A new budget Radeon is on the way. Say hello to the Radeon R7 260, a $109 graphics card that's scheduled to hit stores in mid-January. The card is powered by a slightly pared-down version of Bonaire, the same chip that powers the existing Radeon R7 260X.
Here's how the Radeon R7 260 compares to its two closest siblings: the R7 260X and the 7790, both of which have Bonaire silicon under the hood:
|Radeon HD 7790||1000||896||56/28||16||6.0 GT/s||128||85W|
|Radeon R7 260||1000||768||48/24||16||6.0 GT/s||128||95W|
|Radeon R7 260X||1100||896||56/28||16||6.5 GT/s||128||115W|
To make the Radeon R7 260, AMD has disabled two of Bonaire's GCN compute units, yielding 768 shader processors and 48 textures filtered per clock. The ROP and geometry engine arrangement has remained intact, meaning that for each clock cycle, 16 pixels are filtered and two triangles are rasterized—the same as on the 7790 and R7 260X. The TrueAudio DSP block has been left unscathed, as well. The only other cuts are on the core clock, memory speed, and memory capacity fronts, where the Radeon R7 260 matches the 7790 but falls short of the R7 260X.
Here's how the specs in the table above translate into peak theoretical rates. We've included the R7 260, its siblings, and its closest competitors from the Nvidia camp:
|Radeon HD 7790||16||56||28||1.8||2.0||96|
|Radeon R7 260||16||48||24||1.5||2.0||96|
|Radeon R7 260X||18||62||31||2.0||2.2||104|
|GeForce GTX 650||8||34||34||0.8||1.1||80|
|GeForce GTX 650 Ti||15||59||59||1.4||1.9||86|
|GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB||25||66||66||1.6||2.1||120|
Speaking from a purely theoretical standpoint—and keeping in mind that theoretical figures don't always track with real-world results—the Radeon R7 260 looks to be quicker across the board than the GeForce GTX 650, a solution that starts at around $107 right now. The Radeon R7 260 also seems like it may hold its own against the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which is a little pricier at $125 (or $110 after a mail-in rebate).
Of course, the R7 260 isn't coming out until next month, and there's no telling how much the GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti will cost then. I should also point out that the Radeon HD 7790, which has a fully enabled Bonaire chip, can be found for as little as $120 (or $100 after a mail-in rebate) at Newegg today. If I were shopping for a graphics card in this price range, I expect I might get that card and skip the four-week wait for the R7 260.
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