Packaging & Appearance
As our past reviews have shown, XFX are masters of packaging, and the GTX260 Black Edition is no different. With a redesigned outer sleeve, the Black Edition motif dominates the front of the box. To the top right of the box are two key selling points of the GTX260 Black Edition - the included free game, Far Cry 2 and an HDMI adaptor. The rear of the box goes on to impress with the main features of the graphics card.
As per the norm with XFX, the inner box is a very sturdy affair, with stiff foam inserts inside ensuring the product reaches the end user in perfect condition. The accessory list is the usual array of connections, but an added extra is the inclusion of an HDMI adaptor. Also worthy of note is the Black Edition membership which, once joined, allows you access to exclusive offers, priority technical support and such. Finally, we come to the game itself - Far Cry 2. Considering this game has only just been released with an RRP of £40, it is an excellent inclusion and much better than the average, often outdated games that are occasionally included with graphics cards. Well done XFX!
Looking like a genetic cross between Darth Vader and the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the GTX260 Black Edition is, you guessed it, black in appearance. No fancy elves, monsters or gladiators pollute the aesthetics of the card. No Sir, this is a much more refined look for the more discerning gentleman if you please. Oozing class yet sticking to a reference cooler, the GTX260 deserves to be in a modern art museum, not a PC.
The business end of the GPU is a standard affair with dual DVI ports and an S-Video port thrown in for good measure. At the opposite end of the card we see the standard intake section of the GPU.
As with all 200 series GPU's, TRI-SLI is a possibility should your motherboard support this feature, and the GTX260 Black Edition is no different. The breakout connector reveals twin SLI tabs allowing the use of Nvidia SLI Technology, or if you only require the one card, with the tab in place, the GTX260's sleek lines are not disturbed. As with the previous generation GTX260, 2 x 6-pin PCIe power cables will be required to power the graphics card with a recommended PSU of 550w carrying 40A on the 12v rail.
Opening the card up we see that the GPU cooler is copper with a substantial amount of thermal interface material on both the GPU and memory chips. This ensures a good connection between components and cooling throughout. The main cooler is an aluminium affair with a copper base for the GPU itself. Paste is used on the GPU, while thermal pads are used on the memory chips and VRM's.
I was expecting the XFX to be top of the class in the packaging and appearance section of the review and I am happy to report that it is just that. I have yet to find any manufacturer who can hold a flame to the excellent standards XFX set with regards to the packaging and with such a stunning looking card, XFX gain full marks for packaging and appearance.
Let's get this show on the road and see if the XFX GTX260 can continue the very high standards it has set for itself when we test the card in the overclocking department.