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Value In SLI? GTX 260 Core 216 Vs. GTX 280

Benchmark Results: First Person Shooters

At $2,500, $1,250, and $625, our System Builder Marathon machines were designed to game at 1920x1200, 1680x1050, and 1280x1024 resolutions. Even though we didn’t build for the 30” display market, we still tested our $2,500 3-way SLI configuration at 2560x1600 pixels to compare it against a former SBM system. The 2560x1600 results have been carried over into today’s 3-way GTX 260 versus 2-way GTX 280 SBM update.

Our 3-way SLI configuration wouldn’t even run Crysis at 2560x1600 pixels with very high settings and AA enabled, but the 2-way GTX 280’s does it so slowly that the results at this high setting are meaningless. At resolutions up to 1920x1200, the 3-way GTX 260’s show remarkably improved performance. (Ed.: If you remember back to our GeForce GTX 295 Preview, the same Crysis problem plagued that card as well--Nvidia has confirmed that this is a driver issue and not some artifact of running a trio of GTX 260s, as we've seen suggested).

Two GTX 280s beat three Core 216 GTX 260s in UT3, but both solutions are so fast that the game doesn’t even need SLI to be playable at its highest settings.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.