AMD Radeon R7 260X

The compact AMD Radeon R7 260X is set to launch as a low-cost graphics card. But this freshly released model isn’t as new as it may seem! In fact, with its Bonaire GPU and other familiar tech specs, it’s quite clearly a close descendent of the Radeon HD 7790. However, a couple of key details set it apart from its predecessor.

AMD Radeon R7 260X: Tech Specs

And those key details are—drum roll please—that the Radeon R7 260X gets a boosted clock speed and 2 GB rather than 1 GB of graphics memory!

The Radeon R7 260X has a Bonaire GPU with 896 processing units, 56 texture mapping units and 16 ROPs (render output units). The GPU clock speed has been boosted by 10%, upped from 1000 MHz to 1100 MHz.

The graphics memory has been doubled to 2 GB but it still uses a 128-bit bus. The memory clock has increased, rising from 1500 MHz in the Radeon HD 7790 to 1625 MHz in the R7 260X, which makes for an 8% increase.

Cooling system in the Radeon R7 260X: pretty basic stuff.

Size & Noise 4/5

The Radeon R7 260X is a small-format card measuring just 17 cm long. The onboard cooling system is pretty basic, with a circular radiator with aluminium fins and a fan placed right in the middle.

In spite of its simple design, the cooling system is very quiet when the card is idle. In fact, it can hardly be heard at all when loaded in a tower with a minimal level of noise insulation. In this respect, it’s on par with the best, most advance models. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said when the card is fired up and running games—it tends to get quite loud.

Amd radeon r7 260x noise Left: AMD Radeon R7 260X Right: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, a quieter option for gaming.

Still, it’s not too serious. The whirring of the fan certainly becomes more audible but it’s still bearable. It’s not annoyingly loud. However, given the card’s relatively low power use (see below), we would have hoped to see even quieter performances. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, for example, proved much more discreet in the same conditions.

Power Use 5/5

Power use is quite restrained when gaming, as our test PC ran on just 152 to 168 watts (for the entire PC). That’s a little more than the Radeon HD 7790 (121 to 135 watts). Plus, it’s still higher than the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which used between 135 and 141 watts in the same conditions.

With the card idle, the test PC drew 43 watts, which is slightly better than the 46 watts it used with the Nvidia model. Plus, AMD’s ZeroCore Power automatically kicks in when the screen drops onto standby, cutting out the fan and switching the card into a deep sleep mode. This pushes power use down to just 37 watts.

Performance in Games 2/5

As we saw above, the processor clock speed has only gained 10% compared with the Radeon HD 7790. It must be the 2 GB of memory that saves the day then, as the R7 260X is on average 20% faster. Compared with Nvidia’s graphics cards, the 260X falls just ahead of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GB of memory) with a gain in performance of around 10%.

Amd radeon r7 260x perfs Graphics card performance index: based on test results with seven games in 1920 x 1080 pixels with full graphics detail. Click on the graph to see all our test results and compare graphics cards in the Face-Off.

Ultimately, the Radeon R7 260X isn’t much more than a repackaged Radeon HD 7790. The GPU clock has increased a little and the video memory has doubled—but that’s all. Plus, the GPU is identical to the chip used in AMD’s previous model. At £125-£150, AMD’s R7 260X is more expensive than the HD 7790 (currently selling for just under £100) and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB. It performs as expected for a card in this price range. Our Test Card / AMD Extras The Radeon R7 260X has two DVI outs, a DisplayPort 1.2 out and a HDMI 1.4 out, (all full-sized format). The card is powered by one 6-pin PCI-E cable.

The R7 260X comes with all the usual AMD extras, including Eyefinity for working with up to four monitors and HD3D for stereoscopic 3D (although that often requires a third-party driver which comes at an extra cost). Plus, the 260X comes with TrueAudio support and a programmable audio DSP. However, games developers will need to follow AMD’s lead and built support into their games in order to get the best out of this function.

3/5 AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB DigitalVersus 2013-10-24 10:03:00

Pros

Very quiet when idle
2 GB of graphics memory

Cons

Essentially a rebranded Radeon HD 7790 2GB
Noisy when gaming
Nothing new or innovative

Conclusion

The AMD Radeon R7 260X is little more than a rebranded Radeon HD 7790 that’s gained a few MHz on its GPU clock and boosted its graphics memory to 2 GB. It’ll need to come down in price a fair bit to find true appeal in today’s market.

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