EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 260
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 07-26-2008
Provided by: EVGA

I'm installing the EVGA GTX 260 in my primary system, which is comprised of the following:

AMD Phenom X4 9850
Biostar TF8200 A2+
2x1GB OCZ Titanium
Swiftech H2O-220
Ultra X3 800W PSU

I'm currently using a Mountain Mods H2gO case, which is a small bi-level cube design. The 260 extends well past the edge of the motherboard, however to give some perspective to the images this board is not a full size ATX like many SLI models. Since there are no drive bays at the front of this case, there's nothing for the GTX 260 to interfere with, however you should take care to measure to make sure it will work in your case.

The installation CD contains nVidia Forceware 177.41 WHQL drivers, DirectX 9 and 10 versions, an electronic version of the user manual along with Adobe Reader and two handy tools, FRAPS benchmark software and EVGA's own Precision overclocking utility. Rather than use the bundled drivers I opted to download and install the newest Forceware 177.66 beta drivers, since 177.41 does not support the 8200 chipset Hybrid SLI functionality that I reviewed previously.

Using TechPowerUp's GPU-Z software we can verify the card specifications as well as operating frequencies and driver version.

The GTX 260 stock cooling solution is fairly effective, averaging in the mid-40's at idle and peaking around 70 C under load. The dynamic fan throttling kept the speed between 40-50% which is relatively quiet, however manually increasing the fan above 70% results in quite a bit of noise.

The GTX series cards are supposed to offer significant power and temperature savings over previous generation cards, and to that end I compared the system power draw at idle and GPU load to my previous 8800GTS 512 figures. On average the GTX 260 uses around 10W less than the 8800GTS when at idle, and this is without the benefit of Hybrid Power, which as tested previously yields an additional 15W savings for the GTX when in power save mode. It does however consume up to 20W more than the 8800GTS under load, and in testing comes close to nVidia's claim of 182W peak draw.

Now let's try some overclocking.

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