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AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB Reference Video Card Review

AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB Reference Video Card Review

AMD launch a new series of video cards today. The first we look at is the Radeon R7 260X 2GB - let's dive in and see how it does in our gaming tests.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Oct 7 2013 11:12 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 31 IMAGES

Towards the end of last month, I was fortunate enough to get flown over to Hawaii by AMD to get a peek at its upcoming line up of video cards which launch today. It was my first time to the USA and my first time ever experiencing jet lag in such an extreme way. As much fun as the event was, if it wasn't for the fact that I had to sleep every opportunity I could, it would've been a lot more fun. Fortunately it is lesson learned and I'll personally be able to prepare myself better next time so a bit more fun could be had.

While we got a chance to look at a number of video cards that AMD will be launching in the coming weeks, it comes as no real surprise that we aren't seeing all of them. Releasing all models at the exact same time would really flood the internet with reviews and that would be overwhelming for the consumer. Instead, AMD will be drip feeding the samples over the coming weeks to spread it out as much as possible. Of course, they want coverage to last weeks, if not months, so they can constantly be seen.

We'll be starting off with the new R7 260X today, and being an AMD reference card, we don't have anything to talk about when it comes to the package. Instead we'll as always be getting stuck straight into the video card and cover the main specifications that are on offer, plus of course the main features.

The new series of AMD cards bring with it some really cool features with one of the major ones being AMD TrueAudio. We'll cover this a little on the next page, along with the major specifications that this particular model brings with it. With that all said and done, I think we can just move straight onto the card and see what exactly AMD is offering us today with the new R7 260X 2GB.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Of course being a reference card combined with the fact that it's also a mid-range one, we don't expect to see a whole lot. We've got a standard fan design, and the new shroud looks great. It almost looks like the red bits would light up, but they don't.

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We've got a single 6-pin PCIe power connector to get the card up and running. While we've noticed the lack of CrossFire connector on some new high-end models, this isn't a feature that is carried through the whole line up. As you can see, we've got a single CrossFire connector at the top of the card giving us the ability to run two of these cards together.

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The connectivity side of things hasn't changed too much. We've got two Dual Link DVI connectors, alongside a HDMI and DisplayPort connector. As you'd expect with most mid-range cards these days, it's a dual slot setup and you can see we've got some vents across the top part that help some of the hot air escape out the back of the case.

Specifications

Moving into the specification side of things, you can see above we're dealing with 896 Stream Processors with a GPU clock of 1100MHz. We've got 16 ROPs, PCIe 3.0 support and Direct X 11.2 support, all sitting on a 28nm core. Typical Board Power on the reference design is quoted as 115W from AMD.

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When it comes to the memory side of things, we've got 2GB of GDDR5 sitting on a 128-bit memory bus. The memory clock speed comes in at 6500MHz QDR, which is massive. Specification wise, the R7 260X is a good looking card. While we won't find out today, it will be interesting to see how the overclocking side of things go.

One of the most major features that AMD is bringing to the table, though, is the new AMD TrueAudio Technology. This really is an awesome piece of technology that is supported on this model. The biggest issue is that it's not something that we're able to really show you. It was of course something that AMD pushed heavily at the event in Hawaii, and the ability to really use the features was truly amazing. It feels like long term, if not even short term, though, this is the kind of technology that could affect audio manufacturers with Creative being the first to come to mind.

On the API support side of things, we've got DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3 and Mantle with the latter being the big one. Everything about Mantle continues to really feel like quite the mystery. AMD is of course pushing the fact that it's "Game Changing", but that's marketing more than anything else. Until we really see it implemented in a number of areas that is when we will really start to have faith in it.

With that said, though, what we're hearing about it so far is exciting. It's implementation into the Frostbite 3 engine, which has over 15 games being developed around it, makes us get a little wiggly and giggly. Especially when you talk about franchises like Need For Speed, Battlefield, Mirrors Edge, Command & Conquer and Star Wars to name just a few. The collaboration between developers and AMD is what's ultimately going to make the technology.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

We've got a number of video cards in our graphs today. When it comes to the AMD side, you will see a number of HD 7000 series based cards. We've got the Sapphire HD 7790 1GB Dual-X OC, along with higher-end HD 7900 series models coming from PowerColor in the form of the PCS HD 7950, which we overclocked to over 1100MHz on the core. We've also got the reference HD 7970 GHz Edition card.

On the NVIDIA side, we've got the older MSI GTX 660 HAWK 2GB. Along with that we've got the newer GTX 760 iGAME from Colorful and reference GTX 770 2GB.

With the low $100 price bracket being quiet for so long and a lot of these cards coming in higher, we haven't got a ton of cards sitting around that fit into this area, but the launch of these new models and some price movement from NVIDIA means that we'll probably start to see more and more mid-range offerings hit in the coming weeks.

For now, though, let's just leave it at that and see just what this new model from AMD is capable of doing.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Starting off with 3DMark 11, you can see that performance sits slightly above the older HD 7790 1GB. What we really want to know today, though, is the performance of the card under our games.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark

Buy It Here

Fire Strike is our new showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today. Fire Strike will only be available in the Windows editions of 3DMark initially.

