NVIDIA definitely brought a little power-house to the market by releasing the GeForce GTX 260. Though is has slightly less memory and raw performance, it's still at a level where it's spectacular. Quite honestly only above resolutions of 1920x1200 you will notice the GTX 280 kick in fairly harder.
Next to that the price is a little more friendly as well. At 399 USD / 319,- EUR this might be price that people will convince to purchase it. Another factor is that the GTX 260 is priced precisely the same as two Radeon HD 4850/9800 GTX cards are, and two of these puppies would just embarrass one GTX 260.
My feeling though is that prices still need to go down a for them to get my full two thumbs up. I think this product at 299,- EUR would have been a astonishing thing to see. And oh yes, this all is a direct result of the blow that AMD delivered with their Radeon 4800 series of graphics cards.
Performance wise this is just a very fun product, playing Race Driver: GRID at 1920x1200 with 4x MSAA enabled at 55 frames per second is just brilliant. When we take S.t.a.l.k.e.r. with every possible image quality setting enabled including Dynamic lighting we still push 52 frames per second on average and these are just really good numbers. The one card the GTX 260 consistently came close with (performance wise) was actually the diminished GeForce 8800 Ultra.
You can push a little more out of the product though, the heat levels are definitely lower compared to the GTX 280 and the overclock was showing that pretty well. So expect lot's of headroom in the everlasting matters of tweaking.
Next to that, we covered it all in our GTX 280 reference review, do not rule out the power of CUDA, Purevideo HD, GeForce PhysX support and the stack load of of other features this product offers. No the GeForce GTX 260 definitely is a very mature product. It's available in the stores as we speak, Point of View throws in three years warranty and Assassins Creed (full game) for free which definitely sweetens the deal a little more.
I still say, the price needs to come down a little, yet other than that these cards are pure gaming bliss.
** update - In light of AMD's newly released Radeon HD 4870, which is just as fast yet a lot cheaper, please read this Radeon HD 4870 review as the dynamics certainly have changed in a matter of merely days..
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