XFX R7 260X: A good card, but not crossfire compatible

Casey Nolan

by - | 3 years ago
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7 Jan

Infinarium Rating

$119 to $132

Review Date : 01/7/14

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Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of ordering an XFX R7 260X video card from Amazon. Actually, it was done upon a friend’s request, and I being a tech product reviewer, had to get a closer look at the GPU. The guy who ordered this card was of the view that he’d be using it for XFire/ CrossFire purposes.

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Full disclosure about AMD and ATI cards: I have never used AMD and ATI cards before in my life until XFX R7 260X was sent to me. I am a huge Nvidia fan – let’s just say that I have been using the company’s latest and the greatest inventions since they released the classic Riva TNT2 video card. Back then, I wanted to get my hands on Quake 3 Arena.

The “innovative” thing about Quake III Arena was that it was made using the Open GL graphics library. If there is one thing I remember about that time period is that I had a busted motherboard with a built-in 4 Mb Trident card; it was not enough to run Quake 3; therefore I bought Nvidia’s Riva TNT 2.

Experience with XFX R7 260X AMD was good, and somewhat above my expectations:

So coming back to the XFX R7 260X debate, the card did well – at least right up to the moment when this guy discovered that it was not compatible for dual CrossFire setup – Hence, I am writing this review from the perspective of a user who got around to appreciating AMDs technology, sometimes, just as much as he does for Nvidia.

Box packaging and accessories include bonus codes, manual and R7 XFX 260X redeem codes

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The R7 260X was released 9 – 10 months ago. It is a mid range card; well suited for running a lot of modern games at either medium or low settings, and very suitable for running slightly older games at highest settings. In 2 way crossfire mode, which you can apparently get with HIS and other company cards, the R7 260X can churn out amazing results.

AMD based this small beauty on its signature Bonaire processor. This particular processor technology was also introduced when they released the Radeon HD 7790. Now in case you did not know, AMD also had its Hawaii processor running side by side in another GPU series. Existing AMD customers regarded Hawaii embedded GPUs for competitiveness and performance edge.

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However, Bonaire has improved shaders, better optimization perks and a relatively free environment to encourage developers to develop game engines.  For instance, the Bonaire technology in R7 260X has full support for the MQSAD, A.K.A: Masked Quad Sum of Absolute Difference operations, flat memory addressing and many other things that allow even the cheapest of the GPUs to generate maximum real time results without consuming too much budget or resources.

Now if you look at the photos of my “for review” XFX R7 260X unit, you can see that the card has ports for supporting multiple displays. These ports are evidence of the GPUs capability to support displays on bigger screens and in a multiple LCD setup environment. The general line of these cards is coming with extended support for two DVI monitors and an added display device, which can be connected via an HDMI cable.

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However, seeing that you will be enticed to try out multiple screens on the XFX R7 260X, or any other company’s card, you also have to take into account the load and bottle necking issues. As a matter of fact, the R7 260 X models have been known for freezing issues from time to time. You can search for “freezing issues in R7 260X GPU” anytime at Google.Com.

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One of the main reasons as to why people preferred this GPU over its counterpart: the HD 7790 is because of higher clock speed advantage. The large frame buffer speed comes as a bonus plus point for the new 260X owners. The rest of the specifications are somewhat similar to the HD 7790 series cards. Then again, the frame buffer improvement itself is a core update. This is how the R7 260 X cards succeeded in setting up a new milestone for other companies in the past.

My test bed, rig and game apps for the R7 260X are as followed:

Thanks to my brother and a couple of friends who helped me get this website started, my current test bed components are stated below

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77 UD3H series
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16 Gb 1600 MHz @ 8 X 2 Modules
  • PSU: Cooler Master CM Bronze GX750 Watts
  • Chassis (Not that it contributes much, but increases overall cooling): HAF 932 Full Tower
  • OS: Windows 7

The software used for reviewing R7 260X XFX Gpu were:

  • Fraps
  • Tomb Raider – Both the inbuilt game benchmark demo and the overall game itself.
  • Bioshock Infinite.
  • Crysis 3.

