MSI GeForce N260GTX Lightning 1792 MB review

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VGA performance: Far Cry 2 (DX10)


Setup your monitor first

Before playing games, setting up your monitor's contrast & brightness levels is a very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have set up your monitor improperly. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling us that a reader can't distinguish between the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly set up.


This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. Also, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.

Far Cry 2

Throw your memory back to the year 2004 and the release of the innovative Far Cry on PC. Developer Crytek managed to fashion one of the most convincing and striking locales in all of gaming, and satisfied gamers with the freedom to pass through the landscape and tackle enemies in almost any way they saw fit. You surely remember Jack Carver and that things were about to get seriously messed up for you? Well, tough luck. You are no longer at that deserted tropical island but hop into a jeep and arrive at the sandy savannah surroundings of Africa. And that's a change... as much as you'll no longer run into any mutants, aliens, or any superpowers or psychic powers. Also - you are no longer Jack Carver, you assume the role of one of nine different mercenaries who are embedded in the midst of a brutal civil war which rages in an imaginary African nation.
Everything that goes down is involved in a dirty little bush war in central Africa and you'll have to use a rusty AK-47 and whatever bits of scavenged land mine you can duct-tape together. Two factions struggle for supremacy: the United Front for Liberation and Labour and the Alliance for Popular Resistance, and both are known for blood and control.

Far Cry 2 I like very much. Not so much for the gameplay anymore, yet the rendered environment and how the game can react to it. We are in high-quality DX10 mode with 8x AA (anti-aliasing) and 16xAF (anisotropic filtering).

For this test we will compare towards two other NVIDIA cards and of course the new Radeon HD 4890.

  • GeForce GTX 260 SP216 896MB (Reference clocked frequencies)
  • GeForce GTX 275 896MB (Reference clocked frequencies)
  • GeForce GTX 285 1024MB (Reference clocked frequencies)
  • Radeon HD 4890 1024MB (Reference clocked frequencies)

All GeForce cards have been tested with the new Forceware 185.63 driver. FarCry 2 absolutely likes the GeForce GTX 260 fro MSI (green bar). Even at 1920x1200 with 8x AA - DX10 mode - very high image quality, you play at 44 FPS. That's only 6 frames per second away from the GeForce GTX 285 folks.

As you'll see it'll consistently fight with the GeForce GTX 275 though. And in 2560x1600 we see a nice bump in performance thanks to the extra framebuffer.

When we compare directly 1:1 GeForce GTX 260 SP216 versus the MSI lightning we see that MSI on average dominates with an additional 10% performance thanks to the higher clocks.

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