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Nvidia GeForce GTX 260/280 Review

The Test

For this test, we used our reference configuration, and as usual tested the games exclusively with Fraps and under real gaming conditions. Most of the games used previously were used again, and updated as always (with the latest patches installed), but two new items have been included: Mass Effect, the space opera RPG by Bioware, which despite its Xbox 360 origins has been successfully ported and which we felt we simply had to use (also since it fills the gap left in our protocol since we dropped Fable). There’s also Race Driver: GRID, which despite its interface, is still a tester’s nightmare (like the earlier Colin McRae Dirt from the same publisher, Codemasters). The title is also visually very attractive and inaugurates the latest version of the Ego Engine.

All the synthetic DirectX 9 tests were run under Windows XP because of their instability under Vista (Fillrate Tester, RightMark 1050, ShaderMark 2.1 and SPECviewperf 10). RightMark 3D 2.0 (DirectX 10) was of course run under Windows Vista (without SP1 due to its instability with it), and Vista SP1 was used for all the games, CUDA tests, environmental measurements and overclocking. UAC, Aero, SuperFetch and indexing were disabled to ensure stable results.

We used only two resolutions for this test, 1920*1200 (24/26"), and of course the 2560*1600 used by 30" monitors – in this case a Samsung 305T. That’s because we feel that they’re the only two resolutions this type of very-high-end card will be running. Below them (up to 22"), you wouldn’t need to cough up the price of this breed of 3D card to get a good, fluid display on the majority of current games, as we noted during our latest tests

Plateforme.jpgTest configuration:

  • Asus P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38)
  • Intel Core 2 Quad QX6850 (3 GHz)
  • Crucial 2 x 1 GB DDR3 1333 MHz 7-7-7-20
  • Western Digital WD5000AAKS
  • Asus 12x DVD player
  • Cooler Master RealPower Pro 850W
  • Windows XP, Vista, Vista SP1
  • ForceWare 177.34 beta (GTX 260 and GTX 280 under Vista)
  • ForceWare 177.26 beta (GTX 280 under XP)
  • ForceWare 175.16 WHQL (9800 GTX, 9800 GX2, 8800 Ultra)
  • Catalyst 8.5 WHQL (HD 3870 X2)
  • BadMannerKorea
    FIRST OMFG NVIDIA pwns!
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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... :/ )
    Reply
  • thatguy2001
    Pretty disappointing. And here I was thinking that the gtx 280 was supposed to put the 9800gx2 to shame. Not too good.
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • MooseMuffin
    Loud, power hungry, expensive and not a huge performance improvement. Nice job nvidia.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • vochtige
    i think i'll get a 8800ultra. i'll be safe for the next 5 generations of nvidia! try harder nv crew
    Reply