With the powerful HIS R7 260X and R7 250X graphic cards, you can upgrade your gaming setup. With the latest AMD Radeon technology, you can enjoy improved graphics and performance.
AMD has made it clear that framerates aren’t the company’s primary goal, instead wanting to make affordable products that offer value gaming performance, which is arguably one of the most important criteria for gamers out there who may be hard-pressed to choose where to spend their hard-earned money.
Both the HIS R7 260X and R7 250X packages are slightly different from what we typically see from HIS; rather than a white and blue color scheme, these budget cards are black and blue. Information of note is displayed on the front, such as the 2GB of GDDR5 for the 260X and 1GB for the 250X, while both are PCE Express 3.0 compatible, with 7.1 Audio, OpenGL 4.3, and SM5 features.
Both these Graphics cards sport the HIS iCooler heatsink, a catch-all name for various incarnations of HIS cooler products across their graphic card spectrum. These two cards have an iCooler which is black with a single blue-bladed fan, and rather sleek, looking absolutely nothing like the stock AMD cooler.
The HIS R7 260X and R7 250X are very similar, but there are a few key differences in terms of visual design.
From this angle, the main difference is the fans and heatsinks. The 260X has a more curved design for the fan blades and a heatsink with radial fins. The 250X sports a more simplified fan and modest heatsink.
The rear of the cards is the other significant difference. The 260X sports dual DVI, single HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs. The 250X is a bit simpler, with a single DVI, HDMI, and VGA outputs, while also keeping the low profile design more suitable for an HTPC setup.
Unsurprisingly for budget cards, the PCB on each card is blue.
Lastly, both cards are supplemented by a single 6-pin power connector at the end of the PCB. This should prove very attractive to anyone looking for a good upgrade from previous-gen cards that may not be able to afford a power supply upgrade.
From a design perspective, the power connectors are each end-mounted on the card, which shouldn’t pose an issue due to the smaller size of the card and should fit easily even in a smaller m-ATX case setup for example.
Let’s move on to testing.
In order to consistently compare against other graphics cards and avoid any bottlenecks, we use a multi-threaded quad-core CPU to take advantage of any games that may benefit from the additional cores. However, we’ve overclocked our chip to 4.2GHz which is fast enough not to become a bottleneck at “normal” gaming resolutions.
The testing suite runs a range of gaming engines that will help provide a more complete picture of a graphics card’s capabilities. A few of these game titles are slightly older, but they feature popular and/or demanding engines so we’ve included them to help show how a card can handle those situations.
Battlefield 4 is the latest in the popular first-person shooter series and features the powerful and impressive Frostbite 3 engine which allows for enhanced destructible environments, advanced physics, improved tessellation, and “real-time” radiosity. We crank up the image quality settings to Ultra and run through a typical fighting sequence, which can be extremely difficult on graphics cards.
It’s quickly apparent that Battlefield 4 really punishes the lower-range cards that simply don’t have the horsepower to run the game at Ultra settings. The HIS cards fare reasonably well, but we recommend dropping the image quality settings to achieve better framerates.
Metro Last Light
Metro Last Light is the latest installment of the survival horror game franchise. Set in the near future in an apocalyptic Moscow, much of human civilization lives below ground in the old metro stations.
Utilizing the 4A Engine, the game supports DX11, dynamic weather, and lighting, as well as atmospheric effects that can bring a graphics card to its knees if the settings are cranked all the way up. Here we keep the image quality settings to Very High, but no SSAO enabled in order to avoid performance becoming a slideshow.
Tomb Raider is an action-adventure, third-person shooter that emphasizes exploration and puzzle-solving for game success. The latest in a long line for the franchise, Tomb Raider features DX11 and advanced effects for immersive gameplay. Here we set the image quality settings to Ultimate.
A similar trend in this game title, as this game, really punishes the budget cards beyond their capabilities at this resolution and image quality.
Crysis 3 is the final installment (apparently) in the popular first-person shooter series, with gamers taking on domestic and alien aggressors after a deep slumber. Featuring the CryEngine 3 game engine that’s capable of bringing a graphics card to its knees if you turn to maximize the image quality settings, we enable DX11 and the highest presets, with 4xMSAA.
A trend appears to be emerging, with both HIS cards sitting just behind the respective competition.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is an open-world, first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft. Now set on a tropical island, the game incorporates RPG elements into the sandbox environment and runs on the Dunia 2 DX11 engine which includes dynamic weather, global illumination, new water technology, motion capture facial expressions, and advanced AI. Here we set the image quality settings to Ultra.
More of the same here, with both cards struggling to manage playable framerates. Clearly, the horsepower isn’t quite enough at these settings and resolutions.
While Watch Dogs is the most current game in the series, there are some serious issues regarding image quality (and specifically, missing quality on the PC). So until the dust clears and we see where things settle, we’ll be testing Sleeping Dogs for just a little while longer.
This game is an open-world, third-person-perspective, action-adventure with a free-running design that complements the combat-and-cover mechanics, while the game runs on a DX11 engine. Here we set the image quality settings to maximum.
Again we see the R7 260X pull ahead of the older GTX 650 Ti Boost, while the 250X needs a timeout.
To test temperatures, we use a “real world” scenario: we run Crysis 3 for 10 minutes and log the temperatures, reporting the highest heat output achieved. Crysis 3 loads up a card pretty heavily, but more importantly, it’s also a very accurate representation of what a typical gamer might encounter in normal card usage as well.
Quite simply, this approach avoids any claims of “unrealistic” or “biased” thermal testing; in our opinion, nothing is more realistic than actual gaming temperatures.
It’s an interesting proposition by AMD for these two budget cards, as Nvidia doesn’t quite have anything in their current lineup that hits this combination of performance and pricing. You have to go with a GTX 650 Ti Boost to find a reasonable competitor, with those cards priced around $120, making it a toss-up against the R7 260X.
There is no clear victory between the two, although the 260X does give you newer tech, so perhaps it could get the nod. Flip a coin, though. If, however, you’re looking for an HTPC card that can still do some light-duty gaming at modest resolutions and image quality settings, then the low-profile HIS R7 250X would be the better option.
If you’re looking for some affordable gaming without breaking the bank, the HIS R7 260X and R7 250X are good options. HIS has done a fine job with the iCooler design on these products, but between the two, we’d recommend spending the extra bit of cash and going for the 260X if you’re on a tight budget.