exhaust blower in the next slot because the GPU's fan would get too loud on its own.There isn't much point in insisting on a single-slot GPU if it ends up being unbearably loud.
  • -1 Hide
    average joe , February 6, 2014 6:44 AM
    the 7770 is a better value just like the 6850's were the better value when the 7850's were first coming out.
  • 1 Hide
    Yuka , February 6, 2014 6:48 AM
    Why no Low Profile Dual slot card, Asus? WHY?! Cheers! :p 
  • 9 Hide
    kenh536 , February 6, 2014 6:50 AM
    Really toms.... pop up ads for your articles that take up a massive portion of the page and follow you down AND ARE UNCLOSABLE?! Way too intrusive, NOT COOL.
  • -1 Hide
    Novuake , February 6, 2014 6:51 AM
    Quote:
    Really toms.... pop up ads for your articles that take up a massive portion of the page and follow you down AND ARE UNCLOSABLE?! Way too intrusive, NOT COOL.


    https://www.google.co.za/search?q=adblock&oq=adbl&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.2978j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=adblock
  • 0 Hide
    average joe , February 6, 2014 7:13 AM
    The 7790 hardware supports true audio or whatever it's called as well. AMD disables it's support for it in the driver. That'll change probably I don't think they are that cynical yet.. Fixed sorry!!
  • -1 Hide
    InvalidError , February 6, 2014 7:49 AM
    Quote:
    The 7770 hardware supports true audio or whatever it's called as well. AMD disables it's support for it in the driver. That'll change probably I don't think they are that cynical yet..

    They have to give people reasons to pay the $10-50 extra to upsale from HD77xx to R7-260(X) so I doubt they will change their mind about the software disable. Many AMD CPUs, GPUs and APUs are artificially fused off or otherwise locked to lower specs simply to meet demand for lower cost bins.
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