iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






GeForce GTX 260 or RADEON HD 4870 1024MB

Which is better for about $300?

March 10, 2009

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Performance tests


  • Intel Core2 Extreme QX9650 (3000 MHz) CPU
  • Zotac 790i Ultra motherboard on NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra
  • 2GB DDR3 SDRAM Corsair 2000MHz
  • 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 8.12; NVIDIA 181.20 drivers
  • VSync disabled


  • Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft) -- DirectX 10.0, shaders 4.0 (HDR), built-in benchmarking utility (the Middle level), maximum settings.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky 1.507 (GSC Game World/THQ) -- DirectX 10.0, maximum quality settings, dynamic lighting enabled (that's why the game doesn't support antialiasing); demo, copy files to the savegames folder, run the game, load level 'ixbt4', and type "demo_play ixbt4" in the console.
  • 3DMark Vantage 1.02 (FutureMark) -- DirectX 10.0, shaders 4.0, multitexturing, 'Extreme' settings.
  • CRYSIS 1.2 (Crytek/EA), DirectX 10.0, shaders 4.0, 'Very High' settings, 'Rescue' level; batch file, e-mail us to obtain the timedemo.
  • CRYSIS Warhead (Crytek/EA), DirectX 10.0, shaders 4.0, 'Very High' settings, 'Cargo' level; batch file, e-mail us to obtain the timedemo.
  • Company Of Heroes Opposing Fronts (Relic Entertainment/THQ) -- DirectX 10.0, shaders 4.0, maximum 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.
  • Devil May Cry 4 (CAPCOM) -- DirectX 10.0, 'Super High' settings with adjusted AA and AF; Scene 1.
  • Lost Planet Extreme Condition Colonies Edition (CAPCOM) -- DirectX 10.0, 'Super High' settings (with adjusted AA and AF); Scene 1.

Note that performance charts are located on dedicated pages.

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

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 Warhead, Cargo, DX10, Very High

Performance charts: CRYSIS Warhead, Cargo, DX10, Very High

Far Cry 2

Performance charts: Far Cry 2

Company Of Heroes

Performance charts: CoH

3DMark Vantage, Graphics MARKS

Performance charts: 3DMark Vantage, Graphics MARKS

Devil May Cry 4, SCENE1

Performance charts: Devil May Cry 4, SCENE1

Lost Planet EC Colonies, SCENE1

Performance charts: Lost Planet EC Colonies, SCENE1


The overhauled GeForce GTX 260 outperforms its rivals noticeably (given the prices are similar). There are some exceptions, of course. Perhaps, performance ratings may change with the release of new drivers. But on the whole we admit that NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 is the best choice for the 300-dollar budget.

As for frequencies, there have already appeared overclocked modifications of both 4870 and GTX 260 cards. So it makes no sense to consider frequencies alone. Besides, don't forget that GeForce cards offer more performance per 1 MHz.

HIS IceQ4 RADEON HD 4870 Turbo 1024MB is an excellent product with a noiseless and efficient cooling system and a good bundle (with a bonus even). As for the competition with GeForce cards, prices decide everything here. If this card is cheaper, it's a success.

PALIT RADEON HD 4870 Sonic 1024MB offers an interesting range of connectors for any monitor, but it lacks a TV-out. Its cooler is also efficient. The bundle is rather mediocre. The final decision also depends on prices.

As for performance differences between 512MB and 1024MB editions of RADEON HD 4870, we have already analyzed this issue and haven't found any differences, except for several games.

We express gratitude to PALIT and HIS for the provided graphics cards.
PSU provided by TAGAN, monitor provided by NVIDIA.

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Page 1: Introduction, boxes, bundles

Page 2: Graphics cards

Page 3: Cooling

Page 4: Performance tests

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