NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 260 GPU was launched in June 2008. A direct derivation of the range-topping GeForce GTX 285, the '260 packed in 192 stream processors and a 448-bit memory-bus to provide around 80 per cent of the performance of the faster card yet at a significantly lower price, etailing at £200.
The GPU was updated in September 2008 with the introduction of a 216 stream-processor model, providing around 10 per cent more performance for the same kind of money. Finally, December 2008 brought in another update, as manufacturing was moved, wholesale, from 65nm to 55nm.
The majority of boards in 2008 were manufactured on behalf of NVIDIA, looked identical, and sold to partners who put on their own special sauce with fancy bundles or pre-overclocking. The first few months of 2009 have seen a greater number of cheaper-to-produce PCBs and aftermarket cooling used by most of NVIDIA's friends.
Why the history lesson on GeForce GTX 260? It's been knocked down a rung by GeForce GTX 275, but such is the competition from ATI - in the form of Radeon HD 4870 and HD 4890 - that GTX 260 has become cheap enough to make other GeForces GTXs look positively expensive.
A case in point is the Inno3D GeForce GTX 260 FreezerX2, which ships with a pre-attached aftermarket cooler and is available for...wait for it.... well under £150.
We're going to examine the value proposition afforded by recent price-savaging to GTX 260, and then determine whether it's a better buy than also-price-reduced Radeon HD 4870. Got between £100-£150 to spend on a graphics-card update? Read this.