MSI Radeon R7 260X OC full review
What do you get if you buy a graphics cards for under £100 these days? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Here's our EVGA GeForce GTX 750 SuperClock vs MSI Radeon R7 260X OC comparison review.
Of course, we're not talking about graphical showcases of everything that's spectacular and sublime - a flagship card will set you back £300, while for the most glorious results at quad-HD resolutions over multiple monitors you'll still be looking at upwards of £500. However, these cards will let you play the latest games at decent frame rates - just as long as you're happy to do without maximum-ultra detail or are satisfied to play at lower resolutions. See also: best graphics cards of 2015.
Only have £65 to spend? Read our Asus GeForce GT 740 OC vs Sapphire Radeon R7 250X comparison review
The EVGA GeForce GTX 750 SuperClock is based around nVidia's GeForce GTX 750, a chip that was released in early 2014 alongside its slightly more powerful brother, the 750 Ti - which itself sits at just over £100.
Both the 750 and 750 Ti marked a radical shift for nVidia. Gone was the desire to pump the most pixels out of the silicon. Instead, these chips aimed to produce similar performance to previous-generation products, but while consuming much less power. In truth, this was always going to make this a slightly underwhelming product, since you were sacrificing the expected speed improvement in order to obtain lower consumption - and lower consumption, while laudable, is hardly calculated to excite or thrill.
The Radeon R7 260X, on the other hand, came out in late 2013, and proved to be a far more conventional grab for frame rates - even if it was really little more than a slightly enhanced version of the old but faithful friend, the HD 7790.
At first glance, the cards may seem a little disappointing. The 750 even comes with just 1GB of memory - at this higher price-point, we'd prefer to see 2GB.
We've already seen in our GeForce GT 740 vs Radeon R7 250X review that there's a significant jump in performance between £45 and £65 graphics cards. However, on paper an extra £24 doesn't seem to make much difference to the GTX 750 and R7 260X's specifications.
Take the memory sub-system, for instance. Both cards are still hampered by 128-bit buses. In this regard, graphics cards haven't really come very far in recent years, with most offering buses no wider than those of the products from the end of the last decade. And compared to their cheaper rivals, overall memory speed seems to be little changed. Whereas the Radeon R7 250X and GeForce GT 740 OC offered effective memory clocks of 4.5 to 5GHz, the GTX 750 OverClock pushes up to only 5.012GHz. The 260X fares a little better, but even here we're looking at 6GHz - a solid but not amazing jump.
In fairness to these cards, even far more expensive cards struggle to get much above these figures - the sizzling £300 Radeon R9 290X, for instance, manages just 5GHz. Clearly, then, overall figures are just one part of the equation. But even so, it's notable that the GTX 750's memory bandwidth figure of 80.2GB/sec is identical to that of the GT 240, and not that much of an improvement on the R7 250X's 72GB/sec. In part, that's because of the 750's emphasis on power consumption. The R7 260X, with its more typical speed-oriented approach, offers a rather more expansive bandwidth figure of 96GB/sec.
The GTX 750 does tout a rather stellar core clock speed of 1294MHz. This outstanding figure towers over the R7 260X's 1050MHz, and casts an even longer shadow over the 950-1033MHz specs of the £65 cards. But, as we've seen already with the GT 740, high core clock speed means rather less than the number of texture units. And here the R7 260X wins decisively, brandishing a mighty 56 of them. The 750 has a particularly disappointing complement of 32, which places it only on a par with the lowly GT 740, and which leaves it trailing the cheaper Radeon R7 260X's 40 texture units. So while the 750 does have a better texture fill rate than the £65 cards, its overall figure of 41.4GT/sec is only a minor improvement on those cards' figures of 33.1 to 38GT/sec. And the 260X scorches ahead, notching up a stunning 58.8GT/sec.
The 260X also fares much better on stream processors, offering 896 of them to the 750's 512. We've noted already that the Radeon architecture tends to favour large numbers of stream processors. But once again it's a reminder that, in terms of hardware specifications, the Radeon R7 260X OC is very much the victor over its power-conscious rival, the GTX 750. But if it is indeed power that drives you on, you'll relish the 750. So conservative is it, it doesn't even require additional power from the PSU - the 260X, in contrast, requires an extra 6pin connector. And the 750's TDP of 60 watts is almost half that of the 260X OC's 115 watts. In the real world, the gap isn't quite as big, but we were regularly detecting drops of more than 45 watts between the 750 and the 260X. The 750 is quieter as well. See also: best graphics cards of 2015.
EVGA GeForce GTX 750 SuperClock vs MSI Radeon R7 260X OC comparison: Benchmark results
These being the most expensive cards in the test, you would expect some good frame rates from them. And, indeed, these sub-£100 products can handle games even at the relatively high resolution of 1920x1200. We say 'relatively', because top-end cards can, of course, drive multi-screen systems with resolutions several times those of these cards. But if you're running a single-screen setup, these cards will be adequate - although it's always worth spending a little more if you can afford it. But both cards can work many of our tests at comfortably-playable frame rates of 45fps. 50fps is ideal for smooth results, of course, which makes the R7 260X the best buy of these two. Put simply, the 750 is too much of a compromise, tailored as it is towards conserving power. Given the apparent disparity between the cards on paper, the 750 is actually surprisingly close to its rival. But we were still seeing average increases of 3-4fps - and, in Crysis 3, a gap of almost 7fps.
MSI Radeon R7 260X OC: Specs
- AMD Radeon R7 260X
- 2 GB GDDR5
- 1050MHz core clock
- 1500 MHz memory clock (6GHz DDR effective)
- 128-bit memory interface
- 896 stream processors
- 56 texture units
- 16 ROP units
- PCI-E interface
- DirectX 11
- 2x DVI, 1x HDMI
- 1x DP
- 1x 6-pin PSU connector
- 3-year warranty
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