XFX GTX260 XXX SLI ReviewZertz - December 12, 2008
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This pair of GTX260s coming from XFX is nothing short of impressive. They feature an awesome looking heatsink and the bundle it comes with is all you need to get started - a couple adapters as well as the award winning Call of Duty 4. This is also the latest version of the 260, equipped with 216 processing cores and each of those are clocked to 640MHz, which is 64MHz over the standard edition. That's better than nothing, but since I just cannot settle with factory settings I, of course, overclocked these cards as much as it could. I was able to take the cores to 732MHz, which is pretty decent headroom. Obviously, the GTX260 is a very good performer, but as you have seen, a pair of them in SLI performs even better. The twins won every single benchmark of our suite except for Futuremark's 3DMark06 which, for some reason, has always performed better on ATI video cards. Saying it destroyed every other card wouldn't be entirely true though. At resolutions under 1920x1200, performance wasn't that far above other competing cards and scaling was often poor, especially at stock settings. However, once I started benching at 1920x1200, while the other cards performance started dipping, this setup stayed up there. They always delivered very playable framerates and that's to be expected considering the money this setup will take out of your pockets. A pair of those will likely cost a bit less than a 4870X2 and provide a performance increase anywhere from 5% to 10% in most games.
Now let's get through the cons, because, yes, there are some. Price is somewhat of an issue, although if you are even considering buying more than one video card, money is most likely not a huge problem. Graphic cards are the hottest running component in a modern enthusiast computer so when you put two of them side by side things tend to get hot. They climbed up to about 80 Celsius, which, although not life threatening, isn't anywhere near cool. Something that has always been an issue with multiple cards working together is scaling. Most of us are aware that adding a second card won't double performance for various reasons, but it also won't necessarily increase it by a steady percentage. Comparing those XXX cards to the slightly higher clocked Black Edition led to anywhere between 0% and, at best, with both the video card and the processor overclocked, an 80% increase.
Overall, that was really an awesome pair of cards to have on the test bench. If you can afford it, this is definitely a great choice as far as performance goes. You should be aware that this kind of graphic processing power needs a very powerful processor to be able to show off all it has under the hood since, even with a 3.2GHz quad core, some games were still bottlenecked at a set framerate. Gaming at high resolution with all the eye candy turned on was a tremendously pleasant experience that simply can't be offered by a single GPU.
- Free game
- Unpredictable scaling