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Being our latest benchmark added there's not a whole lot that can be seen under the Fire Strike benchmark. With so many video cards joining the ranks in the coming weeks, though, we will see our graphs fill up quickly.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven sees numbers that are almost identical with our Sapphire HD 7790 here. Compared to the GTX 660 HAWK, though, which carries an extra $40+ at least price increase, you can see the Heaven numbers are very close.

This is great for AMD who has been improving Tessellation performance over the last few years.

Benchmarks - Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.sega.com/?t=EnglishUSA

Product Homepage: http://www.pso2.com/us/html/index.html

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 and experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven, free-to-play multiplayer online RPG from SEGA. Take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets. Join fellow adventurers and fight against the legions of darkness to banish them from the galaxy.

Score explanation: Less than 2000: Please adjust your game settings because the processing load is quite heavy.

2000 through 5000: The game runs fine at the setting, if you have room, you can adjust some settings.

5001+: The game works wonderfully at this setting.

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Coming in at 2326, you can see that we're in that "The game runs fine" range.

It's worth noting, though, that PSO2 is tested at 2560 x 1600, so when it comes to resolution, we do have a ton of room to move. 1920 x 1080 drops the load on the video card massively.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 numbers are pretty much identical with the HD 7790. Unfortunately that means we're below the 60 FPS mark at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Just Cause 2 numbers look good and you can see we've got playable numbers at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. Compared to the HD 7790, you can see the numbers are actually identical. As we see this more, it's the added features that are seen on the card that are really going to matter.

Benchmarks - F1 2012

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com

In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany's famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar.

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Looking at F1 2012, you can see compared to the HD 7790, we've got a performance boost across the board of over 10%. The extra 7 FPS at 2560 x 1600 is nice as we move from 50 FPS to 57 FPS.

While still a little shy of the 60 FPS number we're looking for, with maxed out settings, you've got a bit of room to move to get those couple of extra frames to make sure your game is smooth.

Benchmarks - Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://enterthemetro.com/ /

Metro: Last Light takes place one year after the events of Metro 2033, proceeding from the ending where Artyom chose to call down the missile strike on the Dark Ones. The Rangers have since occupied the D6 military facility, with Artyom having become an official member of the group. Khan, the nomad mystic, arrives at D6 to inform Artyom and the Rangers that a single Dark One survived the missile strike. Khan believes the Dark One is the key to humanity's future, and wants to make peace with it, while Ranger leader Colonel Miller wants to kill the creature due to its potential threat. Miller sends Artyom to the surface with a mission to kill the Dark One; he is accompanied by Anna, Miller's sarcastic daughter and the Rangers' best sniper.

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Metro Last Light is super intensive and we're looking forward to seeing some of the new high-end cards take on the game. But for now you can see you're going to have to move your in-game detail a lot to get playable numbers at even the lowest resolution.

Benchmarks - Dirt Showdown

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

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Like a number of other benchmarks, you can see that the numbers the new R7 260X throw out are pretty much identical to the HD 7790 1GB. Unfortunately this also means we're below the 60 FPS number we want at all resolutions.

On the bright side, we're only 2 FPS below it at 1680 x 1040 and 9 FPS below it at 1920 x 1200. With a bit of an image quality change, you should be able to get those numbers up to a playable level.

Benchmarks - Nexuiz

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.alientrap.org/

Product Homepage: http://www.nexuiz.com/

Nexuiz is an Arena First Person shooter coming soon to consoles. Nexuiz is fast paced with extremely competitive game play. IllFonic brings Alientrap Software's Nexuiz to next-gen gaming consoles around the world while staying true to the game play refined over the years through development. IllFonic introduces a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated. Nexuiz for consoles is powered by CryENGINE 3.

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We seemed to run into a problem opening Nexuiz. While it looked like it was going to open, it would close straight away. We did a repair under Steam on it and it found some file errors. With them fixed, we still had the same issue.

Completely removing the game and downloading it again also didn't help. We hope that this is just a temporary issue as the intensity of the game is going to be handy as we test the new higher-end AMD models.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://sniperelitev2.com/us/age.html

Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

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Sniper Elite V2 sees performance that sits just ahead of the HD 7790 for the most part. Nothing major, though, and ultimately below that 60 FPS number at all resolutions.

52 FPS at 1680 x 1050 isn't too bad, though, and with a bit of a change in detail settings, you should be able to get an enjoyable experience out of the game.

Benchmarks - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://eu.square-enix.com/en

Product Homepage: http://www.sleepingdogs.net/

The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.

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1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 sees some great performance numbers. While again comparable to the HD 7790, they are ultimately just very playable numbers.

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.

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Far Cry 2 numbers across the board are good and again pretty much on top of the HD 7790. The most important thing here, though, is that the numbers are good and with a 40 FPS minimum at even the highest resolution, you're not going to complain about the playing experience here.

Please Note: We still include Far Cry 2 in our benchmarks (we know it's old) as a way for our readers to get a general representation of how older games perform on new hardware.

