Palit GTX 260 Reviewccokeman - August 20, 2008
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Performance is what we all want from the hardware purchases that we make - at least an increase in performance over the current setup that we have. This is what the Palit GTX 260 will do for you. It's not going to beat out the GTX 280, but it does hang with it at the lower resolutions. As the lower performing card in the GTX 200 deck, the GTX 260 pulls out better performance than the ATI HD 4870 in 21 out of 32 - or roughly 65% - of our benchmarks. It did tie in one, so you could say the tie goes to the runner, and make it 66% for that 2/3 majority. As a stock clocked card, the Palit GTX 260 could not be expected to win a head to head match with the GTX 280, and was beaten in just about every benchmark and resolution. It fared quite well against the overclocked GTX 260, but was still beaten in most of the benchmarks, as expected. Price-wise, the Palit GTX 260 is competitively priced at $299, but can be had for as little as $255. This price is lower than the any of HD 4870 video cards I found for sale, so this Palit GTX 260 video card even wins in the price for performance war. Something I did not think I would hear myself say, due to the aggressive pricing structure of the AMD/ATI video cards. Sweet!
When pushing the clock speeds on the Palit GTX 260, I was able to gain 128MHz on the GPU and 112MHz on the memory. Both respectable numbers in anyone's book, but I was expecting a little bit more. At those speeds though, the performance was boosted, and proved to be rock stable through an all-night Call of Duty 4 frag fest. The only way to gain more performance from the Palit GTX 260 would be to resort to extreme cooling, or you could just purchase another one or two cards to run them in an SLI configuration. Yes, I did say two more! The GTX 260, much like the GTX 280, is Tri-SLI capable, so the performance only scales up as additional cards are introduced. Of course you need a Tri-SLI capable motherboard to take advantage of this ability.
With 192 stream processors, more can be done with this graphics card than just viewing an image. The parallel computing capability of the GTX 200 series from Nvidia opens up an array of possibilities. First, you have the ability to run scientific calculations to help search for a cure for many devastating diseases. Then, there's the ability to push the load from the CPU to the GPU when encoding video, greatly reducing the time needed to complete the operation. Nvidia has steadily been releasing PhysX drivers to help increase the performance of the GTX 200 video cards. Once the really heavy PhysX-based games begin to appear, the GTX 260 will be ready. To save power, the drivers kick the card clocks way down, which in turn produces a power savings to the end user - something all of us can use in this day of outrageous energy costs. When the drivers are controlling the fan speed, the fan on the heatsink is barely audible from my chair that's two feet from the chassis. Once you ramp the speeds up to 100% manually, the fan does get quite loud. Not as loud as the hair driers on the 1900XTs I have in a drawer, but loud enough to let you know it is on and running full bore. If the case were further away or under a desk, the sound might not be as loud, but noise tolerance is always subjective. With the fan controlled by the drivers, temperatures were rarely out of the low 60's Celsius in my 21 degree Celsius cave. All things considered, the Palit GTX 260 is a winner. With the current pricing structure, it beats out the best single GPU cards in over 60% of our benchmarks, and can be purchased for less than the HD 4870. The performance for the price makes buying the Palit GTX 260 a no brainer.
- Tri-SLI capable
- PhysX Ready
- Parallel computing
- Power savings
- Video transcoding
- Fan loud at 100%