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Leadtek WinFast GTX 260 EXTREME+ in SLI

Leadtek has labeled its GTX 260 as being extreme. We take the time to find out if it truly deserves that title.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Feb 26 2009 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Leadtek

Introduction


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card



The GTX 260 has quickly become one of those confusing models. We had the card originally launch in June of 2008 and towards the end of last year word came of an updated model that would carry with it 216 shader processors over the original 192 we saw at launch.

Later on we heard more rumors that the card was going to move to 55nm technology; the only problem is that across this whole process the name of the card has never changed. This is no doubt a pain since NVIDIA has also renamed a number of other cards that haven't had a single change.

Today we're going to be looking at the Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+. While the card doesn't carry the new 55nm core, it does carry the upgraded shader processors. Before we get stuck into the performance of the card, though, let's take the time to have a quick look at the package along with a closer look at the card and the clocks it carries. Hopefully the card will warrant the Extreme name tag, so let's not delay and get stuck into it.

The Package




Looking at the front of the box, we can see that the same box design is being used as we've seen for a while now. Across the top of the box we can see the Leadtek logo along with a couple of others. The middle of the box is taken up mainly by a picture of a robot, while to the right we have a sticker that makes mention of the card being overclocked. It also makes note that it's a 216 stream processor version.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Across the bottom of the box we have the model along with a picture of it. Down the very bottom we also have some of the main features listed that are present on the card, such as DirectX 10 support, PCI Express 2.0 and more.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Turning the box over, we have a picture of the card along with some notes on the main features. We can see towards the bottom what's included in the box and to the right of that we can see some of the specifications on the card. The back of the box is actually quite informative and has a lot of useful information, which is good to see.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Moving inside the package, as far as paperwork goes we have a quick installation guide and alongside that we also have a driver CD. Finally, Leadtek has taken the time to include a full version copy of Neverwinter Nights 2 as well.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


As far as cables go, we have everything we need; two molex to 6-pin PCI Express connectors, S/PDIF loop-back cable, TV-Out dongle, DVI-to-VGA and DVI-to-HDMI connectors.

The Card




With the package out of the way, it's now time to have a look at the card itself. We don't really see anything that we haven't seen before as far as the overall heatsink design goes.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek has of course added its own flavor to the cooler with a sticker. On the fan we can see the brand and the model, while the rest of the card is taken up with a sticker of a robot warrior.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Looking around the card, we continue to see nothing out of the ordinary. Towards the back of the card we have two 6-Pin PCI Express power connectors. Moving closer to the front of the card we have our two SLI connectors which give us the ability to run up to three of these bad boys together.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Finally, moving to the I/O side of things we find two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a TV-Out port. We also have some exhaust holes that help let the hot air escape from the card and out the back of the system.


Specifications

Carrying the Extreme tag, it doesn't come as any surprise that the GTX 260 from Leadtek comes overclocked out of the box. The core has been moved from the stock 576MHz to a healthier 602MHz.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


The 896MB of GDDR3 memory has also been increased from 1998MHz to a nice sounding 2214MHz. And finally, the shader clock has been moved from 1242MHz to 1296MHz.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: Catalyst 9.1, ForceWare 182.06


Since we're fortunate enough to have two of these cards with us today, we will be taking the time to see how they perform not only in single card form, but also in SLI.

As for comparisons, we will be seeing how the card goes against the new top card from NVIDIA, the GTX 295, which is essentially two GTX 260s on a single card. We'll also take the time to see how the single and dual-card setup compares against the HD 4870 and HD 4870 X2 from ATI.

So without further ado, let's get the benchmarks rolling.


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


The Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ performs well straight out of the gate compared to the HD 4870. With a second installed, performance jumps considerably higher again, offering the performance of a single GTX 295.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


We again see the GTX 260 from Leadtek perform well and adding a second one sees good gains at the higher resolution under PT Boats.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Under CINEBENCH we see the ATI offerings win out here. We also see that when adding a second card into the mix, this yields no performance increase, which isn't a surprise since CINEBENCH doesn't make use of the second GPU.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Compared to the HD 4870, the Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ performs very well. We again see when adding a second card the performance is on the upside with the best gains seen at the higher resolution.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


We continue to see the Leadtek offering perform well. Again, though, adding a second card yields some excellent performance gains with Warhead becoming playable at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Looking at the intensive Far Cry 2, we can see the GTX 260 continues to perform extremely well. Moving to SLI sees us some excellent gains once again with a very impressive 50 FPS minimum being seen at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Clear Sky has always favored the ATI offerings and here is no different. With the second card installed we see some good gains, but in this case we see the ATI HD 4870 X2 comes out ahead.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Left 4 Dead shows the GTX 260 and HD 4870 performing very close to each other. When we look at the SLI results we find the best performance increase is again seen at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


Far Cry 2

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


With the detail cranked right up we see the NVIDIA offerings really shine. If you really want to play at this detail, though, you'll want to add the second card as it manages to smash that 30 FPS minimum we love to see.


World In Conflict

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Under WIC we see the GTX 260 again offering some very good performance. Adding a second card into the mix does increase performance and takes it above that 30 FPS minimum we like, but the gain on a whole isn't great here.


Left 4 Dead

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Left 4 Dead gets a good jump with the second card added, while the single card performance sits just ahead of the HD 4870.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Under XP we see that the best performance gains are seen at the highest resolution when moving to SLI. In single card form we see at the higher resolution the GTX 260 EXTREME+ performs well against the HD 4870.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Like our Vista tests, we see the GTX 260 again perform very well against the HD 4870. Looking at the SLI setup, we also see some very good gains with Far Cry 2 being playable at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky - XP


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Again we see some excellent performance gains with the second card added into the mix. Under Clear Sky, however, we again see that the ATI offerings do have the edge here.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


The Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ manages to run the coolest out of the cards we have here, which is good news.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Noise levels sit around the middle of the pack with it being a bit quieter than the GTX 295, but a little louder than the ATI offerings.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.


Leadtek GTX 260 EXTREME+ Graphics Card


Power levels on the single card setup are the lowest when compared to the others. Adding the second card into the mix, however, does draw a far bit more power under load, which isn't really a surprise.

Final Thoughts




The GTX 260 continues to pack a lot of punch and really does compete well against the HD 4870, which for the moment is ATIs top single GPU solution. The GTX 260 is going to set you back about another $50 (or roughly 25%) and we have to ask if it's worth paying the extra for.

The answer to that one is simple. If you have the money, it really is. For the most part we see the card run extremely well compared to the HD 4870 and continuously offers a nice boost in performance.

What about the Leadtek version; is it Extreme? - Well, for the most part it's pretty impressive. The out-of-the-box clocks are nice and the bundle that Leadtek has put together is pretty impressive as well. Slap two of the cards together and you really have a system that's going to fly along.

The GTX 260 is an excellent card and the Leadtek version with its decent overclock and good bundle make it stand out from the crowd. If you find yourself looking for a GTX 260 and want something that packs a bit more punch than the stock clocked model, or if simply find yourself wanting a nice little bundle, keep an eye out for the Leadtek offering.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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