Motherboard: MSI P45D3 Platinum ( Provided by: MSI );
Processor: Intel Core 2 QX9770 Extreme edition na 3.6GHz ( Provided by: Intel );
Memory: Corsair Dominator 12800 7-7-7-24 ( Provided by: Corsair);
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 300G 10,000RPM ( Provided by: SmoothCreation );
Geforce driver 182.06 / Catalyst 9.2
Gainward's GTX 260 GS was off to a good start, beating the reference card by 8.5% at performance and high settings, whereas extreme settings extend this advantage to 9.6%.
Far Cry 2
FarCry 2 sees Gainward’s GTX 260 Golden Sample fill the gap between the reference GTX 260 and the GTX 280 card.
Gainward’s results were about 8% better than those scored by the reference GTX 260, which shows that performance scales well with overclocking, as the overclocking was just a bit higher than 8%. Radeon HD 4870 1GB managed to squeeze out a couple of frames more than reference GTX 260, but it didn’t beat the overclocked GTX 260 GS once.
World in Conflict
Gainward constantly beats the reference GTX 260, and the situation is much like in the previous test, where the maximum score advantage is about 8%.
Left 4 Dead
As far as consumption goes, if you value every watt, you should know that Gainward’s card consumes more than the reference card. This is due to the lack of 2D/3D clock switch on the card, so it always runs at maximum speeds. At the same time, the reference card in idle mode will run at 300MHz GPU, 600MHz shader, while the memory will downclock to mere 100MHz (200MHz effectively).
During our testing, our test-rig containing the Golden Sample card consumed up to 299W, whereas the reference card resulted in 270W. The consumption difference in 2D mode didn’t go in Gainward’s favor either, as our rig with the Golden Sample used up about 127W, whereas the rig containing the reference card consumed about 105W.
We played with Gainward GTX 260 Golden Sample using Nitro overclocking tool, and we managed to push it to 720MHz for the GPU and 1225MHz (efective 2450MHz) for the memory. For more details look here.
It's not every day that you see a card that's priced this close to reference card, and at the same time packs non-reference cooling. Add to that the fact that the card comes overclocked and we clearly have a winner on our hands. The cooling does a great job and since similar cooling was previously employed to cool Gainward's HD 4870 X2, you can rest assured that it will keep the card cool.
The only thing where this card falls short is its idle mode consumption. The card doesn’t use the 2D/3D clock switcher and it results in higher consumption than on reference cards. On the other hand, if you’re not concerned with consumption and aren’t stressing over every watt spent, you’ll probably find this to be a minor thing.
215 euro buys you a card that runs cool while overclocked, and will definitely do you a world of good in playing popular and muscle-hungry titles. However, you should hurry, as only a couple of these cards are left on the shelves here.