XFX GTX 260 XXX SLI Performance

Test Setup
As we will be testing the GTX260 in both single and dual (SLI) configurations we decided to use the 790i Ultra motherboard utilizing DDR3 modules to ensure that bandwidth of the memory would not be cause for throttling the results. Both ATI and NVidia setups were configured to be as balanced as possible and to give a true representation of each of the graphics cards capabilities.
A selection of games and benchmark suites has also been chosen to test each of the cards with several game engines. Each of the cards will be run at both low and high resolutions with varying levels of texture filtering to represent the use of the card with both small and large screen sizes.
1024×768 / 0xAA / 0xAF (Default)
1920×1200 / 4xAA / Optimal

3DMark 06
1280×1024 / 0xAA / 0xAF
1920×1200 / 4xAA / Optimal

3DMark Vantage
1280×1024 / Performance Mode
1900×1200 / Extreme Mode

1280×1024 / Ultra / 4xAA / 4xAF
1920×1200 / Ultra / 4xAA / 4xAF

Race Driver: GRID
1280×1024 / DX10 / Max/4xAA
1920×1200 / DX10 / Max/4xAA

Call of Duty 4
1280×1024 / Max / 4xAA
1920×1200 / Max / 4xAA

1280×1024 / Max / 4xAA
1920×1200 / Max / 4xAA

1280×1024 / DX10 / High
1920×1200 / DX10 / High 

1280×1024 / DX10 / V.High / 4xAA 
1920×1200 / DX10 / V.High / 4xAA

A new entry into our lineup of games is the very popular racing Arcade/Sim Racer Driver:Grid from Codemasters. At OC3D we like to test our GPU’s on review with as many current graphics engines as possible and as we don’t currently have a simulator in our line up and due to the popularity of this game it only seemed right that it was included in our series of benchmarks.
To judge how well the GTX260 performs, we will be pitching it against the much loved HD4870 from ATI. While the XFX GTX260(s) in our possession will be tested in the stock (factory overclocked) state it should be noted that the ATI card(s) are stock clocked. Apart from the usual FPS results, we like to give you, the reader, an accurate representation of what you are getting for your hard earned cash so along with the FPS results we will also be including Price/performance charts.
Never ones to be satisfied with any given clockspeed we attempted to push the already overclocked XFX GTX260 a little further and are pleased to report that we managed and extra 34mhz on the core (99mhz over stock) and 41mhz on the memory clock. Any further clocking resulting in tearing and artifacts but considering the card is already overclocked, any extra is a bonus.
To test the cards stability we ran a full suite of Futuremark Vantage which gave us an extra 500 points over factory clock settings. I decided to have a little ‘extra’ playtime with the GTX260’s and ran a ‘max overclock’ run, clocking the CPU upto 4.25ghz and added the physx driver to see how far the GTX260’s could go :
Not a bad showing at all but the result is massively influenced by the CPU overclock and obviously the PhysX driver so the standard official Geforce driver alone will be used for the benchmarks. Still, it goes to show that, with the right setup and even on air cooling, some great benchmark results are possible with the XFX GTX260 XXX cards!