Alongside the Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X, AMD launched its entry-level Radeon R7 260X graphics card fit for visually-intensive desktops with some mild gaming thrown into the mix. The specifications of the R9 280X and R9 270X may dwarf those of the R7 260X, yet it deserves to be taken seriously from an academic standpoint. The graphics core inside the SoC that drives the Microsoft Xbox One entertainment system isn't all that different from the Radeon R7 260X, at least on paper.
Priced at $139, the Radeon R7 260X makes building gaming-ready desktops under $400 possible. It succeeds either the Radeon HD 7670 or the HD 7770, depending on how you interpret AMD's new nomenclature. The R9 290 series will succeed the HD 7900 series in the product stack. The R9 280 series succeeds the HD 7800 series (sub-$300 class) and the R9 270 series succeeds the HD 7700 series (sub-$200 class). But such an arbitrary product stack repositioning would create unreal price-performance increments at the points AMD's various HD 7000 series products launched, which is why AMD tweaked pricing a little to give buyers a different and equally valid way of looking at AMD’s new product stack by using price points.
As with the other two GPUs launched by AMD today, the Radeon R7 260X isn't based on any new silicon. It has quite a few things in common with the Radeon HD 7790 launched just this March, but differs from the HD 7790 by running higher clock speeds and double the standard memory amount. Its GPU core is clocked at 1100 MHz (compared to the 1000 MHz on the HD 7790) and memory runs at a scorching 1625 MHz (6.50 GT/s effective), which yields over 100 GB/s of memory bandwidth on even this relatively narrow 128-bit wide memory bus. The bandwidth is then comparable to what GDDR5-enabled GPUs with 256-bit wide interfaces managed before the 4 GT/s GDDR5 era. The other big difference is in its memory amount: it is now at 2 GB as opposed to the 1 GB on the HD 7790. Based on the 28 nm "Bonaire" silicon, the Radeon R7 260X features 896 stream processors based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture, 56 texture memory units (TMUs), and 16 raster operations units (ROPs).
In this review, we put an AMD Radeon R7 260X reference design through its paces.
GTX 650 Ti
|GeForce GTX |
650 Ti Boost
GTX 660 Ti
|Graphics Processor||Cape Verde||GK106||Barts||Bonaire||Pitcairn||Bonaire||GK106||GK106||Pitcairn||GF110||Pitcairn||GK104||GK104|
|Memory Size||1024 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB||1024 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||1536 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB|
|Memory Bus Width||128 bit||128 bit||256 bit||128 bit||256 bit||128 bit||192 bit||192 bit||256 bit||384 bit||256 bit||192 bit||256 bit|
|Core Clock||1000 MHz||925 MHz||900 MHz||1000 MHz||860 MHz||1100 MHz||980 MHz+||980 MHz+||1000 MHz||772 MHz||1050 MHz||915 MHz+||980 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||1125 MHz||1350 MHz||1050 MHz||1500 MHz||1200 MHz||1625 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz||1200 MHz||1002 MHz||1400 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz|
Packaging & ContentsWe only received a card from AMD. Retail products will include the usual accessories, like driver CD and adapters.
AMD's reference design cooler is simple, but follows the new style we've seen on the new Radeons.
Installation requires two slots in your system.
Display connectivity options include two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. You may use all outputs at the same time, so triple-monitor surround gaming is possible with one card.
The GPU also includes an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 1.4a compatible, which includes HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies support.
The CrossFire connector allows you to combine up to two R7 260X cards in a CrossFire configuration.
Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods, etc., please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.
A Closer Look
The heatsink uses a very basic, cost-effective design that works without any heatpipes or a fancy copper base.
AMD has also added a little heatsink that cools the voltage regulation circuitry to the card.
The card requires a single 6-pin PCI-Express power connector. This configuration is good for up to 150 W of power draw.
The R7 260X uses the same GPU as the HD 7790, and NCP81022 controller specifically designed to handle the dynamic clock algorithm in the Bonaire GPU. The controller supports I2C monitoring, and voltage control is also possible.
The GDDR5 memory chips are made by SK Hynix and carry the model number H5GQ2H24MFR-R2C. They are specified to run at 1750 MHz (7000 MHz GDDR5 effective).
AMD's Bonaire graphics processor is built on a 28 nm process at TSMC, Taiwan. It uses 2.08 billion transistors on a die size of 160 mm².
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