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BFG GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE (216SP) 896MB Video Card Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage is the follow-up to the highly successful 3DMark06. It uses exclusively DX10 so if you are running Windows XP, you can forget about running this benchmark. However, it presents us with a truly stressful test of any modern graphics card so we have decided to begin including it in our testing procedure.

Overall Score

MAXCORE-40.jpg


GPU Score

MAXCORE-39.jpg

In a less CPU-bound synthetic test like this one, the OCX is able to pull a bit further out front of the EVGA card and well ahead of any serious competition from ATI.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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12,840
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Montreal
Prey / Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Prey


Even though Prey may be a bit older game compared against many of the other ones we are testing, it still provides a workout of even the best graphics cards on the market. This time we have enabled its Graphics Boost feature (Gboost in the charts) and run through a custom timedemo.

MAXCORE-37.jpg

Prey is the first game we are testing here and BFG's card is able to show some amazing framerates.


Enemy Territory: Quake Wars


Enemy Territory: Quake wars is the latest iteration of the wildly popular Quake franchise from ID Software. While it was met with luke-warm reviews by both the media and the gaming community, it remains an extremely popular online game. In this test we set up a 15 minute timedemo on the Refinery level while the framerates were recorded in-game.

MAXCORE-33.jpg


MAXCORE-34.jpg

The trend continues with ET: Quake Wars. Mention has been made on our forums about the GTX 280 being eaten at some resolutions by some of the 216SP cards and the only way we can explain this is that a CPU bottleneck is throwing a wrench into the works at lower resolutions in this game.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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12,840
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Devil May Cry 4

Devil May Cry 4


Devil May Cry has long been a staple platformer on consoles but has found only moderate success with its PC ports. The 4th iteration of this series aims to buck this trend with stunning visuals and intuitive gameplay

In this benchmark we used the in-game benchmark tool while running FRAPS to measure an average and minimum framerate.



1280 X 1024

MAXCORE-27.jpg


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1600 X 1200

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2560 X 1600

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The one thing we continue to be impressed with here is the fact that the GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE is this far ahead of not only the standard GTX 260 but also the EVGA Core 216 Superclocked version.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
Crysis DX9

Crysis DX9


Crysis is one of those games that comes along every now and then and totally humbles every graphics card on the market. While some people have pointed towards shoddy programming, it is undeniable that this game looks ridiculously good when played at higher settings.

For this test we recorded a custom timedemo on the Harbor level equaling about 20 minutes of game time through jungle, over water and in vehicles. All results were recorded with FRAPS over the course of the timedemo.

1280 X 1024

MAXCORE-60.jpg


MAXCORE-15.jpg


1600 X 1200

MAXCORE-16.jpg


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2560 X 1600

MAXCORE-18.jpg


MAXCORE-19.jpg


Crysis seems to show that this BFG card is really able to play with the big boys since it outdistances everything else except the most elite of the current GPUs.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Crysis DX10

Crysis DX10



1280 X 1024

MAXCORE-20.jpg


MAXCORE-21.jpg


1600 X 1200

MAXCORE-22.jpg


MAXCORE-23.jpg


1920 X 1080

MAXCORE-25.jpg


MAXCORE-26.jpg

Well, the trend continues. Much like we saw with the DX9 scores, we once again see the OCX MAXCORE dominating every other card in its price range.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Montreal
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare


This has quickly become one of the most popular games for the PC and with good reason. This is one of the few times I have experienced actual excitement when looking for a good area to record the timedemo. The graphics are amazing and at the same time quite demanding when you get into the higher resolutions.

For this test we recorded a 15 minute timedemo on the Crash multiplayer level and recorded framerates using FRAPS. The maximum in-game framerate was bumped to 999.



1280 X 1024

MAXCORE-35.jpg


MAXCORE-45.jpg


1600 X 1200

MAXCORE-56.jpg


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2560 X 1600

MAXCORE-58.jpg


MAXCORE-59.jpg


The performance difference between the BFG and EVGA cards aren't that significant in this game but the higher clock speeds of the MAXCORE do help it achieve higher framerates through every resolution.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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World in Conflict DX9

World in Conflict DX9


This is one stunning game. World in Conflict has provided us with some of my most memorable gaming experiences since the first Homeworld game was released and it has not stopped wowing me. In its DX9 form it provides eye-popping visuals and pushes most modern GPUs to their limits. However, in DX10 mode this game will cause nearly every graphics card to beg for mercy.

