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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

GeForce GTX 260 is the most affordable solution from the most high-end GPU family from NVIDIA, GeForce GTX 200, especially now that NVIDIA is promoting a massive price cut. XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX is an overclocked version of GeForce GTX 260. How does it compare to the standard GTX 260 and to its main competitors? Is it worthwhile paying a little bit more and getting this version instead of the standard GTX 260? Read on.

GeForce GTX 260 standard clocks are 576 MHz for the GPU, 1,242 MHz for the shader processors and 1 GHz (2 GHz DDR) for the memories. The main difference between GTX 260 and the top-of-line GTX 280 is the number of shader processors (192 vs. 240), memory interface (448-bit vs. 512-bit) and memory size (896 MB vs. 1 GB), besides the clock rates, of course.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX runs at 640 MHz (hence the “640M” on the model name) with its shader processors running at 1,363 MHz and memories running at 1,150 MHz (2,300 MHz DDR), clock rates that are higher than GTX 280’s (this GPU runs at 602 MHz, with shaders at 1,296 MHz and memories at 1,107 MHz or 2,214 MHz DDR). But, as mentioned, this GPU has less shader processors and a narrower memory interface. During our review we will compare this overclocked card from XFX with a GeForce GTX 280.

If you want to learn more about the architecture used on GeForce GTX 200 family, read our GeForce GTX 200 Series Architecture article.

We will talk more about the differences between GeForce GTX 260 and other current high-end video cards, but before let’s take an in-depth look at XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 1: XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 2: XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 3: XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX.

This video card requires the installation of two 6-pin auxiliary power connectors, see in Figure 4. The product comes with one adapter for you to convert a standard peripheral power plug into a 6-pin power plug if your power supply doesn’t provide two of them.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 4: Auxiliary power connectors.

[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]

We removed the video card cooler to take a look. As you can see in Figure 5, the cooler base is made of copper, using several copper heat-pipes to connect the base to the aluminum fins.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXXFigure 5: Video card cooler.

In Figure 6, you can see the video card without its cooler. It uses fourteen 512-Mbit Hynix H5RS5223CFR-N0C GDDR3 chips, making its 896 MB memory (512 Mbits x 14 = 896 MB). These chips can officially work up to 1 GHz or 2 GHz DDR. On this video card the memories were running at 1.15 GHz or 2.3 GHz DDR, so the memory was working overclocked, 15% over its official maximum clock rate.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 6: XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX with its cooler removed.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 7: GeForce GTX 260 chip.

In Figure 8, you can see all accessories and CDs/DVDs that come with this video card. This video card comes with the full version of Call of Duty 4, a USD 50 value. With the accessories that come with this card you can convert the video output to VGA and component video, plus the DVI and S-Video connectors already present on the product.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX Figure 8: Accessories.

Now let’s compare the XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX specifications to its main competitors.

[nextpage title=”More Details”]

To make the comparison between XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX and the other video cards we included in this review easier, we compiled the table below comparing the main specs from these cards. If you want to compare the specs from the reviewed card to any other video card not included in the table below, just take a look at our NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table and on our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table.

GPU Core Clock Shader Clock Processors Memory Clock Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Price
GeForce GTX 280 602 MHz 1,296 MHz 240 1,107 MHz 512-bit 141.7 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 430-475
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX 640 MHz 1,363 MHz 192 1,150 MHz 448-bit 128.8 GB/s 896 MB GDDR3 USD 330
GeForce GTX 260 576 MHz 1,242 MHz 192 1,000 MHz 448-bit 112 GB/s 896 MB GDDR3 USD 290-320
GeForce 9800 GX2 600 MHz 1,500 MHz 128 1,000 MHz 256-bit 64 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 370-500
GeForce 9800 GTX 675 MHz 1,688 MHz 128 1,100 MHz 256-bit 70.4 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 185 – 325
Radeon HD 4870 750 MHz 750 MHz 800 900 MHz 256-bit 115.2 GB/s 512 MB GDDR5 USD 285
Radeon HD 4850 625 MHz 625 MHz 800 993 MHz 256-bit 63.5 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 175
Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 857 MHz 857 MHz 320 927 MHz 256-bit 59.3 GB/s 1 G
B GDDR3
Radeon HD 3870 776 MHz 776 MHz 320 1,125 MHz 256-bit 72 GB/s 512 MB GDDR4 USD 125 – 180

It is important to note that this table reflects the current prices for the listed video cards, which are lower than the prices we published in other reviews, since prices tend to drop every day. NVIDIA is now pushing their partners to sell GeForce GTX 280 for USD 500 (from the original USD 650 MRSP), GeForce GTX 260 for USD 300 (from the original USD 400 MRSP) and GeForce 9800 GTX for USD 199.

