NVIDIA quietly rolled out a new GeForce GTX 260 GPU with 216 stream processors. There was no official press statement from NVIDIA but several of the firm's partners have released cards and a handful of tech sites have published their reviews.
The green team was taken by surprise by the strong Radeon HD 4800 series from ATI and is now trying to hold as much marketshare as it can until their next-generation GPUs arrive. NVIDIA has already offered big price cuts on its latest graphics cards and the latest attempt to steal ATI's fire is this new $279 GeForce GTX 260.
Lets take a look at what some of the reviews say, first up is the one from HotHardware which features EVGA and Zotac cards. They say the new GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 performs really well and was faster than the Radeon HD 4870 in the vast majority of their benchmarks. The card has a lower power consumption than the Radeon HD 4870, it rans rather cool but the fan gets a bit audible under load.
Reference GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 cards carry and MSRP of $279, which puts them somewhere in between 512MB and 1GB Radeon HD 4870 cards in terms of price. First-gen GeForce GTX 260 cards are already selling for about $235 on up (after MIR), so don't expect their prices to drop too much on today's news. Overclocked cards like the ones we have tested here will be somewhat more expensive, however, with MSRPs in the $299 - $329 range. Cards should be available in retail channels immediately.
HardOCP checked out the BFGTech GeForce GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE. The site said the card doesn't offer gameplay advantages over the original GTX 260 but concludes NVIDIA did a great job on minimizing the threat offered by ATI's Radeon HD 4870:
Price and performance ultimately define the value of any video card. The BFGTech GeForce GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE has upped the ante on both actual gaming performance and frame rate compared to the 4870. It is unquestionable that the BFGTech GeForce GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE can offer you a better gaming experience than the 4870, and no doubt higher benchmark scores. When comparing the old 260 to the new 260, the lines get a bit more blurred as actual gaming experience gains are marginal at best, but no doubt that benchmark monkeys will be happy. And scaling our GPU frequency to 705MHz was a nice stock overclock as well.