Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts
AMD did a really good job when it came to launching the R series of video cards towards the end of last year. They spread the release out well and stock wasn't too bad, but the most important thing is that AMD really managed to launch the products at an excellent price point. Looking at the cost of the cards and the performance they offered, they really put NVIDIA on the move as the company was forced to look at its pricing and adjust it accordingly.
Launching the 2GB model at $149, with a 1GB variant available in a few weeks for $139, NVIDIA has really priced the new model perfectly. It probably comes in slightly cheaper than we would actually expect. With the R7 260X 2GB coming in around the $139 to $159 mark, the new NVIDIA model sits squarely in the middle. The performance on the model is consistently superior, though, and we're not talking about an extra couple of FPS here and there.
Going through our benchmarks, we see a number of times the GTX 750 Ti 2GB manages to offer us playable FPS while the R7 260X 2GB falls short. Of course, when it comes to 2560 x 1600, a mid $100 card isn't an option. Moving down to the common 1920 x 1080 / 1200 resolution, though, you can see playable numbers under a number of games with the in-game settings maxed out. Looking at 1680 x 1050, though, we consistently see strong performance under most games. The good news is that because we do run our games at maximum in-game settings, we've really got room to move on the detail front if you're looking for some extra FPS.
Launching today, the new $149 card is ready to be picked up from your favorite computer store. At this price bracket, the new model from NVIDIA really is an excellent option. While it lacks some of the flashy features that we see on the new R series of cards from AMD, the bottom line is for the cost this card performs exceptionally well.
What it lacks in those bells and whistles that you might not be interested in, it makes up in true cost per FPS. What we're really looking forward to checking out, though, is variations from partners. We're not a huge fan of the reference cooler; it's a little small, a little ugly, and doesn't perform quite as well as we know a larger fan will. The lower power draw on the Maxwell based GPU also means that we should see some exceptional temperature numbers when it comes to non-reference cooling solutions from companies like ASUS and MSI.
If you're ready to pull the trigger on a new video card that comes in at the mid $100 bracket, this is really a great option. NVIDIA really has done a great job when it comes to the cost of the card; it's really priced perfectly, which means it's priced probably better then we'd expect. While we're sure that a 1GB variant of the card would offer us similar performance, for $10 we're not sure you'd really bother with the saving unless your budget was that tight. If you decide to sell it a little later down the track, we feel that you'd probably lose more than the $10 on the back end as people would prefer to get the 2GB version for slightly more.
As for what AMD can do now, there's really not much. The R7 260X 2GB continues to be priced well and the R series on a whole really manages to offer some great features. If you're looking for straight out bang for your buck when it comes to FPS, though, the new GTX 750 Ti 2GB from NVIDIA is a fantastic option.