As for Fraps, and some of my testing methods, there are a few things that I would like to clear:

  • People sometimes prefer using FCAT over Fraps because of some discrepancies. For this test, I used Fraps because I get a lot of useful information at the very earliest stages of the rendering pipeline. To add to it, a single monitor was used mostly for all these tests. Especially when I am talking about testing the GPU power on Crysis 3, I have to take into account the monitors, the settings level and advanced visuals customization options.
  • Fraps is also better because it gives detailed insight on latency spikes and micro stuttering.
  • I ran the test twice. I could have run them three times in a row, but past experience with benchmarking software and other hardware tells that if the settings are correct, the results are always identical in majority of the cases.
  • R7 260X XFX noise levels were also monitored. Though at the time of testing, I did not have a good noise measurement device, I relied mostly on the classic TES-52 noise and sound meter. Some deductions were made at the last minute because I am using HAF 932 chassis with additional fan mods – therefore the sound coming in from case fans had to be neglected from the meter reading.
  • XFX R7 260X results on Tomb Raider:

Tomb Raider was a recent release, and I tested the said GPU for through the few levels of the game. The Hair effect was turned off because it was causing stutters. In some cases I did keep Lara’s hair flowing but it was done during areas of the game that were not very graphics intensive.

Tomb Raider 2013 Hunter Edition benchmark stats

Average FPS on Tomb Raider with XFX r7 Gpu and other cards

The overall game settings were kept at high level as compared to the rest of the titles mentioned above. You can see my Tomb Raider settings in the screenie below. For your reference the graph plot significantly gives an edge to the stats on the Y-Axis. It means that throughout the minimum duration of the test, per game title, the XFX R7 260X card gave 40 Fps on the average.

  • XFX R7 260X benchmark stats on Bioshock Infinite:

Irrational Games’ Bioshock Infinite has a very lightweight engine. If you have been visiting ‘Infinarium’ regularly, you already know that I don’t have my 2 way SLI GTX 760 EVGA cards; they were sold to an interested party. That being said, I ran Bioshock on the native motherboard GPU and the game ran fine at minimum settings.

Animation cutscene screenshot from Bioshock Infinite

In this context, the R7 260X did pretty well at Preset graphics options, resolution set to 1920 X 1080p on my Sony TV and rest of the visual settings at high. Empty streets, sudden up and down bob movements and turning around did not return any stutter issues on this card. The overall duration of the test was for a select number of chapters and existing save files.

Bioshock Infinite Benchmark stats for R7 260X

The scene where we have to rescue Elizabeth for the first time from the evil clutches of ComStock’s gigantic tower, it did cause a few horizontal banding issues. In conclusions, the game stats are not very shabby.  99 percent of the frame rate was above average, and sometimes even going beyond the average 25 – 35 Fps limit.

  • Cyrsis 3 was a different story:

Crysis 3 in-game screenshot

Moving on, at the same 1920 X 1080p resolution, Crysis 3 results were not very pleasing. To be honest, the R7 260X card was not meant for this game. The engine was showcased in full running form much later than the time period when AMD made announcement concerning its plans for this GPU.

My settings screenshot of Crysis 3

Number of average frames that i am getting on R7 260X Crysis 3 test

Still, at overall medium graphics settings and the weapon cache sequence in ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ bled out satisfactory results. Considering that my processor and rest of the hardware is also not of extreme gaming category, I did not put more load on the card; it would have been unfair by all standards.

Closing thoughts about the XGX R7 260X – Is it worth buying?

If you have been an Nvidia fan like me, and you are considering switching to AMD and ATI cards, you should know that the R7 260 X is roughly the equivalent of GeForce GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti series cards. In both cases, I cannot recommend this card to hardcore or even above average gamers. It is a good card as long as you are saving for a 2 way CrossFire rig; alone, it won’t generate impressive results.

The card has more memory, more muscle power and overall results improvement as compared to its predecessors. At this time, there are so many other options that I don’t see a point in going for this particular model. XFX overall architecture and card finishing is brilliant.

Sadly, the buyer who bought this card through me, sold it a week later. Since he was having CrossFire compatibility issues, he had to part ways with it. Depending on your seller at Amazon or any other online website, the R7 260X comes with a couple of free bundled game and download offers. For more precise details, you can send me an email at techguy@infinarium.com. My model came with redeem codes and some downloadable content. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 at 9:30 AM and is filed under Accessories, Home Slider, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Casey Nolan

About Casey Nolan

Hello everyone, I am Bilal Malik AKA 'Casey Nolan'; Head Editor and owner of 'Infinarium.Com'. For product reviews, article requests, recommendations, or if you just want to get something off your chest, send me an email at techguy@infinarium.com.

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