GTX 260: 65nm vs. 55nm

Geforce GTX 260: How to distinguish 65 and 55 nm versions

Nvidia's renovated Geforce lineup can be a little confusing for the customers. One of the most frequently asked questions is: "How can I know of my card is a 65 or 55 nanometer product?” We tell you how to distinguish them.
Geforce GTX 260: Differences explained
Geforce GTX 260: Differences explained [Source: view picture gallery]
While the Geforce GTX 285 and Geforce GTX 295 were obviously new products, Nvidia almost secretly changed the GTX 260. The name stays the same, but the hardware is different. Nvidia arguments that the GTX 260 had been updated only a short time before. The performance of the old GTX 260 had been increased after AMD had launched the Radeon HD 4870: Instead of 6 Texture Processing Units there are now 7 TCPs working on the graphics card, resulting in 216 ALUs and 72 TMUs instead of 192/64. Thus the performance was increased by about five to nine percent; the architecture was still 65 nanometers. And what happened with the "secret” transition to 55 nm?

GTX 260: 65 versus 55 Nanometers
GPU-Z version 0.3.2 can also distinguish between 55 and 65 nm - but the data ist not always correct.
GPU-Z version 0.3.2 can also distinguish between 55 and 65 nm - but the data ist not always correct. [Source: view picture gallery]
Not much - for you as a customer at least. Nvidia's specifications for the new GTX 260 are still 216 ALUs, 72 TMUs and frequencies of 576/1,242/999 MHz (GPU/ALU/VRAM). But the GPU shrink results in a lower power consumption and - important for Nvidia - lower production costs. The latter fact is the reason why the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) had been changed, too. A more efficient CPU requires a less powerful voltage supply and a less potent cooli9ng solution.

While the GTX 260 65 nm was based on the big GTX 280 PCB, the new board had been optimized for the lower requirements. Like on the GTX 285 all memory chips are placed on the front side. On the "old” GTX 260 seven chips with 64 Mibyte each are placed on the back side and seven on the front side. The overall memory amount (896 MiByte) and the bus width (448 Bit) are not changed - and thus the performance. It is quite interesting to see that the card still needs two 6-pin power connectors. Thus the (not officially confirmed) TDP exceeds 150 watt. But enough of the dry facts let's see some distinctive differences between 65 and 55 nanometers.

Picture gallery  (enlarge to view source)

Author: Raffael Vötter (Feb 25, 2009)

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