First a big thank you to Nvidia and XFX for providing the XFX Black Edition GTX 260 896 Meg 216 Core video card for this Review.

Today I get a chance to see two monster video cards go head to head in a shootout to see which one dominates in the Top 5 holiday games for this season.

First up I should mention how these two video cards were tested and on what games.

For the most part the testing involved loading a saved game and recording the Frames Per Second with FRAPS. Some games like Fracry2 have their own benchmark engine built in and in that case instead of the save game file being used I let the benchmark run and recorded the FPS with FRAPS. The reason I had to use FRAPS with Farcry2 was the Benchmark front used to launch the benchmarking engine in Fracry2 refused to work on my XP PRO SP3 computer.

Getting back to using the save game files when I did use those I would run from point A to point B and with FRAPS in benchmark mode so I could see the average FPS. Note that in each game I would load and do each benchmark three times and then I used the average of the three runs to get my FPS for each game.

All the games used in the shootout were set to their Maximum Graphics at a resolution of 1920 by 1200. As for the video card drivers I used the Nvidia 180.48 and ATI Catalyst 8.11 drivers. The only driver settings touched were on the Nvidia driver and I put that into single monitor performance mode. Normally the Nvidia driver comes setup for dual monitors in performance mode and I’m only running one monitor so I switched that.

Next up is the computer the benchmarks were run on and that has the following specs.

-Evga Nforce 790I Ultra SLI Motherboard
-Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme edition CPU Rated @ 2.93 Ghz and running @ 3.09 Ghz
-2 X 1 gig sticks of Crucial Ballistix DDR 3 ram running @ 1800 Mhz
-2 250 gig Seagate SATA 3Gb/s 8 MB cache hard drives
-Audigy Platinum with Live Drive sound card
-Pioneer DVD/CD burner
-3 ½ Floppy drive
-750W SLI Corsair Power supply
-Windows XP PRO SP3

in the screenshot below you can see the GPUZ results for both video cards. The cards were left in their default configurations.

The 5 games that were used for this testing were the following games; keep in mind all these games were run in DX9 and not DX10. I’m not a big fan of Vista so I stuck with XP for all these benchmarks.

-Call of Duty World at War

All of the above games were patched to their latest versions if they had a patch that is.

So now that the details of how the testing was done are out of the way now it’s time to get on with the results from that testing.



Far Cry® 2, the next-generation first-person shooter from Ubisoft, will take you deep into the most beautiful but also most hostile environments in the world: Africa! More than just a visual and technological achievement, Far Cry® 2, the true sequel to the award-winning PC game, will provide you with an unprecedented gaming experience.

Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit your their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force.

Out of the five games I tested this one was the most brutal on the graphics cards. As you can see from the above bar chart both cards struggle to even get 35 FPS.



Set five hundred years in the future, Dead Space follows the story of Isaac Clarke, a normal systems engineer, who is sent with a small repair team to restore communications aboard an immense mining ship, the USG Ishimura. Once onboard the vessel, Isaac discovers that the crew has unearthed an ancient and malevolent alien presence far beneath the planet’s surface and brought it onboard. It’s a living nightmare onboard the Ishimura, which has turned into a floating bloodbath, as the crew has been unspeakably mutilated and infected by an ancient alien scourge. Clarke’s repair mission becomes one of survival as he fights not just to save himself, but to return the artifact to the planet at any cost.

This game has some really impressive lighting in it and the graphics overall are very good specially when maxed out. Of the Five games I tested out this game had the biggest performance gap between the GTX 260 and the HD4870. I was seeing the GTX 260 with as much as 51 FPS more than the HD4870. It makes you wonder if the ATI drivers have an issue with the game and that’s the reason for the huge performance gap.



Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C. however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Call of Duty World at War


Call of Duty®: World at War completely changes the rules of engagement by redefining WWII gaming and thrusting players into the final tension-filled, unforgiving battles against a new ferocious enemy in the most dangerous and suspenseful action ever seen in WWII.

Powered by Call of Duty® 4: Modern Warfare technology, Call of Duty: World at War brings an uncensored edge to combat, as soldiers face the most harrowing and climatic European and Pacific battles in which an enemy, who knows no surrender and no retreat, will fight to the last breath, unleashing an arsenal of lethal surprising tactics. Peril and danger lurk throughout the battlefield as players combat the unknown risk of the new chaos of battle.

From the remains of Russia and the ruins of Berlin, to the beach and jungles of the deadly Pacific Theater, the volatile action takes on added depth as players employ new features that previously were only-available in multiplayer, including perks, rankings and online stats in up-to full four-player cooperative gameplay. New infantry and vehicle-based weapons, like the potent flamethrower, bring the battlefield ablaze.

The lighting in this game also looks really cool with the graphics maxed out. I don’t know how they done the Flare effect but they look realistic when they light up an area. The overall graphics in this game are also really good.



Left 4 Dead is the new survival action game from Valve for the PC and Xbox 360 that blends the social entertainment experience of multiplayer games such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress with the dramatic, narrative experience made popular in single player action game classics such as the Half-Life series of games.

It’s been a long time since I have seen a good CO-OP game come out. With this game you’re running around from place to place and trying not to get killed by all the zombies that are around. From what I have seen this is certainly one of the better looking games I have seen this year.

While benchmarking this game with the two video cards I noticed the GTX 260 would pause during the timedemo the first time through. After the first time through the timedemo, the pauses would disappear. The HD4870 on the other hand wouldn’t pause at all during the timedemo. This might have something to do with the HD4870 having more ram but I’m not sure. Regardless of the pausing as you can see with the bar chart above the GTX 260 come out on top in this test as well.

The one thing to keep in mind if you’re going to purchase a GTX 260 is make sure you get one with 216 cores since that’s what I used to do all these benchmarks. If you just start browsing the web and aren’t careful you could end up with the 192 Core Version of the GTX 260 and that’s slower than the 216 Core Version so keep this in mind.

I noticed when looking on the web that Newegg and Tigerdirect on both their U.S and Canada web sites have some great deals with rebates for the GTX 260 216 Core range of cards. You may want to head over to these web sites and check out the deals if your going to be purchasing a GTX 260.

In conclusion the numbers tell the whole story, and that is the XFX Black Edition GTX 260 is faster in all benchmarks then the ATI HD4870. At the time of this Review you could purchase the XFX Black Edition GTX 260 for about $419.00 Canadian.