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The $109 Console-killer GPU: AMD’s Radeon R7 260 Graphics Card Reviewed
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AMD Radeon R7 260
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by Rob Williams on December 23, 2013 in AMD-Based GPU

No one should be surprised at the fact that testing out $500 graphics cards is fun, but with the right perspective, budget cards can be, too. Take the $109 AMD Radeon R7 260, for example, which has debuted following flagship console releases. With that in mind, let’s see what such an affordable GPU can pull off at the much-loved 1080p resolution.

Test System & Methodology

At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous and time-consuming, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our test-bed specifications, but also a detailed look at how we conduct our testing.

Test Machine

The below table lists our testing machine’s hardware, which remains unchanged throughout all GPU testing, minus the GPU. Each card used for comparison is also listed here, along with the driver version used.

  Graphics Card Test System
Processors Intel Core i7-4960X – Six-Core @ 4.50GHz
Motherboard ASUS P9X79-E WS
Memory Kingston HyperX Beast 32GB (4x8GB) – DDR3-2133 11-12-11
Graphics AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB (Catalyst 13.12)
AMD Radeon R7 260 1GB (Catalyst 13.12)
Audio Onboard
Storage Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD
Power Supply Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
Chassis Cooler Master Storm Trooper Full-Tower
Cooling Thermaltake WATER3.0 Extreme Liquid Cooler
Displays ASUS PB278Q 27″ 2560×1440
Dell P2210H 22″ 1920×1080 x 3
Et cetera Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

When preparing our test-beds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:

General Guidelines

  • No power-saving options are enabled in the motherboard’s BIOS.
  • No virus scanner or firewall is installed.
  • The OS is kept clean; no scrap files are left in between runs.
  • Machine has proper airflow and the room temperature is 80°F (27°C) or less.

To aid with the goal of keeping accurate and repeatable results, we alter certain services in Windows 7 from starting up at boot. This is due to the fact that these services have the tendency to start up in the background without notice, potentially causing inaccurate test results. For example, disabling “Windows Search” turns off the OS’ indexing which can at times utilize the hard drive and memory more than we’d like.

The services we disable are:

  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Search
  • Windows Update

For further fine-tuning, we also use Windows’ “Classic” desktop theme, which gets rid of the transparency that can sometimes utilize a GPU in the background.

Vendor Favortism

Sometimes, either AMD or NVIDIA will work with a game studio to help their development process along. As history has proven, this often results in a game that is tuned better for one vendor over the other, although sometimes the tides can change over time, resulting in the opposite vendor offering the better experience.

One of our goals is to provide as neutral a benchmarking suite as possible, so while it’s impossible to avoid games sponsored by either of these companies, we can at least make an effort to achieve a blended list. As it stands, our current game list and their partners are:

(AMD) – Battlefield 4
(AMD) – Crysis 3
(AMD) – Sleeping Dogs
(NVIDIA) – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
(NVIDIA) – Metro: Last Light
(NVIDIA) – Splinter Cell Blacklist
(Neutral) – GRID 2
(Neutral) – Total War: SHOGUN 2

With that, let’s move on to a quick look at the game settings we use in our testing:

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag Benchmark Settings

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 Benchmark Settings

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 Benchmark Settings

Crysis 3 Benchmark Settings

GRID 2

GRID 2 Benchmark Settings

GRID 2 Benchmark Settings

GRID 2 Benchmark Settings

Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light Benchmark Settings

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs Benchmark Settings

Sleeping Dogs Benchmark Settings

Splinter Cell Blacklist

Splinter Cell Blacklist Benchmark Settings

Splinter Cell Blacklist Benchmark Settings

Total War: SHOGUN 2

Total War SHOGUN 2 Benchmark Settings

Unigine Heaven

Unigine Heaven 4 Benchmark Settings


  • http://www.youtube.com/user/no6969el Noel Barcellos

    Not sure if the 260 has support for mantle like you suggested at the end of your article. Other than that great set of information, I think I might just get one for my lady.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      Here’s a slide out of the press deck showing support for Mantle on this GPU. It’s a smart move by AMD… it’s frustrating when companies lob off technologies like these on lower-end parts.

    • RainMotorsports

      GCN is 7730 on up and not sure what GCN version Mantle “requires” 7770 is 1.0 7790 is 1.1. But the R7 240 and above should support mantle if I am not mistaken.

  • christianh

    As I say on every review site… Why test this level card with such a high-priced CPU…?

    It will still be GPU limited with an i5 or Richland…

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      The other option would be using a modest CPU and risking the introduction of some bottleneck. That’s not the point here. The PC itself is kept 100% identical; all that changes is the GPU. Which is important, because that’s the focus.

    • RainMotorsports

      In GPU testing nothing but the GPU and driver should ever change. If he swaps the CPU out the results should be considered invalid no matter what any other data says otherwise. Its not very scientific to change static variables.

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