Gigabyte GeForce GTX 260 (SP216) SO

Honestly .. seriously honestly I did not expect to review any more GeForce GTX 260 cards after the incredible amount of reviews we already posted on them in the past year or so. But NVIDIA is very late to the market with their upcoming DX11 class products and as such the NVIDIA board and card partners are drastically looking at ways to keep selling and refreshing the current lineup. One of the things that is receiving a lot of attention these days are overclocking, overclock competitions and products based on that theme -- as such Gigabyte technology is releasing their SO series of graphics cards, short for Super Overclocked.

Today we'll test their all new GeForce GTX 260 (SP216) SO -- it comes with an Ultra durable design (long-lasting components) and as the title already suggests .. a pretty  nice overclock -- making this product faster than say a GeForce GTX 275.

According to Gigabyte each GPU for this graphics card is cherry-picked for top performance, power efficiency and reliability using something that Gigabyte calls GPU Gantlet Sorting Process. Using advanced technical selection with combined with Ultra Durable VGA boards these boards should be top of the line.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 260 iChill Accelero XXX review | test

Product: GeForce GTX 260 iChill Accelero XXX
Manufacturer: Inno3D - iChill edition SP216
SKU code: C2603X-M5LTCDS
Information: Inno3D
Street price: $200

One of the companies out there in that big hardware market involved in cooling solutions is Arctic cooling. Personally I consider them to be in the top three of cooling manufacturers, ranking with names such as Zalman.

It is for that reason that we always get a little thrilled once we hear them announce new products. A week or two ago they announced two new VGA coolers. Among them a new Accelero XTREME GTX cooler, designated for the nVIDIA GeForce GTX 260/280/285.

Main features

  • Extreme cooling performance - up to 250 Watts
  • 3 ultra quiet 92mm PWM fans with low noise impeller
  • Efficient heat dissipation via 5 heatpipes
  • Patented fan holder eliminates the buzzing sounds
  • RAM and voltage regulator cooling
  • Pre-applied MX-2
  • SLI compatible

The Accelero XTREME GTX coolers are equipped with no less than three 92mm PWM fans that run from 1,000 to 2,000 RPM. Together with five heatpipes, the Accelero XTREME GTX 280 achieves 250 Watt cooling capacity. And that's roughly 31°C lower than NVIDIA's reference cooler. Interesting eh ?

Then another favorite company of mine is Inno3D. This Asian company certainly has shown muscle and innovation when it comes to graphics cards over the past few years. Often they surprise me with original products. And that's just so good, to be original and diversify yourself in this market. So when two of my favorite companies combine forces ..  the outcome just can not disappoint.

Inno3D released a GeForce GTX 260 iChill edition with AC Accelero GTX cooler. The product will be available in really small volume, but in advance .. if you are into this ... run to the stores now.

The card is the SP216 version, an updated 55nm GPU based GeForce GTX 260. The 216SP versions, obviously referring to the 216 shader processors that are active and crunching data for you in that GPU, which is 24 shader processors more than the regular GTX 260.

The card has a 620Mz for the core clock frequency and 2,100MHz on the memory. Despite the mammoth looks and size of this cooling solution, we were so impressed. Anyway, have a peek at the product and then browse onward to the next page where we'll startup the review.

Six Top 10 games with GeForce GTX 260 Core 216

Christmas is coming up and the entire VGA pricing model typically shifts a little prior to it. Two products that I personally can recommend very much for that wish list or under that Christmas tree are both the Radeon HD 4870 1024MB and the GeForce GTX 260 (Core 216 preferably). I both like these graphics rendering goblins as they are both located in an affordable price range, both have a lot of raw rendering power and both have a lot of memory, something that is becoming increasingly important with DirectX 10 games as we noticed often lately.

So over the past couple of weeks some interesting stuff has happened really, the Radeon dropped in price and can now be found for as little as 269 USD. NVIDIA a while ago also dropped their pricing model and the GTX 260 Core 216 version is also below 300 USD but... a little birdie told me that prices on this card are going to drop this week as well, maybe even below that Radeon HD 4870 1024MB. yeah, it would be a head on head attack from NVIDIA against ATI.

And granted, the history is pretty interesting when you follow this kind of stuff. Let's place the two products in a little historical perspective:

  • NVIDIA released GeForce GTX 260
  • ATI Released the 4870 512MB
  • NVIDIA dropped pricing model
  • Then NVIDIA answered with the GTX 260 Core 216
  • ATI answered with a 1024 MB model of the 4870
  • NVIDIA now answers with pricing model, big bang drivers and "old" GTX 260 going EOL.

As you can notice, there's a bit of a skirmish going on between the two companies. This week NVIDIA is launching another driver in their Big Bang series, which might be considered as a small innuendo towards pr0n for geeks I guess. The interesting part is that the driver, next to the recently added PhysX features and Multi-monitor SLI gaming options, offers a pretty good performance increase.

Now the tale goes like this; when the GTX 260 core 216 was released, we got a phone call from ATI, asking if we'd like to do an article on the Radeon HD 4870 1024 MB comparing it with the GTX 260 C216. And sure, why not.  Then with the new driver being released this week, we got a phone call from NVIDIA, asking if we would like to do such a direct comparison article. And we figured... sure, that's fair enough. More power to consumers... wooooah.

There is however going to be one difference from Guru3D's side, I want only the absolutely newest gaming titles in the test, and we need them to be top 10 title games. Where possible we'll flick on the high image quality settings, DX10, 4x AA and high anisotropic filtering. Now since we do not want to be CPU limited whatsoever we'll be testing on the new Core i7 965 @ 3750 MHz / X58 platform.

So the games we'll be using are the following six top 10 titles:

  • Far Cry 2
  • Dead Space
  • Fallout 3
  • Call of Duty 5: World at War
  • Crysis WARHEAD
  • Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway

So yes, that's six games as we decided to throw in another title at the last moment that you can find in the most top 10 PC charts lists at this very moment. The rules are simple, each card will be configured exactly the same... each game will be configured exactly the same, our test system... is configured exactly the same. All in all it's crunch time, mano el mano... let's the games commence.

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Posted by ralfowen