Testing

Testing, or the fun bit as I like to call it, is going to be a bit different in this review. Rather than putting this card into a super expensive system, filled with expensive components, I am going to show you what this card can do in a more basic system. Hopefully offering a more representative view to what performance you will get.

I will be using my own main PC for testing this graphics card, and before you laugh I know it’s in need of a few upgrades.

 

To put the card through its paces, we used a number of benchmarking tools as well as some of the latest games, whilst observing how they played and noting down any issues.

For the games that we could, we used the built in benchmarking facilities to observe how the game played, running the game at the maximum settings that we could achieve, I used the latest non-beta drivers from AMD’s website, and a clean installation of the host operating system - which is always fun to do isn’t it!

Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution is an action-adventure game, where the player once again takes on the role of Agent 47, a Hitman employed by the International Contracts Agency. I used the built in benchmarking tool with the Ultra pre-set selected running at 1920x1080 and no other options changed.

 

In Hitman the Sapphire R7-260X gave as good as it could under the situation, with all the settings set to Ultra preset and a resolution of 1920x1080 it provides a playable frame rate.

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a single-player first-person shooter video game with survival horror and stealth elements, developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games. Once again the built in benchmark was used at Very High settings at a resolution of 1920x1080.

 

This time round, the Sapphire R7-260X was a tested a bit more strenuously whilst the average remained fairly playable, it occasionally dipped to just 10 FPS although it rarely stayed that way.

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs was the next game of choice, an open world action game released in 2012 it is a game that received lots of positive press and is a game that when the settings are turned up can still stress graphics cards extremely well.

For this test, everything was set to the maximum with a resolution of 1920x1080, the in game benchmark was used to obtain the scores.

 

Once again the Sapphire R7-260X was stressed quite a lot here, in these extreme settings the game would not smooth enough to play, turning down one or two settings resolved this.

Final Fantasy a Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy was next, having been (re)launched last, the game has largely turned around the negative reviews it once had, and the major changes to the game engine itself, the HUD and combat systems have caused it to become the popular MMORPG it should have  been upon its initial release.

The benchmark used was the very latest, and maximum settings were used at a resolution of 1920x1080, once the benchmark run had completed, a Score and Average FPS are given.

 

The Sapphire R7-260X had few issues playing through this benchmark, and whilst there were visible drops every now and again, the benchmark reported that the cards performance was Very High.

3DMark

Not the latest one anymore but still a very good indicator of performance, I used 3DMark 11 next. Running a performance and extreme pass the scores below were returned.

 

In both tests it returned solid enough scores, both being slightly higher than the GTX750 that we reviewed.

 

Noise was not an issue, even with the recent temperatures here in Yorkshire, the card rarely became louder than a slight whirr against the background noise of the PC, and it is many levels quieter than the 6870 that resides in the machine day to day. Temperatures remained brilliantly cool, even considering the size of my case and all the components sitting inside in close proximity.

Using my favourite burn in utility, the Sapphire 260X peaked at around 78 degrees before levelling off and maintaining this temperature for quite a while.

Overclocking can be handled by Sapphires TRIXX program, a program that was originally released way back with the X800GTO2, and with a modest overclock of 100MHz on the GPU and 200MHz on the RAM I was able to boost the Performance score in 3DMark11 by around 300 points which worked out to be around 3-4 fps each test. As always though, overclocking is undertaken at your own risk and your mileage may vary.