Benchmarks - Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.ioi.dk/

Product Homepage: http://hitman.com/

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth game developed by I/O Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on I/O Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise. The game was released on 20 November 2012, which is in the 47th week of the year (in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47).

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While the minimums at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x1200 look good, the average is a little low. We would say that the 1680 x 1050 average of 54 FPS is acceptable in this case because of the strong minimum, but the 46 FPS at 1920 x 1200 is a little too low for our liking.

Benchmarks - Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.nixxes.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.tombraider.com/us/base/agegate?refer=184&

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows to universal critical acclaim.

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Tomb Raider numbers across the board are just too low in both the minimum and average departments here. We're sure the upcoming higher-end offerings from AMD are going to handle the game much better.

Benchmarks - BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://irrationalgames.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.bioshockinfinite.com

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game and the third installment in the BioShock series. Previously known as "Project Icarus", it is being developed by Irrational Games and was released worldwide on the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013. BioShock Infinite is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games but features similar gameplay concepts and themes.

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BioShock Infinite is another one of those new games for us that hasn't got a ton of results yet.

You can see we're below the 60 FPS number at all resolutions, though. Like 3DMark Fire Strike, we really look forward to filling up this graph in the coming weeks.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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At 1920 x 1200, the 29 FPS minimum and 56 FPS average is playable with these settings. Moving to 2560 x 1600 isn't an option, though, as the minimum is just too low along with the average.

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Metro Last Light isn't an option with no AA and AF on, so it comes as no surprise that the numbers are incredibly low here when we do turn it on.

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We again see that with AA and AF on, the R7 620X just can't give us the FPS we need.

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Finishing up with Sleeping Dogs, we also see that once AA and AF is on, the numbers aren't where they need to be.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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With the new fan profile settings, AMD focus on noise more than temperature. Knowing that the card will run perfectly fine at 80c, the fan will spin at whatever speed it needs to. What you hope is that speed is nice and low.

Sound Test

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).

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You can see the card is extremely quiet at both idle and load, sitting almost at the bottom of the pack. Clearly the way AMD are working the new Fan Profiles works.

Power Consumption Test

Using our 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 SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal 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.

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Power draw is also something that AMD has focused on a lot this time and you can see on the new R7 260X it clearly works with the card again coming in towards the bottom of the pack. Always a good place to be when it comes to these last couple of graphs.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

I think the first thing you think when you come to the end of all the graphs is that we're ultimately dealing with a HD 7790 here when it comes to the performance side of things. The HD 7790 is of course one of the more recent additions to the HD 7000 series, but sits still at six months old. From a performance perspective, though, the two models are nearly identical in a lot of areas. Sometimes we see the new R7 260X get a bit of a win, other times we see it fall slightly behind. Ultimately, if you're sitting on a HD 7790, this new model isn't something you would buy for the obvious reasons.

Coming in at a similar price point, you could argue why AMD would even bother releasing the model if it's just a HD 7790 with a new cooler. The new model brings with it some really exciting technology, though, as we mentioned earlier. The new AMD TrueAudio Technology is something we love. We're so glad we had the chance to demo it in Hawaii. The implementation of this technology is going to be really awesome long term, especially as more and more companies make use of it.

You've then also of course got the implementation of the new "Game Changing" Mantle API. As we mentioned earlier in the review, this is something we're excited about. The communication between AMD and game developers is what's really going to make the technology, though. AMD also need to push built-in benchmarking into these programs to show people easily what the real benefits are of the technology. AMD really does need to do a better job of showing people what their technology is capable of, instead of just telling people. The easier they make it to do this, the more people can show it off.

We've been told that AMD has gone through a number of changes recently, and for the better apparently. We hope this is true, AMD has always been company that we've liked, but they've also been a company that has been weak in a number of areas. The R7 260X is only one piece of the new series of video cards that the company has put together and going off what we saw in Hawaii, it's not the most exciting one either. As we get a chance to test more of the higher-end cards, along with offerings from partners, we'll get to see just what the company has really been able to achieve.

The bottom line, though, is that if you're in the market for a video card that is going to be in the low $100 price range, the new R7 260X is a good option. With NVIDIA having the GTX 700 series, most people will feel that buying a GTX 600 based product is just buying old technology. If NVIDIA had GTX 700 series card in this price bracket, the fight would look a little different. The bottom line is that NVIDIA don't, though, and people are going to prefer saying they own a R7 based card verse a last generation GTX 600 series based product.

AMD seem to be looking pretty good at the moment with what they've done. Considering how plagued the HD 7700 series was at launch when it came to being extremely overpriced, they have instead seemed to hit at a strong price point this time around. As the HD 7700 series continued to get price cuts, the product saw better and better value over time - first impressions last, though, and you can't deny it was always an uphill battle for those HD 7700 series cards.

The first piece to quite a large puzzle from AMD is looking good at this point. As we not only get to see more and more models under the new naming scheme, but also more and more games and applications that can make use of the technology that AMD has on offer, the video cards are only going to become better and better over time.

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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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