With these new prices the main competitor to GeForce GTX 260 is Sapphire HD 4870, even though video cards based on this AMD GPU can be found costing a little less. The reviewed model from XFX costs, on average, 10% more than the standard GTX 260 since it is an overclocked model.

The only high-end video card not included in our comparison is GeForce 9800 GTX+, which is basically an overclocked GeForce 9800 GTX.

Some important observations regarding this table:

  • All NVIDIA chips are DirectX 10 (Shader 4.0), while all AMD/ATI chips are DirectX 10.1 (Shader 4.1).
  • The memory clocks listed are the real memory clock. Memory clocks are often advertised as double the figures presented, numbers known as “DDR clock.” Radeon HD 4870 uses GDDR5 chips, which transfer four data per clock cycle and thus the “DDR clock” for this video card is four times the value presented on this table (i.e., 3.6 GHz).
  • GeForce 9800 GX2 and Radeon HD 3870 X2 have two GPU’s. The numbers on the table represent only one of the chips.
  • All video cards included on our review were running at the chip manufacturer default clock configuration (i.e., no overclocking), except Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 and XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX. The official core clock for Radeon HD 3870 X2 is 825 MHz, while the official memory clock is 900 MHz. So this card was a little bit overclocked. We couldn’t reduce these clocks to their reference values and since we hadn’t any other Radeon HD 3870 X2 available we included this video card anyway.
  • Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
  • We couldn’t find Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 for sale. This model will be more expensive than cards from other vendors based on the same GPU because it features water cooling. Just for you to have an idea, prices on the regular Radeon 3870 X2 are quoted between USD 260 and USD 370.

Before going to our tests let’s recap the main features from XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX. [nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX main features are:

  • Graphics chip: GeForce GTX 260 (codename GT200), running at 640 MHz.
  • Memory: 896 MB GDDR3 memory (448-bit interface) from Hynix (H5RS5223CFR-N0C), running at 1,150  MHz (“2.3 GHz”).
  • Bus type: PCI Express x16 2.0.
  • Connectors: Two DVI and one S-Video output (with component video support).
  • Video Capture (VIVO): No.
  • Cables and adapters that come with this board: S-Video to component video cable, DVI-to-VGA adapter and one standard 4-pin peripheral power plug to 6-pin PCI Express auxiliary power plug (PEG) adapter.
  • Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: Two.
  • Games that come with this board: Call of Duty 4 (full version).
  • Programs that come with this board: None.
  • More information: https://www.xfxforce.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 330.00

* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
  • Service Pack 1

Driver Versions

  • nForce driver version: 15.17
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 8.5
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 8.6 + hotfix (8.501.1.0, 6/21/2008) (Radeon HD 4850, HD 4870)
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 175.16
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 177.34 (GeForce GTX 260, GTX 280)

Software Used

Resolutions and Image Quality Settings

Since we were comparing very high-end video cards, we ran all our tests under three 16:10 widescreen high resolutions: 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600. We always tried to run the programs and games in two scenarios for each resolution, one with low image quality settings and then maxing out the image quality
settings. The exact configuration we used will be described together with the results of each individual test.

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”3DMark06 Professional”]

3DMark06 measures Shader 3.0 (i.e., DirectX 9.0c) performance. We run this software under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with no image quality enhancements enabled – results we call “low” on the charts and tables below –, then setting 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. See the results below.

