In October 2013, AMD released their follow up to their Radeon HD 7790 that was released the previous April, the Radeon R7 260X. It is built on the 28 nm process and based on the XTX varioution of the Bonaire graphics processor. Unlike the HD 7790 that came before it, the R7 260X commonly features 2Gb of graphics memory. The Bonaire graphics processor also has many features that are only shared with AMD’s Hawaii R9 290(X) and Vesuvius R9 295 flagship models. These include TrueAudio Technology and PowerPlay with ZeroCore Power Technology, to name a couple.
When Sapphire asked if we wanted to review their Radeon R7 260X, we happily agreed. They did however have one stipulation, we needed to use a more budget friendly test system then our usual Intel i7 based test system. This makes quite a bit of sense. Most people who purchase a graphics card in this price range are not installing it in a system with a $300+ processor . We choose a AMD FX-6300 based system. The FX-6300 is a $120 processor that is very popular. This review goes one step further then our typical graphics card review by also including base and overcloking results for the CPU as well.
Sapphire’s Take on the R7 260X 2GB
SAPPHIRE R7 260X with new AMD TrueAudio Technology, enable games feature more realistic environmental dynamics, sound effects, and directional audio. With new AMD Eyefinity Technology, R7 260X now supports up to 3 monitors. With 2GB of the latest GDDR5 memory and 896 stream processors, and support for DirectX 11.2, the architecture is built to play the very latest games with perfectly smooth action even at higher resolutions.
HDMI (with 3D)
Support for Deep Color, 7.1 High Bitrate Audio, and 3D Stereoscopic, ensuring the highest quality Blu-ray and video experience possible from your PC.
Doubling the effective bandwidth of previous DisplayPort implementations, DisplayPort 1.2 now includes support for Multi-Stream, allowing you to drive up to four separate monitors from a single DisplayPort 1.2 connector (requires DP1.2 monitors or Multi-Stream compatible hub), Stereoscopic 3D monitor support and adds support for high quality, lossless, 7.1 channel audio formats.
Equipped with the most popular Dual Link DVI (Digital Visual Interface), this card is able to display ultra high resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz.
Advanced GDDR5 Memory Technology
GDDR5 memory provides twice the bandwidth per pin of GDDR3 memory, delivering more speed and higher bandwidth.
AMD Stream Technology
Accelerate the most demanding applications with AMD Stream technology and do more with your PC. AMD Stream Technology allows you to use the teraflops of compute power locked up in your graphics processer on tasks other than traditional graphics such as video encoding, at which the graphics processor is many, many times faster than using the CPU alone.
AMD Avivo HD (DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray Playback)
Watch the hottest Blu-ray movies or other HD content at full 1080p display resolution and beyond and enjoy a more feature rich experience with enhanced Unified Video Decoder(UVD)
AMD CrossFireX™ Multi-GPU Technology
Triple or Quadruple gaming power with AMD CrossFireX™ Multi-GPU Technology.AMD CrossFireX technology supports up to four graphics cards to be used in a single system.
AMD HD3D Technology
Enjoy the most immersive experience possible with full support for High Definition Stereoscopic 3D, a technique that presents 2D images (movies, games, photos) in a format that creates the illusion of three-dimensional depth when using compatible 3D displays / glasses / software.
28 nm GCN (Graphic Core Next) Architecture
The new 28nm GCN Architecture’s more efficient process technology puts more transistors in less space, enabling a dramatic increase in processing power
PCI Express 3.0
PCI-Express 3.0 delivers double the bandwidth per lane of PCIe Gen 2 for faster GPU (GPU communication-up to 16GB/sec in each direction), maximizing the performance from your GPU when paired with the latest platforms.
AMD Eyefinity 2.0
The next generation of AMD Eyefinity technology is here, featuring all-new support for stereo 3D, universal bezel compensation and brand new display configurations. Face it: the best just got better: The enhancements for AMD Radeon HD7000 series include: Stereo 3D-multi-display stereoscopic 3D support via DisplayPort 16K X 16K maximum display group resolution-output up to 268 megapixels per GPU.
Discrete Digital Multi-Point Audio
The AMD Redeon HD 7900 Series is the first GPU that can simultaneously output multiple and discrete audio streams via HDMI and DisplayPort Output.
