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Friday, 20 March 2009 16:21

Gainward GTX 260 GS Goes Like Hell tested

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: Goes Like Hell, overclocks like heaven

 

Gainward GTX260 896MB GS GLH is a faster version of the Gainward GTX260 896MB GS card, which we've tested few weeks ago, here. This time around however, you see two suffixes – GS, meaning Golden Sample, and GLH, which stands for “Goes Like Hell”. This suffix is used with only the fastest Gainward cards, and it goes a long way towards explaining how fast they are. GLH’s core runs at 650MHz+, which is 75MHz higher than reference GTX260. As far as memory goes, the GLH’s memory is overclocked by 200MHz (400MHz effectively), and now runs at 1200MHz+ (2400MHz effectively). The plus sign is there to denote that there’s room for additional overclocking, and that Gainward made sure it packs only the top components that can take it.

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The aforementioned GTX 260 GS card review revealed that Gainward ended up using its dual-slot cooling with two fans and a redesigned PCB.

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GTX260 GS GLH didn’t change much from its predecessor, as it still features the same design and general looks of GTX260 GS cards, with a slight color difference on the cooler. The GLH card has more black and less red on it, as you can see from the pictures below (the GLH is on the bottom picture).

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Apart from this, there are no visible changes on the cooler or below it.

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Seeing such high memory speed, we were wondering whether Gainward used different memory on this card, but we found the same Samsung 0.8ns memory underneath the cooler. The memory is rated at 1200MHz, and on this card it realizes its full potential. The GS model’s memory, on the other hand, runs at 1100MHz, but you’ll have no trouble overclocking it to 1200MHz+.

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Gainward’s cooling does a better job than reference cooling, keeping the temperatures around 67°C during operation (reference cooling 77°C) and at about 45°C in idle mode (about the same as reference). We quite liked the fact that the cooler stays quiet, both in idle and workload modes.

The cooler comes with two large 8cm diameter fans, connected via one cable to the 4-pin connector, so fan rpm regulation won’t be an issue. Note however that both fans run at same speeds.

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Underneath the hood, which at the same time supports the fans, is a large aluminum heatsink with 3 heatpipes.

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The heatsink leans on the processor, whereas another physically separate aluminum block cools the memory.

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Gainward uses non-reference PCB, with 4+1 phase PWM design. You’ll find a small black heatsink towards the end of the card, and its job is to cool the power circuitry regulators. As you can see, the memory power components have been moved to the opposite side.

GTX260 GS GLH’s packaging is not much different from the GTX 260 GS’ one, except for the Goes Like Hell addition. Inside, you’ll find the 3D Mark Vantage activation code.

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Testbed

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 );


Futuremark tests


3DMark06 reports Gainward GTX260 GS GLH’s 8% advantage over the reference GTX260 card. This result however is just scratching the surface  as Vantage tests report a 14% advantage.

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Gaming

Far Cry 2

Gainward GLH runs 13% faster than the reference GTX 260. Radeon HD4870 had no choice but to look from a distance, as it couldn’t get close to GLH’s results.

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World in Conflict

Initially we only scored 3% to 8% better results compared to the reference card, but 2560x1600 shows Goes Like Hell’s real colors, as the card scores 15% better.

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Left 4 Dead

Radeon HD 4870 1GB manages to beat the reference GTX260 at many resolutions, but it simply couldn’t handle Gainward’s GTX260 GS GLH. GLH again ends up by about 13% faster than the reference GTX260.

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Overclocking

Although GLH is already overclocked by about 75MHz, an additional 75MHz core overclock was a piece of cake. We managed to push the card to 725MHz, and found that the “+” in the name is obviously not there just for kicks. Additionally, we gave memory a push as well, by 50MHz.

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This additional overclock resulted in Left 4 Dead’s additional 9% performance, as if the results weren’t great already. In the end we noted up to 24% better results compared to the reference card.




Temperatures


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After our overclock, the temperatures increased by 4°C, where our maximum measured temperature measured 70°C. Note that reference GTX260 can hit as high as 77°C when working.




Consumption

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We see that the GLH card consumes about the same as the overclocked HD 4870 card, which is great considering this card is faster. Idle mode will result in some 10W lower consumption compared to the HD 4870.


Conclusion

Gainward GTX260 896MB GS GLH is one of the fastest GTX 260 cards out there, and its core ticks at 75MHz higher frequencies than on the reference card. That, coupled with 1200MHz memory (2400MHz effectively), resulted in scores higher by about 13% on average. Gainward’s dual-slot cooling handles temperatures well, and is at the same time quieter than reference cooling.

GTX260 Golden Sample – Goes Like Hell is a faster version of GTX260 Golden Sample card we’ve tested and awarded earlier, here. We checked the availability of GTX260 GLH card and the card is available for €238, here.

A €238 price point would’ve been great if you wanted this card few months back, but GTX 260 prices have in the meantime dropped. At the time of our testing, Gainward’s GTX260 GS was priced at €215, which is a bit more than you’ll have to pay for the reference card. The cheapest GTX 260 now however, is priced at €160, and the aforementioned GTX260 GS can be purchased for €190.

Gainward GTX260 GS GLH scores great in our gaming and overclocking tests, and we wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a great card for gaming, despite its somewhat high price compared to the rest of GTX 260s. 


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Last modified on Friday, 20 March 2009 20:02
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