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Zotac GeForce GTX 260/280 AMP!

Decent potential and a good game bundled.

August 26, 2008



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Performance tests

Testbed

  • Intel Core2 Extreme QX9650 (3000 MHz) CPU
  • Zotac 790i Ultra motherboard on NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra
  • 2GB DDR3 SDRAM Corsair 2000MHz (CAS (tCL)=5, RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=5, Row Precharge (tRP)=5, tRAS=15)
  • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA hard drive
  • Tagan TG900-BZ 900W PSU
  • Windows Vista 32bit SP1, DirectX 10.1
  • Dell 3007WFP 30-inch monitor
  • ATI CATALYST 8.5; NVIDIA Forceware 177.34
  • VSync disabled

Benchmarks

  • Call Of Juarez (Techland/Ubisoft) -- DirectX 9.0, Shaders 3.0 (HDR), maximum quality settings; demo, batch file included.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 1.003 (GSC Game World/THQ) -- DirectX 9.0, maximum quality settings (dynamic lighting enabled); demo, copy files to the savegames folder, run the game, load level 'ixbt3', and type "demo_play ixbt3" in the console.
  • 3DMark Vantage 1.00 (FutureMark) -- DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, multitexturing, 'Extreme' settings.
  • CRYSIS 1.2 (Crytek/EA), DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, 'Very High' settings, levels 'Rescue' and 'Harbor'; batch file, e-mail us to obtain the timedemo. We express gratitude to CRYTEK for creating a timedemo for iXBT.com / Digit-Life.
  • Company Of Heroes Opposing Fronts (Relic Entertainment/THQ) -- DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, maximum quality settings; batch file, run the game, invoke graphics settings and click the test button.
  • World In Conflict 1.007 (Massive Entertainment/Sierra) -- DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, 'Very High' settings with adjusted AA and AF; run the game, invoke graphics settings and click the test button.
  • 3DMark06 1.10 (FutureMark) -- DirectX 9.0c, multitexturing, 'Trilinear' settings.

Note that performance charts are located on a dedicated page, because they don't fit a reasonable resolution.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Performance charts: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.



World In Conflict

Performance charts: World In Conflict



CRYSIS, Rescue, DX10, Very High

Performance charts: CRYSIS, Rescue, DX10, Very High



CRYSIS, Harbor, DX10, Very High

Performance charts: CRYSIS, Harbor, DX10, Very High



Call Of Juarez

Performance charts: CoJ



Company Of Heroes

Performance charts: CoH



3DMark Vantage: Graphics MARKS

Performance charts: 3DMark Vantage: Graphics MARKS



3DMark06: SHADER 2.0 MARKS

Performance charts: 3DMark06 SM2.0 MARKS



3DMark06: SHADER 3.0 MARKS

Performance charts: 3DMark06 SM3.0 MARKS



Conclusions

Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP! 896MB is a very interesting product. It fits between 9800 GTX and GTX 280, getting closer to the latter. Besides, overclocking yields good results.

Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! 1024MB is almost the most powerful graphics card to date (which yields to BFG GeForce GTX 280 OCX 1024MB though).

Note that the bundle includes the Grid game, which is not a bad choice.

Also note that BFG is not the only company to offer long warranties anymore. Zotac provides a 5-year warranty for all its products, which is really enough, because the card will be long outdated before these five years are over.

Zotac GeForce GTX 260 AMP! 896MB and Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! 1024MB get our Excellent Package award.

To find more information about performance of various cards, visit our monthly special i3DSpeed.

Afterword

A few words about our benchmarks.

In our updated article about FRAPS, we have illustrated how crude and inaccurate tests with this utility are. Testers do not have other tools, except for benchmarks built into games.

This article and its first part explain that it's sometimes possible to test games with integrated and identically looped demos. Although this implies lots of potential errors, since measurement accuracy depends on a given tester: whether he starts/stops FRAPS in time or does it too late/early.

But I have run across situations, when demo load changes abruptly in the very beginning or end. So a half-second delay in starting/stopping the utility changes the average FPS by 15-20%. That's not a measurement error anymore - such a test is a total waste of time. One time you delay the test, another time you start it too early (not intentionally, of course), and you end up with absolutely different performance results.

But even that's not the most important thing. The fact is, there are almost no games with built-in demos anymore. So, testers are forced to use a method that we deem totally unacceptable. They measure gaming performance by walking a straight line from the a starting point in a scene to a selected destination (the nearest fence, tree, etc.).

We all understand that it's impossible to navigate to a finish spot in precisely the same route with different cards and in different resolutions. Besides, such games always introduce random elements into a scene, and objects may be placed slightly differently on the same scene.

Unfortunately, websites that publish a huge number of tests do not always reveal their test methods for each game (except for those with built-in benchmarks).

So, we believe that it's better to offer a limited number of game tests, but each will be crystal clear, accurate and showing actual differences between graphics cards.


We express gratitude to
Zotac and Robert Wislowski
for the provided graphics card.

PSU provided by TAGAN,
Monitor provided by NVIDIA.

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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Cooling, bundles, packages

Page 3: Performance tests, conclusions



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