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 16260 9.29%
GeForce 9800 GX2 15623 5.01%
GeForce GTX 280 14904 0.17%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 14878  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 14215 4.66%
GeForce GTX 260 13701 8.59%
GeForce 9800 GTX 12759 16.61%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 11842 25.64%
Radeon HD 3870 10694 39.12%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 15547 13.23%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 15489 12.81%
GeForce GTX 280 14215 3.53%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 13730  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 13017 5.48%
GeForce GTX 260 12668 8.38%
GeForce 9800 GTX 11631 18.05%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 10691 28.43%
Radeon HD 3870 9454 45.23%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 13015 18.57%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 12315 12.19%
GeForce GTX 280 11766 7.19%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 10977  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 10159 8.05%
GeForce GTX 260 9894 10.95%
GeForce 9800 GTX 8743 25.55%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 8077 35.90%
Radeon HD 3870 6823 60.88%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 16260 38.94%
GeForce 9800 GX2 13900 18.77%
GeForce GTX 280 12157 3.88%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 11703  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 11063 5.79%
GeForce GTX 260 10617 10.23%
GeForce 9800 GTX 8981 30.31%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 8881 31.78%
Radeon HD 3870 6915 69.24%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 15489 47.35%
GeForce 9800 GX2 12213 16.18%
GeForce GTX 280 10991 4.56%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 10512  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 10014 4.97%
GeForce GTX 260 9450 11.24%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 7972 31.86%
GeForce 9800 GTX 7811 34.58%
Radeon HD 3870 6114 71.93%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 12315 50.83%
GeForce 9800 GX2 9829 20.38%
GeForce GTX 280 8704 6.60%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 8165  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 7550 8.15%
GeForce GTX 260 7285 12.08%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 5896 38.48%
GeForce 9800 GTX 5774 41.41%
Radeon HD 3870 4319 89.05%

[nextpage title=”3DMark Vantage Professional”]

3DMark Vantage is the latest addition to the 3DMark series, measuring Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supporting PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, wh
at exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Notice that we didn’t upgrade the PhysX to the latest version, which would make the physics calculations for CPU Test 2 to be made by the GPU instead of the CPU on NVIDIA video cards (since we aren’t considering CPU or 3DMark scores this change wouldn’t produce any increase in our results anyway).

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600. First we used the “Performance” profile, and then we used the “Extreme” profile (basically enabling anti-aliasing at 4x, anisotropic filtering at 16x, and putting all detail settings at their maximum or “extreme” value. The combination of 2560×1600 resolution with extreme settings didn’t produce reliable results according to the program, so we aren’t going to add them here. The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1680×1050 – Performance Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 7695 13.03%
GeForce 9800 GX2 6990 2.67%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 6808  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 6193 9.93%
GeForce GTX 260 5898 15.43%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 5651 20.47%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 4797 41.92%
GeForce 9800 GTX 3805 78.92%
Radeon HD 3870 2977 128.69%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1920×1200 – Performance Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 6106 14.88%
GeForce 9800 GX2 5379 1.20%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 5315  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 4880 8.91%
GeForce GTX 260 4582 16.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 4336 22.58%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 3725 42.68%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2891 83.85%
Radeon HD 3870 2269 134.24%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 2560×1600 – Performance Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 3549 15.68%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 3068  
GeForce 9800 GX2 2910 5.43%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 2728 12.46%
GeForce GTX 260 2640 16.21%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 2382 28.80%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 2050 49.66%
GeForce 9800 GTX 1557 97.05%
Radeon HD 3870 1244 146.62%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1680×1050 – Extreme Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 6005 12.90%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 5319  
GeForce 9800 GX2 4858 9.49%
GeForce GTX 260 4531 17.39%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 4360 22.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 3567 49.12%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 3445 54.40%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2703 96.78%
Radeon HD 3870 1855 186.74%

Sapphire HD 4870

3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1920×1200 – Extreme Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 4732 12.99%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 4188  
GeForce GTX 260 3576 17.11%
GeForce 9800 GX2 3508 19.38%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 3490 20.00%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 2753 52.12%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 2669 56.91%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2038 105.50%
Radeon HD 3870 1439 191.04%

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty 4″]

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was put on the maximum values on the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the game internal benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo for downloading here if you want to run your own benchmarks. The game was updated to version 1.6.

