Right before a graphics card launches there is usually a massive frenzy in the media where info pertaining to the upcoming graphics card gets published on multiple sites, regardless if the info is right or wrong. The AMD R7 260 though is a product that fly in under the radar, and until I opened the package shipped to me from AMD I had no idea what to expect.
The AMD R7 260 is AMD latest release in the “Volcanic Islands” series and it is designed to offer budget gamers a viable graphics option in the $99 price range. The R7 260 is capable of this by sporting a GCN processing unit that is compiled of 768 Streaming Processors, a GPU engine clock of 1GHz and a 1GB frame buffer clocked at 6Gbps. The memory does reside on a 128-bit bus though, so games that require sustainable memory bandwidth will saturate the memory interface easily, resulting in micro-stutter.
The model we received came direction from AMD for testing, which has a red and black color scheme along with six curved red lines across the heatsink shroud. We were told the models that are going to hit the market will not look like the card we are testing, instead companies such as MSI, Sapphire, ASUS, and PowerColor will make their own designs with a different cooler and clock speeds. Most of these companies will still use the reference PCB design, so only the cooling performance and decibel level will vary, while the performance will stay mostly the same between the manufacturers.
As we stated this is a budget friendly graphics card that is designed to offer a great level of performance to gamers that weren’t born with a trust fund. The retail price of the 260 is just $109, which makes it the direct replacement for the Radeon 7750 and its closest competitor is the Nvidia GTX 650, which also has an MSRP of $109.