A few weeks ago, rumor sites forecast the imminent arrival of enhanced GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards with more stream processors than before. This morning, a Zotac press release announcing two such cards has found its way into our inbox.
Zotac's PR trumpets the launch of the new GeForce GTX 260² and GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition. The former matches the 576MHz core clock, 1242MHz shader clock, 896MB of 999MHz GDDR3 memory, and 448-bit memory bus of the original GTX 260, but with 216 stream processors instead of 192. Zotac says the extra SPs yield "performance gains up to 10-percent in the latest DirectX 10, OpenGL 2.1 and CUDA enabled 3D games and software applications."
The GeForce GTX AMP²! Edition is a slightly different animal, because Zotac has pumped up its clock speeds generously: the GPU core runs at 650MHz, shaders tick away at 1400MHz, and GDDR3 memory runs at 1050MHz (that's an effective 2100MT/s thanks to DDR3).
Zotac's official list prices put the GeForce GTX 260² and GeForce GTX 260 AMP²! Edition at $299 and $329, respectively—quite a bit higher than current street prices for first-gen GTX 260s, which retail for as little as $239.99 at Newegg. We'll have to see how street prices work out on these new cards. Interestingly, Nvidia decided to retain the GeForce GTX 260 name, so the 216-SP product could simply replace the older GTX 260 over time. One of these cards just arrived on our doorstep yesterday and is awaiting its turn in Damage Labs now. Can this tweak give the GTX 260 the edge over the Radeon HD 4870? Stay tuned.