One of the more popular graphics cards in the past six month has been the GeForce GTX 260, and for a good reason. After a reign of red colored antagonism, the product now is nicely priced and offers some very decent performance. It however was back in September/October 2008 when this product got a noteworthy upgrade.
Update - in the second week of June we retested and rewrote this article. Our previous findings showed an offset in high temperatures and noise levels. It seems we had a faulty card to test with. After receiving a new sample, we are now very happy to show you the results in this article, the MSI N260GTX Lightning edition graphics card, revisited. And trust me when I say .. this made a difference.
NVIDIA was seeking for some more performance in the GTX 260 series -- they needed to give it a little more bite. As such NVIDIA introduced the GeForce GTX 260 SP216; the very same product (as the GTX260 with 192 Shader processors), only carrying an additional 24 shader processors.
192 cores on the GeForce GTX 260
216 cores on the GeForce GTX 260 SP216
240 of them on the GeForce GTX 280/275/285.
Now by itself, the extra shader processors offer merely a very tiny boost in performance. But what we learned from our initial review is that once you take a look at the slightly more expensive overclocked editions, that's where the money shot really is. Once the shader processors are clocked higher, instantly performance climbs up, much closer to GeForce GTX 280/285 performance. And at sub-250 USD, that's just not a bad deal.
Many AIB and AIC partners jumped the gun and started offering pre-overclocked products; however, there are always a few manufacturers out there that want to do something special. Today we have such a product in our test-lab.
MSI has released two new GeForce GTX 260 video cards. The first one being the MSI N260GTX Lightning, and the second one a N260GTX Lightning Black Edition. Perhaps you guys remember it, but both products where already showcased at CeBit this year.
These are probably the most feature rich GeForce GTX 260 videocards you can find on the web. First off, MSI N260GTX Lightning has twice the standard GeForce GTX 260 GDDR3 memory summing up to an incredible 1792 MB, and then utilizes a Twin Frozr cooling with heatpipes, dual slot heatsink and two big fans. The card design is Phase PWM, with 8 phases are reserved for the GPU and 2 phases for the memory. Furthermore, this graphics card has important overclocking features like V-Check points to measure the voltage.
You will spot two versions, both really are similar. The Lightning Black Edition is paired with the company's AirForce Panel, an external touch panel that can change the card's voltages and clock speeds on the fly. That is not included in the regular Lightning edition.
Today we will test that Black edition MSI N260GTX Lightning ... is your PC ready to get struck by thunder ? Next page please.
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