AMD Radeon R7 260 1GB Graphics Card Review
The last few months have been pretty busy on the AMD front with the rebranding of some older GPUs mixed with the launch of new ones… and a CPU or two in there also. One of the more interesting launches from that time was the R7 260X, a product which offered a good balance of price and performance.
In mid-January AMD and their partners will begin retailing the R7 260, a part designed to take on the GTX 650 Ti from NVIDIA. Today they are allowing reviews/previews of the reference model and so in this article we find out how they compare in some of the latest games including Battlefield 4 and Batman: Arkham Origins.
The Reference R7 260
Expect to see a decent variation of retail cards when the R7 260 hits eShelves next month… especially varied in the cooling used. In terms of the reference card AMD use a black PCB for their R7 260 and attach to it a basic dual slot cooler with plastic shroud. Turning the card round we can see there are no memory modules on the back and while a CrossFire connector is present this card will work without the bridge.
For outputs AMD go for Dual-Link DVI, HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2 connector. On the face of things this would mean setups such as 3-Screen 5760×1080 Eyefinity however this card, like some other 200 series products, also has the ability to take advantage of MST hubs which split the single DisplayPort connector into three. As with other recent cards we can also get a 2nd DVI from the HDMI without the need for an active convertor and the HDMI output is capable of 4K output. A single 6-pin power connector is required for this card and it uses approximately 95w at load.
Looking at the key specifications the reference model has a core which peaks at 1000MHz and 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1500MHz. For the Stream processors AMD have gone for a 768 "core" design and our memory bus is 128-bit. PCIe 3.0, DirectX 11.2 and DirectCompute are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content and the card can output 7.1 audio over HDMI including DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.
The 260 also adds AMD TrueAudio which is also present in 290X/260X. 280X/270X don’t support TrueAudio and to be fair current games don’t take advantage of it either. For that we need to wait on some upcoming titles and when utilised the TrueAudio tech takes the gaming audio processing task away from our CPU, uses graphics card resources to provide more advanced audio effects (such as improved virtual surround sound), and then passes it to our output device.
Using Thief, one of the first TrueAudio titles as an example of how the tech impacts game development the above slides show what Yves Breton, EIDOS Montreal’s Lead Sound Designer had to say.