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Sapphire Radeon R7 260X 2GB DDR5 OC Edition, Model 100366-2L – PC

Sapphire Radeon R7 260X 2GB DDR5 OC Edition, Model 100366-2L – PC

Developer: Advanced Micro Devices / Sapphire Technologies

Nerd Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Reviewed By Malefico

Project Old School started out pretty good, then went through a brief period of disappointment due to a GPU failure, but now is looking pretty damn good again, thanks in no small part to the replacement video card I ordered, the Sapphire Radeon R7 260X 2GB DDR5 OC edition, model 100366-2L, complete specs at the end of the article. Sapphire has built a reputation by offering products that offer excellent value due to their better-than-average specs at any particular price point. I’m happy to say their new R7 260X OC card doesn’t disappoint.

R7 260X Top

Hardware

The card itself is attractive, with a black and silver motif going on that looks good installed in the case. The single fan moves air energetically and keeps the card cool under most conditions. I was less-than-pleased with the fan shroud, which is plastic and feels flimsy, but it is functional and let’s face it, users are not going to (hopefully) be banging on parts of their video card anyway. The plus side of a plastic shroud is that the card is lightweight overall, and doesn’t come even close to needing a support bracket.

Finish on the card is decent, with a black PCB to complement the shroud and fan. Solder joints and other manufacturing marks are neat, with no puddles of flux marring the appearance. Like any good-quality card, it fits readily and securely into the PCI-E slot and due to its dual-slot design allows the user to fasten it with two screws.

Sapphire’s R7 260X does come with a decent number of outputs so anyone should be able to hook it up to their favorite monitor with no hassle – users limited to VGA will be pleased to find a VGA to DVI adapter included with the card. The package also includes a Molex to PCI-E power adapter. Although this is a nice touch, I guess, it’s of limited value since any power supply that lacks a single PCI-E power lead should not be relied upon to power a system that includes a card with this current requirement.

For those who want to employ a Crossfire X configuration the card has a PCI-E bridge connector but that box had no bridge cable, so plan on purchasing one separately if you’re going to run two.

R7 260X End

Software

The Sapphire R7 260X OC edition comes with a fairly new driver package, although online update will be required to bring them up to current status. The AMD Catalyst Control Center that ships with all Radeon cards allows the user to control and fine-tune the graphics experience to suit their taste. Luckily, AMD has made the new Raptr software suite available that notifies the user when new drivers and version of related software are available. Moreover, Raptr acts like Nvidia’s GeForce Experience to automatically optimize game settings based on system hardware. It takes the guesswork out of configuring video settings for those who may be new to PC gaming. I did notice that initially when I loaded and launched Raptr that I was getting weird compatibility issues with some online applications, so I deactivated the Raptr for about a week. AMD released an update to the software and now it runs without a hitch.

R7 260X Front

Performance

Sapphire’s R7 260X OC edition performs very well in a basic to lower mid-range system. Users can expect to be able to use native monitor resolutions, medium detail settings, and with some games even some MSAA and still get eminently playable frame rates.

My personal experience, comparing Old School to POS was night and day. Games like Rage and Secrets of Rætikon, which fell flat on their face before, now run sexy and smooth and look much better to boot. In fact, I’ve used Fraps and glanced at the FPS stats during game play and it seems to stay stuck to 60 FPS no matter what.

Power consumption is excellent at idle and very acceptable under load, right in line with factory ratings. The newer Radeon cards definitely benefit from advances in the ability of the system to monitor and mete power as necessary, as well as tweaks to the existing chipsets.

Heat generation/dissipation are just okay, most likely due to the fact that the stock cooling solution is mediocre. Although the card stays cool in most situations, extended gaming sessions, especially playing FPS titles results in a blast of hot air from the rear of the card, and I’ve recorded temperatures approaching 55 Celsius, or just north of 130 Fahrenheit. While these numbers are not alarming, a better, dual-fan setup and accompanying shroud, plus a more effective thermal interface would be needed before I’d be comfortable running this card flat-out indefinitely.

Value

The Sapphire R7 260X 2GB DDR5 OC edition is an excellent card for the money, coming in at a price point just over $100 after rebate. In this territory, all the other 260X models are limited to 1GB of RAM, and generally feature only the stock clock speeds.

For the price, users get a modest overclock, plenty of memory and capabilities vastly better than cards like the R7 240 and 250. With recent price drops, Nvidia’s GTX 750 pretty much matches the R7 260X cards in price and performance, so they are worth a look.

A word for those who are out shopping for a new GPU – if you’re budgeting $75 – $100 for your card, go ahead and save for another month and instead get a display adapter in the $100 – $125 range. For a little extra money you’ll get substantially more performance / future-proofing, as much as 40% more, so the little jump in price makes a huge difference in performance.

R7 260X Box

The Verdict

Sapphire’s Radeon R7 260X 2GB DDR5 OC edition, model 100366-2L offers gamers on a budget a heck of a lot to like. It’s ample memory, competent chipset, thoroughly modern design and strong performance-per-dollar make it a card that stands out in its price range.

Its only weak point is the factory cooling solution – it could have been more robust, and certainly sturdier. Still, when a company offers these specs at this price, compromises have to be made. And the stock cooler is not a failure, just not a stunning success. It’s certainly not enough to drag this card down into mediocrity, it just makes it less than perfect. Still, budget gamers could do much worse for their money.

This GPU is a solid 8.5 out of 10.

Display Support

3 x Maximum Display Monitor(s) support

Output

1 x HDMI (with 3D)
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x Dual-Link DVI-I

GPU

1050 MHz Core Clock
28 nm Chip
896 x Stream Processors

Video Memory

2048 MB Size
128 -bit GDDR5
6000 MHz Effective

Dimension

177(L)X106(W)X35(H) mm Size.
2 x slot

Software

Driver CD
SAPPHIRE TriXX Utility

Accessory

DVI to VGA Adapter
6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable

 

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon

 
 

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