AMD TrueAudio Technology
The expectations of gamers have never been higher. Graphics quality and processing speed have advanced rapidly, and the games of today are light years ahead of those from just a few years ago. But advancements in game audio have been more sporadic and less widely adopted.
Sound is a critically important part of the immersive experience for gamers and sound engineers are eager to advance their art, but they haven’t enjoyed the same kind of attention that continually drives graphics improvements. Until now.
The tessellation performance on AMD Radeon R7/ R9 series is up to 2X faster than the previous generation, and DirectCompute performance is also faster to accelerate advanced post-processing, filtering, and anti-aliasing techniques. Direct X12 games has never looked this good.
OpenGL 4.3 improves the GPU efficiency by improving the shader process operation and capturing GPU tessellated geometry. The process of modifying an arbitrary subset of compress texture is also simplified. The memory management in handling shaders is more efficient as well.
Properly enabled games will reach new heights of performance by speaking the language of Graphics Core Next architecture.
AMD Catalyst Control Center™
The AMD Catalyst Control Center™ software application gives you complete control over the performance and visual quality of your SAPPHIRE AMD Radeon™ based graphics card allowing for the best experience on your PC.
Dolby® TrueHD and DTSHD Master Audio™ Support
Support for copy protected, high bandwidth, 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI. Get a fully immersive, high definition audio experience with the latest Blu-ray movies. (Requires a DVI to HDMI dongle on some models, an HD capable monitor and a Blu-ray drive)
Supports advanced AA (Anti-aliasing) features to maximise your enjoyment of high definition gaming.
- Multi-sample anti-aliasing (2, 4 or 8 samples per pixel)
- Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA) for superior quality
- Adaptive super-sampling and multi-sampling
- Gamma correct
- Super AA (AMD CrossFireX™configurations only)
- All anti-aliasing features compatible with HDR rendering
AMD PowerTune™ Technology
AMD PowerTune is a breakthrough technology that sets an entirely new direction for maximum performance at TDP. It allows the GPU to be designed with higher engine clock speeds which can be applied on the broad set of applications that have thermal headroom.
TriXX helps users to get the optimum performance from compatible SAPPHIRE graphics cards in any application by allowing them to monitor, tune and save different settings of key parameters for the card.
Enhanced Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD 3)
Watch the hottest Blu-ray movies or other HD content at full 1080p (and beyond !) display resolution. Enjoy a feature rich video experience with enhanced Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD 3), offloading the bulk of the video decoding tasks from the CPU to the GPU allowing for a cooler, quieter and more balanced system.
Microsoft Office 2010
Take advantage of improved picture and media editing capabilities in Office 2010 as well as edit and share your content in real time. See more, and get more done. Enhanced productivity with accelerated GPU processing for Office applications.
Windows® 7 support
WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) Certified drivers and logos are available for all SAPPHIRE HD2000, HD3000, HD4000 and HD5000 series cards ensuring compatibility and reliability with Microsoft Windows 7.
AMD App Acceleration
AMD App Acceleration is a set of technologies designed to improve video quality and enhance application performance. Full enablement of some features requires support for OpenCL, DirectCompute or DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA).
AMD PowerPlay with ZeroCore Power Technology
AMD PowerPlay is a power management technology in response to the GPU loading, AMD PowerPlay automatically manages the power consumption.
AMD ZeroCore Power technology allows your AMD Radeon™ GPU to consume virtually no power when in idle state5. When used with AMD CrossFire™ technology, it shuts down additional GPUs when they’re not in use.
AMD HD Media Accelerator
AMD HD Media Accelerator has been designed to help optimize and dramatically improve video playback on your computer by taking advantage of hardware video acceleration from your AMD Radeon GPU. With full 3D stereoscopic decode you can enjoy it all in 3D. AMD HD Media Accelerator speeds up the decode of one 1080p and one 1080i HD video streams simultaneously by hardware, and the new hardware encodes/transcoder processes your media content faster than ever!
Cutting-edge Quad HD display support (4K Support)
The display resolution on AMD Radeon HD7000 series is quadrupled to the resolution of 4KX2K( 4096X2160 ) from the outputs of DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI.
Windows® 8/8.1 support
WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) Certified drivers and logos are available for SAPPHIRE cards ensuring compatibility and reliability with Microsoft Windows 8/8.1.