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AMD Radeon R7 260 Review: The Bonaire GPU Rides Again

Test Setup And Benchmarks

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
CPUIntel Core i5-2550K (Sandy Bridge), Overclocked to 4.2 GHz @ 1.3 V
MotherboardAsus P8Z77-V LX. LGA 1155, Chipset: Intel Z77M
NetworkingOn-Board Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryCorsair Performance Memory, 4 x 4 GB, 1866 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-24-1T
GraphicsXFX Radeon R7 250 GDDR51000/1050 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1150 MHz (4600 MT/s)Reference AMD Radeon HD 7750800 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHz (4500 MT/s)Gigabyte Radeon HD 77701000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1125 MHz (4500 MT/s)Gigabyte Radeon R7 2601000 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1500 MHz (6000 MT/s)Reference Radeon R7 260X1100 MHz GPU, 2 GB GDDR5 at 1625 MHz (6500 MT/s)Reference Nvidia GT 640900 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 891 MHz (1782 MT/s)Gigabyte Nvidia GTX 6501058 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 1250 MHz (5000 MT/s)Reference Nvidia GTX 650 Ti925 MHz GPU, 1 GB DDR3 at 1350 MHz (5400 MT/s)
Hard DriveSamsung 840 Pro, 256 GB SSD, SATA 6Gb/s
PowerXFX PRO850W, ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriversAMD 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 LightVersion 1.0.0.14, Built-in Benchmark
Grid 2Version 1.8.85.8679, Built-in Benchmark Scene D6
Assassin's Creed IV: Black FlagVersion 1.05, Custom THG Benchmark, 40-Sec
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, Custom THG Benchmark, 90-Sec
BioShock InfiniteVersion 1.1.24.21018, Built-in Benchmark
  • Novuake
    Mildly frustrating the HD 7790 is not included. Since its bonaire too? You know, the apples with apples concept?:/
    Reply
  • Herr_Koos
    Why is the R7 260 called the "HD260" in your graphs?
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    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.

    Reply
  • heydol
    It will be fun to se those 260/260x compared to new gtx 750/ti !
    Reply
  • rdc85
    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...
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    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...
    Reply
  • ubercake
    That 260x seems like a decent value. The 260 not so much.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    So now add the R7 250x into the mix, and you have quite a mess in this segment....
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    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...
    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.
    Reply
  • vertexx
    12618389 said:
    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.
    Reply