The AMD Radeon R7 260X a refresh of the Asus Direct CU II Radeon HD 7790 that we reviewed last year, is the company’s main strike against Nvidia’s lock on the Amd Radeon R7 Black Friday Deals 2021 budget graphics card market. Like the Asus HD 7790, the R7 260X($288.99 at Amazon) is based on the company’s Bonaire GPU, with 896 stream processors, a 128-bit path to main memory, 56 texture mapping units, and 16 render outputs. The graphics card features two DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort and can drive up to three monitors off one card. The R7 260X improves on the Asus HD 7790 in three ways. First, it doubles its onboard RAM buffer, up to 2GB, from 1GB. Second, it’s clocked higher—the HD 7790 was clocked at 1GHz core clock and 1,500MHz memory, while the R7 260X clocks in at 1,100 MHz core and 1,625MHz for a gain of 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Third, it’s cheaper, with a base price of $139 for a 2GB card, as opposed to $149 for the 1GB card. Open and shut case, right? Not exactly. This is where things get a little complicated. While the R7 260X is a straightforward refresh of the Radeon 7790, it turns out that the Bonaire GPU core that powers both cards isn’t just a slimmer version of the AMD Radeon 7850/ AMD Radeon R9 270X. This budget GPU shares multiple features with the AMD R9 290X, which is AMD’s highest-end, most powerful GPU when it launches later this fall. These features AMD spent much time talking up its new TrueAudio technology in the R9 290X. The company has integrated a DSP from Tensilica that card—and, as it turns out, into Bonaire as well.
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Thus, the R7 260X , AMD Radeon 7790, and R9 290X will be the only AMD GPUs to support this capability—the AMD R9 270X and MSI R9 280X Gaming 3G won’t have it. AMD has talked up the use of this onboard DSP as a game changer for audio processing, but there aren’t any games or even tech demos that can be used to objectively evaluate the capabilityThe Radeon R7 250 is the cheapest AMD GPU which is capable of playing modern games at 1,920×1,080 at reasonable detail levels. The R7 250 can also get all the power it needs from the PCI Express socket, so doesn’t need an extra PCI Express power connector. A standard R7 250, such as the Sapphire R7 250 model below, is based on the AMD Oland XT architecture, with 384 GPU cores and a core 1GHz clock speed.
Confusingly, Sapphire’s passively-cooled Radeon R7 250 is actually a rebranded Radeon HD 7750, so is based on the Cape Verde PRO core, with 512 GPU cores and an 800MHz clock speed. This architecture is a couple of years old, but as we show below, the GPU can still hold its own in games The faster R7 250X is based on the Cape Verde architecture, and the stock design has the same 1GHz clock speed as the R7 250. However, the R7 250X has 640 GPU cores, so is significantly quicker.
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The card is unusual in having a VGA port for older monitors and has HDMI, but the DVI port is only single-link. This means the highest-resolution monitor the card can drive over a digital connection is 1,920×1,200, so those wanting to use 2,560×1,440-pixel or higher screens should look elsewhere.In our tougher Tomb Raider test, which we run at 1,920×1,080 with Ultra quality and 2xSSAA (see the Buying Guide for an explanation of how SSAA works) the card managed just 15.9fps. Switching SSAA for the less-demanding FXAA and dropping detail to High made this jump up to a playable 32.8fps.
Our toughest game test is the Metro: Last Light Redux post-apocalyptic shooter. At our standard settings of 1,920×1,080 with Very High detail and tessellation and SSAA enabled, the R7 250 could only manage a crawling 8fps. To make the game playable we had to drop detail to Low and turn off tessellation and SSAA, which gave us 41fps, but the game isn’t nearly as pretty at these settings. The R7 250 isn’t a bad card for its low price, but an extra £20 or so will get you the much quicker MSI R7 260X, which is more capable in the latest games.
The last of AMD’s budget cards we’ve tested is the R7 260X. This has a Bonaire XTX GPU, and its 896 GPU cores run as standard at 1,150MHz, representing a significant step up from the Radeon R7 250XThe Sapphire Radeon R7 250 1GB is the only AMD card we’ve tested slim enough not to block the expansion slot underneath it when fitted. It’s also only 150mm long, so will fit in all cases apart from low-profile ones.
The card is bus-powered, so you certainly won’t need a power supply upgrade to install it. It’s not a powerful card, however. In our least-challenging game test, Dirt Showdown, at our standard Desktop PC settings of 1,920×1,080, Ultra quality and 4x anti-aliasing, the card managed an average 25.2fps, with the frame Amd Radeon R7 Black Friday Deals 2021 rate sometimes dropping as low as 19.8fps. This is too slow for smooth gameplay, but dropping the quality to High bumped up the frame rate to a much smoother 46.2fps.