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XFX GeForce GTX 260 Black Edition
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by Rob Williams on October 31, 2008 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

No matter your need for graphics power, the choice of GPUs right now is fantastic. Where high-end gamers are concerned, two popular options are the HD 4870 1GB and the GTX 260/216. We’re taking a look at XFX’s latest release of the latter, which features such an impressive factory overclock, it manages to keep up to the GTX 280.

Unreal Tournament III

As odd as it may seem, every single game we currently use for our graphic card benchmarking is a sequel or an entry in a series of games, including this one. The original Unreal Tournament launched in late 1999, and since then, it has become a stature with GPU benchmarking. Similar to Call of Duty, the UT series of games is one that manages to deliver spectacular graphics, but doesn’t require a bleeding-edge machine to see them.

UTIII offers a variety of modes and levels, and has some of the most interesting and lush environments ever seen in a video game. If I could choose where I wanted to die, it would most likely be in the Gateway level, which you can see in the screenshot below. This level is one of the most interesting in the game as it’s essentially three levels in one, linked together with portals – and it’s hard to beat the feeling of scoring a portal frag.

The game might be one of the best-looking currently on the PC, but it doesn’t offer robust in-game settings like some others in our suite. Because of this, we are forced to enable anti-aliasing in the control panel of the current graphics card. Both ATI’s and NVIDIA’s drivers allow us to choose 4xAA, so that’s what we stick with throughout all of our testing.

Just like our previous tests, the GTX 260/216 performs favorably alongside the GTX 280. It doesn’t manage to exceed the big brother’s performance, but once again, it comes excruciatingly close.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
55.479 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
78.909 FPS
XFX GTX 260/216 896MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
72.954 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
72.148 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
57.617 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
48.874 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX+ 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
47.707 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
43.781 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
42.228 FPS

UTIII is one game where poor FPS equals lots of deaths, so hitting at least 60 FPS on average is imperative. We didn’t manage to see that happen with Anti-Aliasing, but removing it boosted the performance and the gameplay became a silky-smooth experience.