For this test we used the in-game benchmarking tool.


1280 X 1024

MAXCORE-41.jpg


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1600 X 1200

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2560 X 1600

MAXCORE-46.jpg


MAXCORE-47.jpg

As you can see, World in Conflict is seriously CPU bottlenecked at lower resolutions but once the IQ settings increase, the BFG card is able to shine.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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World in Conflict DX10

World in Conflict DX10



1280 X 1024

MAXCORE-48.jpg


MAXCORE-49.jpg


1600 X 1200

MAXCORE-50.jpg


MAXCORE-51.jpg


2560 X 1600]

MAXCORE-52.jpg


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Due to the higher shader power required in the DX10 version of WiC, higher clockspeeds make next to no difference so things are a bit tighter at nearly every resolution.
 
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SKYMTL

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Temperature Testing & Acoustic / Power Consumption

Temperature Testing & Acoustics


MAXCORE-38.jpg

As usual, with higher clockspeeds comes an increase in temperature over stock values when the card is under load. This also results in this card having a slightly louder acoustical profile than the EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked but it is still quite quiet when compared to the likes of the GTX 280 and the ATI HD 4870 512MB. One thing that should be mentioned is that when the card is under load, the amount of heat coming out of its exhaust is staggering. This in turn will definitely have a significant impact on the ambient air temperature of your room.


Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.

MAXCORE-36.jpg

It always amazes us how well all the cards in the GTX 200-series behave when they are idling and the MAXCORE is no different; the idle power consumption values are nothing short of stunning. On the other hand, when under load it will definitely suck a good amount of juice. If you are running this card with an overclocked quad core processor, we would recommend you look at investing in a good 700W power supply.
 
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SKYMTL

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Conclusion

Conclusion


With consumers’ pockets being pinched day in and day out by the steadily rising prices of darn-near everything, manufacturers far and wide are desperately looking for ways to distinguish their products from the competition. BFG seems to have done just that with their GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE. This card was able to surge ahead of the competition due to its overclocked core, shaders and memory resulting in some truly impressive framerates in every single game we tested. Even against the mighty HD 4870 512MB, this card is able to run the show from start to finish time and time again. If the fun would just stop there, the OCX MAXCORE would still be a resounding success but BFG adds in a Lifetime Warranty and Trade Up program for good measure. Unlike many other GTX 260 cards, BFG also equips all of their higher-clocked models with a complete package of all the accessories needed to use the OCX for HDMI audio and video. This can potentially turn this gaming card into a true multimedia powerhouse.

We should also mention straight away that Nvidia has mentioned to us in passing that the current non-216 shader GTX 260 GPUs are no longer in production so expect to see their stock at retailers gradually diminish. This is a byproduct of the pressure ATI has been putting on the entire Nvidia lineup and in the end it is the consumers like you and I that benefit. Prices have been driven down to the point where overclocked, 216SP cards like the MAXCORE are presently retailing for close to the price of stock GTX 260s and we expect prices to fall further as the holiday season approaches.

The only real issues we see with this card come up every time we review a GTX 200-series card: heat production and power consumption. While having a nice little block heater in the corner of your room might feel great during those cold Canadian winter nights, you may regret your purchase when the mercury hits insane levels in the summer. Naturally, the heat produced by this card goes hand in hand with some pretty high power consumption numbers which will have your electricity bill begging for mercy. All is not lost though since there are plenty of you who are more than willing to make these relatively small sacrifices to ensure your favorite games play like greased lightning.

We were talking about penny pinching at the beginning of this conclusion so it is time to mention the price of the OCX MAXCORE since all in all, it isn’t that bad. Considering the Canadian Dollar has been taking us all on a rollercoaster ride lately, the asking price of between $350 and $380 makes BFG’s card quite affordable for the performance it delivers. When you factor into this equation the fact that GTX 280 cards are suddenly selling in the $500 range once again yet perform quite close to the OCX MAXCORE, there really isn’t a reason to NOT consider this product.

All in all, the BFG GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE left us with an extremely positive impression during the short time it spent in the test system. While some of you may be complaining about rising prices here in Canada, this card represents the perfect solution for those of you who are looking for a higher-end card at a more than reasonable price. With that in mind, it receives our Dam Good Award.


Pros:

- Incredible performance
- Quiet operation
- Lifetime Warranty
- Good bundle
- Great idle power consumption
- Price for performance


Cons:

- High load power consumption
- High exhaust temperatures



 
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