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EVGA GeForce GTX 260

Are you used to doing your gaming at 2560 x 1600 resolution, on your 30" LCD, using your PCIe video card, with the eye candy all set to max? If you haven't seen any jaggies in years because whatever title you play you always have the AA and AF pumping; if you always buy your games when they are just released and never wait for them to get old enough to go to the bargain bin; if you wouldn't think about buying any hardware unless it was the absolute best currently available at the time of purchase, I envy you, but this review is probably not for you. This review is for those of you looking for a fast video card that won't break your budget. In today's review we will see if the refurbished EVGA GeForce GTX 260 896MB PCIe fits the bill. As usual we have Geeks to thank for sponsoring this review.

GTX260 Box

Normally I devote a full paragraph to "what's in the box". In this instance, since it is a refurbished product, a single sentence will suffice. Inside the box you will find the video card. That means there is no driver CD, no product manual, no bundled software. Most of this is no big deal since many people will want to download the latest driver, don't need a manual for a video card, and don't care for a bundled game that they may already own. What is slightly troubling, though, is the lack of any four-pin molex to six-pin PCIe adapters. If you buy this item make sure your power supply sports two six-pin PCIe power connectors, or make sure you pick up an adapter(s) when purchasing this card. Not doing so would be like waking up on Christmas morning and not being able to enjoy your new toy because someone forgot to buy any batteries.

I guess next time I should take the plastic film off the video card before I take any pictures as I would with a new card because it looks quite ridiculous in the larger photos below. But I was so impressed that EVGA took that little step to include it even though it is a refurbished card, that I wanted you guys to see that it was there. Next time I will just settle for telling you all instead of ruining the photos.

GTX260 Front     GTX260 Back

Specs:

-NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 GPU
-896 MB DDR3 memory
-448-bit Memory Bit Width
-PCI Express (PCIe) x16 interface
-Core Clock: 576 MHz
-Memory Clock: 1998 MHz
-Shader Clock: 1242 MHz
-Memory Speed: 1.0 ns
-Memory Bandwidth: 111.9 GB/sec
-NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology
-Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) Technology
-NVIDIA SLI Technology
-Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Shader Model 4.0 Support
-True 128-Bit Floating Point High Dynamic-Range (HDR)
-PCI Express 2.0 / 1.1 Support
-2nd Generation Unified Shader Architecture
-NVIDIA CUDA Support
-NVIDIA PhysX Ready
-NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology
-NVIDIA HybridPower Technology
-HDCP Ready
-OpenGL 3.0 Support
-Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
-Power Connector 2 x 6 Pin

GTX Power Connector

Temperatures for the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 (which were taken using RivaTuner) ranged from 53C at idle to 67C at full load. These were down slightly from the 56C at idle and the 71C at full load for the XFX GeForce 8800 GT. The dual-slot cooling solution sure seems to be doing its job here. During normal operation both cards were inaudible over the eight other system fans (six case fans, one CPU fan, one power supply fan) in my case. The lone exception was when starting or ending a 3D application: the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 made a loud chirping noise that sounded exactly like the 1973 Camaro that I had as a teenager going into second at full throttle after having a shift kit installed in the transmission.

GTX260 Far End     GTX260 Near End

The EVGA GeForce GTX 260 is a dual-slot 10.5" video card. This means that if you don't have a behemoth-sized case like my Antec 1200 you probably shouldn't just assume this card will fit 'cause your last video card did. Instead, get out the tape measure and make certain (No, the case! You are supposed to be measuring the case not your 24” pythons), or there is a good chance you might have to go medieval on your drive cage with your Dremel. Either that, or add the price of a new case to this upgrade. Keep in mind even if it does fit horizontally you might not be out of the woods just yet due to the vertical width of dual-slot video cards. For instance, the slot next to the video card is blocked with my ASUS M4A78-E motherboard. This doesn't personally affect me since I am not using any add in-cards at the moment, but it is something you need to be aware of.

GTX260 vs 8800GT

Test System:

AMD Phenom 9950 O/C 2.8GHZ
ASUS M4A78-E Motherboard
4096MB Corsair XMS DDR2 6400
Seagate ST3750330AS 750GB SATA HD
Lite-One SHM-165S6S DVDR
XFX GeForce 8800 GT ADE (625/1800)
EVGA GeForce GTX 260 SC (602/2052)
Thermalright SI-128 SE HSF
CORSAIR 620HX PS
WIN XP Home - SP3
Direct X 9C
Det 190.62

Prey

I retested this benchmark several times, I wasn't expecting that big of a jump.

Oblivion

With all the sliders maxed this game was still smooth.

Supreme Commander

Not a shooter but ironically the most demanding game I tested.

3DMark2001SE

Some really old school benchmarking.

3DMark2003

Biggest gap of all the 3DMark titles tested.

3DMark2005

Things tighten up a little here.

3DMark2006

Back to a comfortable lead.

AquaMark3

Almost no difference at all in this one.Overclocking:

This is normally the part of the review that I most enjoy. I get to see if I can make a lower priced piece of hardware (a video card in this case) perform like a more expensive one. I like to think of it as free performance, and for those of us on a tight budget this is sometimes the only way to eke out the that little bit of extra speed most of us crave. That being said, this time I think I am going to leave well enough alone. You see, when I started up GPU-Z to check out the stats on the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 it turns out that contrary to the reported specs above, this card has already been mildly factory overclocked, matching that of the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Superclocked specs. Normally I would just ignore this and try to overclock it some more anyway, but the fact that it comes factory overclocked, the load temps are running in the high 60's, and it is a refurbished video card makes me nervous to push my luck any further. Sigh. I guess I must be getting old.

GPUZ

Since Nvidia is hyping CUDA and PhysX both so heavily these days it seems negligent to not mention them here at least briefly. While I don't have any actual hands-on experience in games that use PhysX I do know a small amount about CUDA. I used it running SETI when it first became available and although the GPU processes WU (work units) in a serial manner (one at a time) instead of in parallel (one per core) like the CPU version, it was nonetheless much faster than my CPU. The problem was that it also left the system much less responsive, often stuttering, and occasionally even freezing for a few seconds whenever I tried to use the video card at all--even with something as simple as solitaire. When processing a WU with the CPU, however, it plays well with others. I never shut it down unless I am gaming, and I rarely ever notice it is running in the background. At some point I will probably try SETI again using CUDA, but at the time I quit. It was very much still a work in progress. All that being said, if you are running SETI or any other BOINC DC project which supports CUDA and you have a CUDA capable Nvidia video card, you ought to at least give it a look and make up your own mind.

Conclusion:

Not a GTX 260 core 216, annoying fan chirp, no six-pin PCIe adapter, the refurbished EVGA GeForce GTX 260 is not without a few minor issues. At this price point, though, I find it impossible to complain much. To put things in perspective, the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 reviewed here today costs half of what my XFX GeForce 8800 GT ADE cost just eighteen months ago. If you can find one the refurbished EVGA GeForce GTX 260 might well be the best bang for your buck in the video card market right now.

Pros:

  • Good performance
  • Runs reasonably cool
  • Mostly quiet
  • Low cost

Cons:

  • Size (Length & Width)
  • No six-pin PCIe adapter
  • Chirping noise when fan changes speed

I would like to thank Geeks for providing us with the refurbished EVGA GeForce GTX 260 for review. This item can be purchased at Geeks for 128 usd.

Geeks

Added: October 15th 2009
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 9  
Related Link: EVGA
Hits: 5419
Language: english

  

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