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HARDWARE

AMD Radeon R7 260X 2013

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A rebrand of a card no-one really wanted. Can a new name change that?

Surely you know what to expect by now? AMD gives a card a new naming convention, everyone hopes it’s a brand new GPU and then everyone is disappointed because it’s the same thing people have been buying all year. Just as the R9 280X is essentially the HD 7970 GHz and the R9 270X is the HD 7870 GHz, so the R7 260X is simply a very lightly tweaked HD 7790.

Apparently I’m not allowed to just leave the rest of this page blank – leaving you to doodle over the white space, designing your own Steam Machine and such – so I’ll suck it down and plough through this stuff one more time.

The GPU inside the R7 260 is practically the same Bonaire XT GPU that packed out the rather uninspiring HD 7790. It’s got the same 896 core count and the same number of ROPs and aggregate memory bus as well. What’s changed is a slightly higher clockspeed in terms of both the actual graphics processor and the attached video memory too, and, oh, I don’t know, another X onto the codename of the GPU so it sounds more ‘Xtreme’.

Description: D:\Dropbox\Typing\Final\2014\Mar\Dat fix loi\HTML\Error\Tech_Amd_Radeon_R7_260X_2013_files\image001.jpg
AMD gives a card a new naming convention, everyone hopes it’s a brand new GPU and then everyone is disappointed because it’s the same thing people have been buying all year.

If you were hoping the extra 100MHz on the GPU and the up-clocked memory might deliver a performance boost over the 2GB HD 7790, you’ll be disappointed. Still, that version of the Bonaire XT is tough to track down, which makes the R7 260X AMD’s top card at this price point.

This isn’t really a bad thing: AMD is simply rebranding its GPU stack to make room for its new Hawaii cards, so it’s practically a like-for-like switch – you’re not getting any extra performance with the new naming convention, but you’re also not having to pay any extra for the ‘new’ card either. I wonder how many times that word has been surrounded in quotation marks across the myriad reviews of AMD’s latest range? Still, it’s a shame AMD isn’t pushing the price down, getting the Bonaire XTX below $165.4 – it’s been hovering around there since its release back in March.

Description: D:\Dropbox\Typing\Final\2014\Mar\Dat fix loi\HTML\Error\Tech_Amd_Radeon_R7_260X_2013_files\image002.jpg
That version of the Bonaire XT is tough to track down, which makes the R7 260X AMD’s top card at this price point.

Big bad boost

The problem for the R7 260X isn’t the rebranding fatigue some of us are experiencing, robbing us of the customary excitement we glean from a new graphics card release. Oh no, the big problem comes from the traditional Nvidia-based competition. In this segment, it’s the excellent GTX 650 Ti Boost that’s causing the R7 260X to shed silicon tears of frustration.

Right now, you can pick up the Boost for $182 at Scan, and because it’s made from the same building blocks as the GTX 660 – sans a few CUDA cores – it delivers gaming performance well in advance of the R7 260X’s. Only the CoH 2 benchmark gives the AMD card any respite, with our other gaming benchmarks the Boost card takes a sometimes considerable lead. At this level, the benefits of Nvidia’s GeForce Experience really come to the fore – AMD’s riposte isn’t anywhere near as powerful just yet.

Description: D:\Dropbox\Typing\Final\2014\Mar\Dat fix loi\HTML\Error\Tech_Amd_Radeon_R7_260X_2013_files\image003.jpg
Only the CoH 2 benchmark gives the AMD card any respite, with our other gaming benchmarks the Boost card takes a sometimes considerable lead.

The R7 260X’s problems are nothing to do with the rebrand, so we’d be in the same vessel if it had left it with the HD 7790 sticker. It simply doesn’t deliver enough performance to hold its own in this segment, and that’s that.

 

 

Vital Statistics

 

·         Price: $182

·         Manufacturer: AMD

·         GPU Bonaire: XTX

·         Clockspeed: 1,100MHz

·         Radeon cores: 896

·         Memory: 2GB GDDR5

·         Memory speed: 1,625MHz

·         Memory bus: 128-bit


 
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