Sapphire HD 4870

Call of Duty 4 – 1680×1050 – Maxi
mum
Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 106.2 7.60%
GeForce GTX 280 105.3 6.69%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 98.7  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 93.4 5.67%
GeForce GTX 260 91.0 8.46%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 75.7 30.38%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 72.4 36.33%
GeForce 9800 GTX 69.1 42.84%
Radeon HD 3870 43.0 129.53%

Sapphire HD 4870

Call of Duty 4 – 1920×1200 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 94.5 11.44%
GeForce GTX 280 91.7 8.14%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 84.8  
GeForce GTX 260 77.1 9.99%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 76.4 10.99%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 61.3 38.34%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 59.1 43.49%
GeForce 9800 GTX 57.7 46.97%
Radeon HD 3870 35.4 139.55%

Sapphire HD 4870

Call of Duty 4 – 2560×1600 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GX2 64.8 11.53%
GeForce GTX 280 64.8 11.53%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 58.1  
GeForce GTX 260 53.5 8.60%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 48.1 20.79%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 40.6 43.10%
GeForce 9800 GTX 38.3 51.70%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 36.7 58.31%
Radeon HD 3870 22.4 159.38%

[nextpage title=”Crysis”]

Crysis is a very heavy DirectX 10 game. We updated this game to version 1.2.1 and used the HOC Crysis Benchmarking Utility to help us collecting data. Since we don’t think the default demo based on the island map stresses the video card the way we want, we used the HOC core demo available with the abovementioned utility. We ran this demo under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with image quality set to “low” and then with image quality set to “high.” Since all video cards achieved a number of frames per second below 10 at 2560×1600 with image details set to “high,” we are not including this test as the results aren’t reliable. We ran each test twice and discarded the first result, as usually the first run achieves a lower score compared to the subsequent runs since the game loses time loading files. The results are below, in frames per second (FPS).

Sapphire HD 4870

Crysis 1.2.1 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 125 14.68%
GeForce GTX 280 125 14.68%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 109  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 101 7.92%
GeForce GTX 260 99 10.10%
GeForce 9800 GTX 84 29.76%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 84 29.76%
GeForce 9800 GX2 75 45.33%
Radeon HD 3870 71 53.52%

Sapphire HD 4870

Crysis 1.2.1 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 115 19.79%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 108 12.50%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 96  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 84 14.29%
GeForce GTX 260 83 15.66%
GeForce 9800 GTX 69 39.13%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 67 43.28%
GeForce 9800 GX2 63 52.38%
Radeon HD 3870 58 65.52%

Sapphire HD 4870

Crysis 1.2.1 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 95 53.23%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 71 14.52%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 62  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 53 16.98%
GeForce GTX 260 52 19.23%
GeForce 9800 GTX 44 40.91%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 43 44.19%
GeForce 9800 GX2 42 47.62%
Radeon HD 3870 35 77.14%

Sapphire HD 4870

29

Crysis 1.2.1 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 42 10.53%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 38  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 37 2.70%
GeForce GTX 260 32 18.75%
GeForce 9800 GTX 29 31.03%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 31.03%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 26 46.15%
GeForce 9800 GX2 25 52.00%
Radeon HD 3870 19 100.00%

Sapphire HD 4870

Crysis 1.2.1 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 34 13.33%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 30  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 30 0.00%
GeForce GTX 260 26 15.38%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 23 30.43%
GeForce 9800 GTX 22 36.36%
GeForce 9800 GX2 21 42.86%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 20 50.00%
Radeon HD 3870 16 87.50%

[nextpage title=”Unreal Tournament 3″]

Unreal Tournament 3 is the latest installment from this famous first person shooter franchise, supporting DirectX 10 graphics when installed on Windows Vista with a DX10 compatible card. We upgraded Unreal Tournament 3 to version 1.2 and benchmarked it with the help of HOC UT3 benchmarking utility using the “Containment” demo, maxing out image quality settings (image quality at “high” and anisotropic filtering at x16). It is important to note that we haven’t applied the PhysX mod to this game, which would transfer PhysX processing from the CPU to the GPU on NVIDIA cards. The results are below, in frames per second (FPS).

