|ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP! Edition|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Miles Cheatham|
|Tuesday, 21 October 2008|
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GTX 260 Final Thoughts
There is no doubt in our mind that the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition is an excellent graphics solution and certainly outperforms its predecessor, in some benchmarks the gain is quite significant. However, we would be remiss if we didn't mention a few facts that we feel are very important when it comes to making a choice for your next graphics card. First, and foremost it is our understanding that some of NVIDIA's partners have opted not to offer the 216 stream processor version of this card for sale. This is primarily due to these partners still having a significant supply of the release version of this card in inventory. We can certainly understand this from a financial perspective, especially given the state of the nation's economy.
Next, and probably the most important consideration from a prospective buyer's point of reference is the 216 stream processor version of the GeForce GTX 260 simply a stop-gap measure? We raise this question as we understand that NVIDIA has plans for a die shrink from the current 65nm version of both their GTX 260 and GTX 280 GPUs to a 55nm version. We have no information about when or even if this will take place, but we certainly have read a number of reviews and news articles assuring this is the course NVIDIA plans to follow at some juncture. Any other changes that may also accompany the die shrink of these two leading members of the GTX 200 family would only be speculation at this juncture.
No review about any GTX 200 product would be complete without some discussion of parallel processing and the impact it may have on the future of computing as we know it. While we at Benchmark Reviews are far from being the expert on this topic, we can say that we have seen the benefit first hand and we believe it is certainly here to stay. I have friends that are quite into Folding @ Home. Shortly after the GTX 200 debuted they bought either a GeForce GTX 280 or GTX 260 to experiment with as they had heard that the parallel in these products would expand their daily output exponentially. Utilizing the same system components except for the change to the GTX 200 series increased their daily output from eight to ten-fold. This is merely a beginning for the capabilities of parallel computing and we are very excited about the potential gains this technology has to offer. While this technology transcends NVIDIA's 8XXX, 9XXX, and GTX 200 series there is no doubt the GTX 200 series certainly outperforms the others by a significant margin.
There is probably no gamer out there that isn't aware of both NVIDIA's purchase of PysX Technology from AGEIA and the impact that this will have on their gaming experience. Presently the number of games that support PhysX are limited to around 150 titles, but more developers are buying in to this technology daily to give their clients a richer, much more immersive gaming experience. I have seen demos and played actual games that support PhysX and the differences are amazing.
Probably the single most impressive feature of the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition aside from its breathtaking performance is how quiet, yet cool the card is. This product uses the standard NVIDIA reference design with the standard squirrel cage fan used on all of the standard GTX 200 series card. The fan's settings are set at the same 40% threshold as all of the other GTX 200 series products that I've tested in the past and yet this card is subjectively much quieter. Apparently as evidenced by our thermal testing there is no untoward effect to the cooling which is also quite good for a graphics solution that has this type of performance. In my overclocking I turned the fan's threshold up to 60% and the audible difference was barely noticeable and the card stayed quite cool.