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A year ago, Nvidia has announced their GeForce GTX200 series graphic card; GTX280 and GTX260 where GTX260 is the mainstream model while GTX280 is performance model. Today we are going to review GeForce GTX260+ from Galaxy which is the overclocked version. Based on the specification, Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is able to gain 8% performance boost in gaming averagely. Let us have a quick look on this interesting graphic card.
Long established since 1994. GALAXY was officially formed and is fully dedicated in the manufacturing / distribution of quality computer components. Head office in Hong Kong and ISO9001 certified manufacturing plant & facility in China, this combination of business structure enables us the leading advantages by our.
Business growth is enormous, in the early 2000, we have taken an major step by launching our own brands namely Glacier and Zeus, leading to today's GALAXY. The encouraging result and feedback confirmed our strategy of brand awareness to be a success, whilst gaining an extensive network around the globe through channel partner, reputable large scale chain stores and the hottest online e-tailers.
Package & Contents
Same with other galaxy's graphic cards, their GeForce GTX260+ is packed nicely and Galaxy likes black color quite much as black color is the major color for most of their products' packaging ID. We have seen at least three models for Galaxy GeForce GTX260+; single fan, dual fans and even triple fans so be sure the right one is selected.
We hope in future all these products are well published at Galaxy's website as currently not all the models are online which is quite confusing especially for those are not familiar with what they are looking for and it is hard to do comparison too. Anyway as you can see, some high quality non breakable foams are used to protect this giant graphic card; Galaxy GeForce GTX260+.
Besides the Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ graphic card itself, other accessories that come along are SPDIF audio cable, DVI-VGA adapter, TV-out dongle & adapter, 2 x MOLEX to 6-pin PCI dongle, Xtreme Tuner CD & guide, driver & software CD, and quick start guide. Xtreme Tuner is a smart and intelligent overclocking software including BIOS recovering, temperature and fan speed monitoring.
Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ that we are reviewing today comes with dual DVI and TV-out connectors so some other converter adapters are included such as DVI-to-VGA, DVI-to-HDMI and a TV-out to component video adapters. Besides that other cables are provided too such as SPDIF audio-in, TV-out extension and two dual MOLEX to 6-pin PCI-E dongles which is useful for those PSUs without such cable.
A Closer Look - Galaxy GTX260+
Let us start with some brief product specification of Nvidia GeForce GTX260+ before we really look into this overclocked version from Galaxy. Nvidia GeForce GTX260+ supports 2-way/3-way SLI, PureVideo HD, PhysX, CUDA (parallel computing architecture), HybridPower (performance dial up or downshift), DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1 and so on. PhysX is used to deliver real time, hyper realistic physical & environmental gaming effects while PureVideo HD for delivering superb video quality with low CPU utilization when playing Blue-ray or HD DVD.
Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is using the similar PCB of Nvidia reference PCB so the dimension is roughly the same; 267 x 111 mm (height x length). With the stock cooler, the maximum GPU temperature of Nvidia GeForce 260+ is 105C and the maximum graphic card power is ~ 182W hence the recommended minimum system power requirement is 500W; at least 40A on the 12V rail and two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors (MOLEX to 6-pin PCI-E adapter is inlcuded for those PSUs without or only have single 6-pin power connector).
Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is considered a mainstream to performance graphic card and with its 192 processor core and high processor speed, a dual slot VGA cooler is required hence this card will consume two PCI slots. For Galaxy GeForce GTX260+, Galaxy has changed the stock cooler to Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo which is one of the top graphic card coolers in the market with its outstanding and silent performance. Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo is able to cool down up to 120W graphic card and around 26°C lower than stock cooler averagely. Besides that this cooler only generates 0.6 Sone noise level; 50% lesser than the stock cooler.
As we mentioned before, there are few Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ models; some with HDMI connector while some do not and our sample today is the without HDMI version. Our Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ sample comes with two DVI connectors and one TV-out connector. Since such giant and heavy dual-slot VGA cooler is used, a supporting bar is enclosed to strengthen the PCB which is quite common for a high end graphic card.
Once we flip over the Galaxy GeForce GTX260+, we found that there are plenty of screws which are used to fasten the Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo (4), the memory heatsink (5), and the GPU cap protector (4) on the PCB. Besides that the Nvidia video output controller is also come with a small aluminum heatsink with push-pin.
After remove off the Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo and other heatsinks, here are the naked PCB of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+. Although the PCB of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is quite similar with the Nvidia reference PCB but actually it is different as Galaxy has their own PCB design if you look carefully; maybe for achieving the desired overclocking specifications. Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ can support 2-way or 3-way SLI and hence it has two SLI connectors compare with those 2-way SLI graphic card where only single SLI connector is available.
Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is using B3 version chipset which is 55nm die with 487mm2 (216 stream processor) while the older die is using 65nm with 576mm2 die size. The whole die is protected by the protective cap as such big die is fragile especially when it is mounted with such giant cooler. Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ comes with 625/1350/1050MHz (core/shader/memory) VS standard NVIDIA GeForce GTX260 576/1242/999MHz; almost 9% increment for the core speed.