Sapphire HD 4870

Unreal Tournament 3 – 1680×1050 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 112 3.70%
GeForce 9800 GX2 108 0.00%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 108  
GeForce GTX 260 106 1.89%
GeForce GTX 280 104 3.85%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 104 3.85%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 96 12.50%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 84 28.57%
Radeon HD 3870 83 30.12%

Sapphire HD 4870

Unreal Tournament 3 – 1920×1200 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 108 1.89%
GeForce 9800 GX2 106 0.00%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 106  
GeForce GTX 260 103 2.91%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 98 8.16%
GeForce GTX 280 91 16.48%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 89 19.10%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 78 35.90%
Radeon HD 3870 75 41.33%

Sapphire HD 4870

Unreal Tournament 3 – 2560×1600 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 92 8.24%
GeForce 9800 GX2 92 8.24%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 85  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 78 8.97%
GeForce GTX 260 76 11.84%
GeForce GTX 280 62 37.10%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 60 41.67%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 51 66.67%
Radeon HD 3870 47 80.85%

[nextpage title=”Half-Life 2: Episode Two”]

Half-Life 2 is a popular franchise and we benchmark the video cards using Episode Two with the aid of HOC Half-Life 2 Episode Two benchmarking utility using the “HOC Demo 1” provided by this program. We ran the game in three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, under two scenarios. First with quality set to maximum, bilinear filtering and anti-aliasing set to x0. This configuration we are calling “low” on the charts and tables below. Then we maxed out image quality settings, enabling x16 anisotropic filtering and 16xQCS anti-aliasing. This configuration we are calling “high” on our charts and tables. We updated the game up to the June 9th 2008 patch.

Sapphire HD 4870

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 170.0 7.59%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 164.9 4.37%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 160.4 1.52%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 158.0  
GeForce GTX 260 157.0 0.64%
GeForce GTX 280 156.3 1.09%
GeForce 9800 GTX 153.8 2.73%
Radeon HD 3870 145.7 8.44%
GeForce 9800 GX2 136.8 15.50%

Sapphire HD 4870

< tr>

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 165.0 5.10%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 157.0  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 156.7 0.19%
GeForce GTX 280 156.3 0.45%
GeForce GTX 260 153.0 2.61%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 149.8 4.81%
GeForce 9800 GTX 146.9 6.88%
GeForce 9800 GX2 135.2 16.12%
Radeon HD 3870 120.1 30.72%

Sapphire HD 4870

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 145.1 5.91%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 137.0  
GeForce 9800 GX2 130.6 4.90%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 129.7 5.63%
GeForce GTX 260 124.0 10.48%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 117.0 17.09%
GeForce 9800 GTX 107.9 26.97%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 93.9 45.90%
Radeon HD 3870 72.8 88.19%

Sapphire HD 4870

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 144.0 7.46%
GeForce 9800 GTX 137.9 2.91%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 134.0  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 126.1 6.26%
GeForce 9800 GX2 125.4 6.86%
GeForce GTX 260 121.0 10.74%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 116.2 15.32%
GeForce GTX 280 89.3 50.06%
Radeon HD 3870 68.3 96.19%

Sapphire HD 4870

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 124.0 9.73%
GeForce 9800 GTX 116.3 2.92%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 113.0  
GeForce 9800 GX2 111.1 1.71%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 106.5 6.10%
GeForce GTX 260 101.0 11.88%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 97.2 16.26%
GeForce GTX 280 70.3 60.74%
Radeon HD 3870 56.8 98.94%

Sapphire HD 4870

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 75.0 8.70%
GeForce 9800 GTX 71.3 3.33%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 69.0  
GeForce GTX 260 61.0 13.11%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 58.4 18.15%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 50.6 36.36%
GeForce 9800 GX2 37.5 84.00%
GeForce GTX 280 35.5 94.37%
Radeon HD 3870 34.9 97.71%

[nextpage title=”Quake 4″]

We upgraded Quake 4 to version 1.4.2 and ran its multiplayer demo id_perftest with SMP option enabled (which allows Quake 4 to recognize and use more than one CPU), under the same three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with image quality settings configured at “low” and then with image quality settings configured at “ultra.” You can check the results below, given in frames per second.

