Nvidia GeForce GTX 260/280 Review

GTX 280 or GTX 260?

With 30% more floating-point calculating power and 27% more memory bandwidth, the theoretical gap between the two new Nvidia cards is a reality. In practice, the cards are physically close to one another, and also recall the latest high-end GeForce 9s, which is a rather regrettable consequence of the generalization of the black housing Nvidia has used on all of its most recent cards. Only the large (8-cm) radial fan, still slightly tilted to direct air toward the base, and the inevitable additional power connectors emerge from it. Two six-pin PCI Express connectors or one six-pin + one eight-pin connector – that’s what your power supply will have to deal with in exchange for the privilege of installing a GeForce GTX 280 or GTX 260. But that’s nothing new, since ATI has gotten us used to those requirements in the past year with its 2900 XT.


The SLI connectors and the HDMI input, still present, are hidden behind removable inserts. The only real difference compared to a GeForce 9800 GTX is that though there are double-slots and a grille set in the bracket, part of the hot air from the cards is vented via a second grille located on the upper edge and so will get recycled into the case – which is not really good news. The size of the cards is still 10.5" (26.7 cm), which has become standard on high-end graphics cards in the past two years, and the weight is just below a kilogram at 915 g, which is lighter than the HD 3870 X2 at 940 g.


As always for very high-end cards at launch time, the Leadtek cards we received and tested for this article are in conformity with the reference design, except for a couple of the brand’s stickers on the housing. The GTX 280 box will include a game –NeverWinter Nights 2 (not necessarily very recent or a showcase for the card’s power), the DVI->VGA adapter, the HDTV cable (YUV and S-Video), two Molex-to-six-pin-PCI-Express adapters and a Molex-to-eight-pin-PCI Express adapter.

  • BadMannerKorea
  • Lunarion
    what a POS, the 9800gx2 is $150+ cheaper and performs just about the same. Let's hope the new ATI cards coming actually make a difference
  • foxhound009
    woow,.... that's the new "high end" gpu????
    lolz.. 3870 x2 wil get cheaper... and nvidia gtx200 lies on the shelves providing space for dust........
    (I really expectede mmore from this one... :/ )
  • thatguy2001
    Pretty disappointing. And here I was thinking that the gtx 280 was supposed to put the 9800gx2 to shame. Not too good.
  • cappster
    Both cards are priced out of my price range. Mainstream decently priced cards sell better than the extreme high priced cards. I think Nvidia is going to lose this round of "next gen" cards and price to performance ratio to ATI. I am a fan of whichever company will provide a nice performing card at a decent price (sub 300 dollars).
  • njalterio
    Very disappointing, and I had to laugh when they compared the prices for the GTX 260 and the GTX 280, $450 and $600, calling the GTX 260 "nearly half the price" of the GTX 280. Way to fail at math. lol.
  • NarwhaleAu
    It is going to get owned by the 4870x2. In some cases the 3870x2 was quicker - not many, but we are talking 640 shaders total vs. 1600 total for the 4870x2.
  • MooseMuffin
    Loud, power hungry, expensive and not a huge performance improvement. Nice job nvidia.
  • compy386
    This should be great news for AMD. The 4870 is rumored to come in at 40% above the 9800GTX so that would put it at about the 260GTX range. At $300 it would be a much better value. Plus AMD was expecting to price it in the $200s so even if it hits low, AMD can lower the price and make some money.
  • vochtige
    i think i'll get a 8800ultra. i'll be safe for the next 5 generations of nvidia! try harder nv crew