nVidia Geforce GTX260 and GT200 GPU
ASUS ENGTX260 MT/HTDI/896MD3-A videocard opts for nVidia's default core and memory clock
speeds, rather than pre-overclocking anything at the factory. Thus the 55nm Geforce GTX260 GPU runs
at 576MHz, the 896MB of GDDR3 memory at 999MHz and the 216 shader
processors at 1242MHz.
All that translates into roughly 715 GFLOPS of
where all this power comes from, we need to take a look at the nVidia GeForce
GTX260 GPU itself - a massive monolith of an IC sheathed behind its heatspreader.
Code named nvidia 'GT200', this graphics processor is actually the second
revision nVidia has made to its new next-generation graphics processors.
The nVidia GT200 GPU chip is designed with 240 total shader
processors. Each one is a tiny processor that can compute either pixel or vertex
mathematical operations. The processors are designed to operate on graphical
information simultaneously, with each shader processor is operating on a single
pixel per cycle.
shader processors are broken up into clusters of 24, called Texture/Processor
Clusters. In addition to the shader processors, the clusters also include a
texturing array and a geometry controller. While the high end nVidia Geforce
GTX 280 graphics card has all 10 of the GT200's TPCs enabled, the
original Geforce GTX 260 had only 8 of the 10 TPCs enabled, the remaining two
are either disabled or had defects that caused them to fail in nVidia's quality
ENGTX260 MT/HTDI/896MD3-A videocard has an additional TPC enabled, so there
are 9 clusters of 24 shader processors, for a total of 216 shader processors.
into a bit of extra shader muscle and texturing savvy. The GT200
GPU is oriented around shader processing and calculation, designed for games that utilize intense
special effects like high dynamic range lighting, geometry distortion and dynamic reflections. The
ASUS ENGTX260 videocard supports onboard hardware HD decoding technologies care of nVidia
PureVideo, so BluRay, H.264, VC-1, MPEG2, or WMV9-encoded media can be
played back with little if any CPU load too.
In addition to the increased shader cores, nVidia has also
managed to get the GT200 GPU's 1.4 billion transistors shrunk down to a 55nm
process. While the original 65nm GT200 die was a massive 576mm2, the die-shrink brings the overall die size down to
487mm2. Shrinking the overall size of the chip
influences power consumption, heat output and of course price.
Looking at the naked ASUS ENGTX260 videocard makes one point very clear;
nVidia's GT200 processors are big. At the time it was produced, nVidia's 65nm
GT200 GPUs were the biggest processor dies that the Taiwan Semiconductor
Corporation ever fabricated.
The videocard has two SLI
connectors so it can be paired with either one or two additional Geforce
MT/HTDI/896MD3-A videocard can, of
course, be hooked up in SLI. The Geforce GTX 260 can be configured to work in
two way or three-way SLI mode, with each videocard splitting the graphics load
between them to increase frame rates when more graphical options are turned on.
To run in SLI mode, you need a motherboard based on a compatible nVidia nForce
chipset or an SLI-certified version of Intel's X58 chipset, and a pair of
Geforce graphics cards based on the same GPU.
This is a serious overclocking
videocard, so that's next on the agenda for this PCSTATS review....