Squeezing in one final product announcement before the end of the year, today AMD is announcing the latest addition to the Radeon R7 family and the counterpart to the existing R7 260X, the R7 260. The R7 260 will be the near-obligatory lower tier part for the R7 260 series, featuring a lower performance Bonaire part in order to further bring down the price of Bonaire and fill in the gap between 260X and 250.

Looking quickly at the specs, whereas R7 260X is a fully enabled Bonaire part, R7 260 will be a cut down version of Bonaire, making it the first time AMD has shipped Bonaire in a less than full configuration. AMD has cut off two CUs, bringing the SP count down to 768 SPs and the texture unit count down to 48. Meanwhile clockspeeds have also been reined in slightly, with 260 topping out at 1GHz for the GPU clock and 6GHz for the memory clock. This puts theoretical performance at around 80% of 260X in GPU bound scenarios, and 92% in memory bound scenarios.

Unfortunately, but as to be expected, memory capacity will also be taking a hit to meet AMD’s price requirements. For the 260 AMD and will be outfitting the card with 1GB of VRAM versus 2GB on the 260X. The 260X was just fast enough to benefit from 2GB, so we expect that the 260 will be in something of a twilight zone in that respect, being a good fit for 1GB in some scenarios and capable of putting 2GB to good use in other scenarios.

AMD GPU Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon R9 270 AMD Radeon R7 260X AMD Radeon R7 260 AMD Radeon HD 7770
Stream Processors 1280 896 768 640
Texture Units 80 56 48 40
ROPs 32 16 16 16
Core Clock 900MHz ? ? 1000MHz
Boost Clock 925MHz 1100MHz 1000MHz N/A
Memory Clock 5.6GHz GDDR5 6.5GHz GDDR5 6GHz GDDR5 4.5GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
FP64 1/16 1/16 1/16 1/16
TrueAudio N Y Y N
Transistor Count 2.8B 2.08B 2.08B 1.5B
Typical Board Power 150W 115W 95W 100W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN 1.0 GCN 1.1 GCN 1.1 GCN 1.0
GPU Pitcairn Bonaire Bonaire Cape Verde
Launch Date 11/13/13 10/11/13 01/14/14 (Est) 02/15/12
Launch Price $179 $139 $109 $159

Going hand-in-hand with lower performance will be lower power consumption. AMD’s official specifications state that power consumption for 260 is 95W, down from 115W on 260X. This means 260 will still require 1 PCIe power connector – Bonaire’s simply too big for sub-75W operation in a desktop SKU – but it will still be felt in very low power builds where every watt matters.

Meanwhile in an unusual move, AMD is announcing the 260 now, but won’t be launching it until “mid-January”, almost exactly a month from now. AMD doesn’t typically announce mainstream/value cards ahead of time, and admittedly we’re at a bit of a loss as to why they’re doing this now given the approaching holidays. Cards at this end of the spectrum don’t have the same pent-up demand as on the high-end, so AMD doesn’t have to contend with the rumor mill and price/positioning challenges as they do at the high-end as exemplified by the 290 series.

In any case, while the 260 won’t be available until next month AMD has already announced the product’s MSRP, placing it at $109. This is $30 less than the 260X and about $20 more than the R7 250, closing that relatively significant gap in AMD’s 200 series product lineup. At this price the 260 finally replaces the 7770, which has been retailing around $110 for the last few months. This is one of the few cases where AMD will be outright replacing a GCN 1.0 part with a GCN 1.1 part, with 260 bringing with it TrueAudio and power management functionality that the Cape Verde based 7770 did not feature.

Elsewhere, at $109 the expected competition will be NVIDIA’s GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti, both of which regularly hover near that price point depending on what rebates are involved. As a reminder the bulk of AMD’s discrete video card business is below $150, so while cards like the 260 don’t attract the same level of glory or attention as high-end cards, from a volume standpoint they’re AMD’s bread and butter and are positioned accordingly.

Finally, as is usually the case for parts in this price range this is a pure “virtual” SKU from the start, so while AMD has a reference solution for testing and validation (pictured above), partners will be doing custom designs right away. We don’t have any further product details in-hand yet, but we’d expect all of these to be dual slot open air coolers, similar to the reference design and other cards in this power range.

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  • yannigr - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    What I was expecting in September? Better products from AMD in the low-mid range sector decimating Nvidia.
    What we get?
    R7 240 which is worst than 7730 (320 vs 384 SPs).
    R7 250 which is much worst than a 7750 (384 vs 512 SPs).
    Nothing to replace 7750 and 7770 (I don't consider that 260 is replacing 7770)
    R7 260 which I think will end worst than 7790 (768 vs 896 SPs)
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    "I don't consider that 260 is replacing 7770"

    Well, that's clearly your problem then. The 260 costs about the same, is faster, has a slightly better feature set including True Audio and may consume a bit less power - how is that not a replacement? Too much of an improvement?
  • yannigr - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    I will have to see the final price first in my country. I don't know how things are in US or big European countries like Germany or UK, but here in Greece where 7730, 7750, 7770 and 7790 are not extinct from the market, you can still find plenty of models at good prices. Sometimes when a product discontinues you see it's price going up instead of going down because the only remaining pieces in the market are these in the more expensive shops.
    So, here in Greece, 260X's average price is close to 135 euros, 7790 plays around 115 and 7770 can be found for around 95. The lowest prices for each card are 121-108-87 but with uncertainty about availability. If 260 non X comes at prices around 95 euros, then yes, my problem will be exactly the one you are mentioning. The problem is that I expect 260 over 100 euros.
  • meacupla - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    And then there are also A10-7850k (512 SP) and A10-7770K (384 SP) coming in January for, presumably, less than $150.
  • yannigr - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Because of 7850k I am expecting one more card from AMD with 512 SPs.
  • etamin - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    shouldn't the original 7790 bonaire be in the table too?
  • Jimzz - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    The 260x is a 7790 just with a little different clock speed.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Why is amd not making these lowend cards lowprofile by default ?
  • yannigr - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    Bonaire is not low end.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - link

    If you put this against r 290 and faster cards, this quickly becomes lowend :)

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