Sapphire HD 4870

Quake 4 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 285.30 18.42%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 278.46 15.58%
GeForce GTX 280 268.80 11.57%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 241.38 0.19%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 240.92  
GeForce GTX 260 234.45 2.76%
Radeon HD 3870 227.75 5.78%
GeForce 9800 GTX 225.52 6.83%
GeForce 9800 GX2 220.48 9.27%

Sapphire HD 4870

Quake 4 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 266.23 12.06%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 248.13 4.45%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 237.57  
GeForce GTX 280 235.92 0.70%
GeForce GTX 260 220.96 7.52%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 207.58 14.45%
Radeon HD 3870 188.40 26.10%
GeForce 9800 GX2 174.06 36.49%
GeForce 9800 GTX 158.87 49.54%

Sapphire HD 4870

Quake 4 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 197.82 15.69%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 170.99  
GeForce GTX 280 168.81 1.29%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 158.99 7.55%
GeForce GTX 260 149.28 14.54%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 128.00 33.59%
Radeon HD 3870 116.01 47.39%
GeForce 9800 GTX 114.34 49.55%
GeForce 9800 GX2 100.07 70.87%

Sapphire HD 4870

Quake 4 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 246.39 1.22%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 243.41  
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 242.32 0.45%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 241.91 0.62%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 237.98 2.28%
GeForce GTX 260 222.32 9.49%
GeForce 9800 GX2 218.80 11.25%
GeForce 9800 GTX 194.65 25.05%
Radeon HD 3870 167.26 45.53%

Sapphire HD 4870

Quake 4 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
GeForce GTX 280 224.44 0.97%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 222.28  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 218.62 1.67%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 214.74 3.51%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 207.57 7.09%
GeForce GTX 260 200.28 10.98%
GeForce 9800 GX2 158.35 40.37%
GeForce 9800 GTX 158.18 40.52%
Radeon HD 3870 144.80 53.51%

Sapphire HD 4870

Quake 4 – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 177.36 17.89%
GeForce GTX 280 168.43 11.95%
XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX (OC) 150.45  
GeForce GTX 260 149.80 0.43%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 140.38 7.17%
Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 127.88 17.65%
GeForce 9800 GTX 102.04 47.44%
GeForce 9800 GX2 94.68 58.90%
Radeon HD 3870 94.40 59.38%

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

With so many results presented in the previous page, we will make a summary of how is XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX against the standard GeForce GTX 260, GeForce GTX 280 (as this XFX model runs at a higher clock rate) and Sapphire HD 4870, which is today the main competitor to the standard GTX 260.

XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX was up to 19% faster than the standard GeForce GTX 260, depending on the program and video configuration. You will achieve, on average, a 10% performance increase with this overclocked model from XFX, which is quite interesting, as it costs around 10% more than the standard GTX 260. Paying ten percent more to have ten percent more performance looks very attractive, especially when you think that price and performance usually don’t increase at the same proportion.

GeForce GTX 280, on the other hand, was up to 20% faster than this overclocked model from XFX, but on some games like Unreal Tournament 3 and Half-Life Two: Episode Two the reviewed card was in fact faster than GTX 280. This overclocked GTX 260 from XFX runs with clocks higher than the ones used on GTX 280, so on games that clock plays a more important role the reviewed card will be faster. On the other hand, on games that more memory bandwidth and more streaming processors play a more important role (Crysis and Call of Duty 4, for example), GTX 280 will be faster.

The reviewed video card from XFX was up to 22% faster than Radeon HD 4870, depending on the video configuration used. In some scenarios (some configurations of Crysis, Unreal Tournament 3, Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Quake 4) both card achieved similar performance, with HD 4870 being faster on some configurations of Quake 4 and Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

Here are some thoughts about XFX GeForce GTX 260 640M XXX, keeping in mind that this video card is targeted to users that have USD 300 to spend on a video card.

If you are planning on buying Call of Duty 4, then this video card is a terrific option, as it comes with this game. Since this game costs around USD 50 you are in fact paying USD 280 for this video card (USD 330 – USD 50).

If you had already decided to buy a GeForce GTX 260, then this model from XFX can be an interesting option. For 10% increase in price you get a 10% increase in performance, on average. Not a bad deal.

But if you are a looking for a high-end video card with a good cost/benefit ratio and don’t give a damn about Call of Duty 4, then you will probably be better off buying a Radeon HD 4870.