For the memory, Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is having the same memory capacity with standard Nvidia GTX260; 896MB. There are total 14 memory chips and it is from Samsung K4J52324QH; 512Mbits GDDR3 SDRAM with maximum frequency of 1.2GHz. Other standard memory specifications of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ are 448-bit memory interface width, 111.9 GB/s memory bandwidth.
Besides the GPU and memory chips, another major chipset of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is the Nvidia video output controller (NVIVO) which is used to control HD video acceleration, high definition content protection (HDCP). Although the Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo is using 4-pin connector but 3-pin connector is provided as well.
As we mentioned at above, Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors in order to power it up and at least 40A for 12V rail. Most of the modern PSU shouldn't have any problem to support such requirement as they have either dual 12V rails or even quad 12v rails. One of the unique features of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is the dual BIOS functionality which is quite new for graphic card although it is widely being promoted on motherboard sector; additional protection if BIOS corrupted.
If you have been following graphic card market lately then you may notice that besides the stock cooler, the next most popular cooler is the Artic Cooling Accelero graphic card cooler. This Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ comes with four copper heat pipes, 30 aluminum fins and two ultra quiet 80mm fans with low noise impeller. Besides that RAM and voltage regulator aluminum heatsinks are included too since both of these components also generate quite amount of heat so a proper cooling is required.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Hardware installation for Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is nothing unique compares with other graphic cards but since Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is a dual PCI slots cooler then it has to be installed more carefully especially with such giant and heavy cooler. Overall we didn't encounter any installation issue but the aluminum fins of Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo will slightly block the inner PCI-E power connector; not really a fatal problem, just need to do it carefully.
Most of the hardcore users will use Riva Tuner for graphic card overclocking since it is one of the common and great graphic card overclocking tools but Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ comes with Xtreme Tuner which is Galaxy own overclocking software. Xtreme Tuner is a free software and it is bundled together with Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ which allows users to overclock the GPU core, memory as well as the shader in both 2D and 3D modes. Besides that it does allow fan speed monitoring, fan speed mode adjustment (manual or auto) as well as real time temperature monitoring. Overall we found that this tool is extremely easy to use where user just needs to adjust the desired overclocking speed then follow by "Test" and finally "Apply" if the overcloking is successful. Repeat it again till the max then fine tune with its stability through some gamings or benchmarking.
Here are the default and overclocked specification of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ by using GPU-Z 0.3.4. As you can see Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is made by 55nm technology with B1 revision, 487mm2 die size and 1400M transistors. With the Xtreme Tuner, we are able to clock the Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ from 625/1050/1350MHz (core/mememory/shader) to 675/1650/2700MHz (the overclocked settings still need to be fine tuned for better stability). With such amazing result, it proves that why Galaxy has decided to launch this overclocked version of Nvidia GeForce GTX260 as it has such great overclocking ability.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3
Heatsink: Noctua NH-C12P
Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR2 8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX260+
PSU: In Win Commander 750W
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Optical Drive: DVD RW
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Operating System: Microsoft XP Pro SP2/Vista Home Premium
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Now let us focus on the performance of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+. The results above showed that Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ performs much better compares with its predecessor; Nvidia GeForce 9800GT. Besides that we also included the Galaxy benchmark results to cover those gaming benchmarks that we have missed. Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ has averagely 8% performance boosts against the standard version in real life gaming applications which is great for those are tired and lazy to do the manual overclocking on the standard version.
For the noise and temperature, the Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo of Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is doing a very good job here where the full load temperature is just around 70°C; around 35°C much lower than the Nvidia official temperature for GeForce GTX260 with stock cooler. Besides that due to the ultra quiet fans of Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo, the noise is greatly reduced until we have no idea whether the system is powered up or not because we are used to the loud start up noise of Nvida GeForce 8800GT (stock cooler version). Anyway Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ only produces around half of the noise compare with the Nvidia stock cooler.
Nvidia GeForce GTX260 is not a new released graphic card but as usual Galaxy has modified their product to mark its uniqueness compare with other graphic card makers and this time Galaxy has launched the overclocked version of Nvidia GeForce GTX260. Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is definitely a wise choice for those are looking for decent performance graphic card with reasonable price as well as good overclocking ability. Besides that the famous graphic card cooler; Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo was chosen for this Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ to improve its cooling performance, reduce noise as well as better overclocking ability. Furthermore, Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ is only being sold at 168USD which is really worth compare with other mainstream graphic cards with the similar price.
+ Overclocked version with faster speed
+ With Artic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo
+ Low GPU temperature
+ Great overclocking ability
+ Low noise level
+ 2-way/3-way SLI
+ Great performance with reasonable price
+ Xtreme Tuner overclocking software
- Requires dual-PCI slots
- Two 6-pins PCI-E power connectors needed
Thanks to Galaxy for providing this sample for us to review.
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