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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.

Game Tests: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4

Given the sheer number of titles in the Assassin’s Creed series, it’s a little hard to believe that the first game came out a mere six years ago. You could definitely say that Ubisoft hit the ball out of the park with this one. To date, we’ve never considered an AC game for benchmarking, but given the number of graphical goodies featured in the PC version of Black Flag, that trend now ends.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - 1920x1080

Manual Run-through: The saved game starts us not far from the beginning of the game under a small church which can be climbed to synchronize with the environment. To kick things off, I scale this church and rotate the camera around once, making sure to take in the beautiful landscape; then, I climb back down and run all the way to the water (the top of this small church and the water can be seen in the above screenshot).

Note: For some reason, Ubisoft decided to cap the framerate to 60 FPS in Black Flag even if Vsync is turned off. For most games, this would ruin the chance of it appearing in our benchmarking, but because the game is graphically intensive, I’ve chosen to stick with it, as at higher resolutions, reaching 60 FPS is a perk that will belong only to high-end graphics cards.

AMD Radeon R9 260 - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (1920x1080)

Considering the $30 difference between these GPUs, I expected a much wider delta between the two cards – but not so. Past that, given our high graphics levels, I’d say performance is pretty impressive for a $109 graphics card.

Battlefield 4

Thanks to the fact that DICE cares more about PC gaming than a lot of developers, the Battlefield series tends to give us titles that are well-worth benchmarking. Battlefield 3 offered incredible graphics and became a de facto benchmark immediately, so it’s no surprise, then, that BF4 follows right in its footsteps.

Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080

Manual Run-through: The Singapore level is the target here, with the saved game starting us on an airboat that must be driven to shore, where a massive battle is set to take place. I stop recording the framerate once the tank makes its way to the end of this small patch of beach; in all, the run takes about 3 minutes.

AMD Radeon R9 260 - Battlefield 4 (1920x1080)

It’s clear that BF4‘s top-end settings trump AC4‘s, as the performance is much weaker here. For 1080p / Ultra, a $109 card that can deliver 24 FPS is impressive, but that’s unplayable by all standards, so you’ll want to stick around for our Best Playable results later.


  • 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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