|ASUS GeForce GTX-465 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 22 June 2010|
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Closer Look: ASUS GeForce GTX-465
So far, 2010 has been an exciting year for game developers. Microsoft Windows 7 (and updated Windows Vista) Operating Systems introduced gamers to DirectX-11, allowing video games released for the PC platform to look better than ever. DirectX-11 is the leap in video game software development we've been waiting for. Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) is given emphasis in DX11, allowing some of the most detailed computer textures gamers have ever seen. Realistic cracks in mud with definable depth and splintered tree bark make the game more realistic, but they also make new demands on the graphics hardware. This new level of graphical detail requires a new level of computer hardware: DX11-compliant hardware. Tessellation adds a tremendous level of strain on the GPU, making previous graphics hardware virtually obsolete with new DX11 game titles.
The ASUS GeForce GTX-465 video card, model ENGTX465/2DI/1GD5, offers gamers a healthy dose of graphics processing power for their money. But the GeForce GTX-465 is more than just a tool for video games, it's also a tool for professional environments that make use of GPGPU-accelerated compute-friendly software, such as Adobe Premier Pro and Photoshop.
The ASUS ENGTX465/2DI/1GD5 retail package is fairly basic: graphics card, support manual, driver software, a dual four-pin Molex PSU to six-pin PCI-E power adapter, DVI into HDMI adapter, and DVI into VGA (D-Sub) adapter. The ASUS GeForce GTX-465 kit does not include any bundled free PC video games, but it does offers the CUDA-enabled applications NVIDIA Design Garage and Supersonic Sled on a supplemental software CD.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX-465 is a 2.67" tall double-bay, 4.376-inches (111.15mm) wide graphics card with a 9.5-inch (241.3mm) long profile. The ASUS GeForce GTX-465 retains the reference cooler design, which is more than adequate for the reduced-output Fermi GPU, but adds an interesting faux carbon-fiber finish to the top of the product.
As with past GeForce video cards, the Fermi GPU offers two output 'lanes', so all three output devices cannot operate at once. NVIDIA has retained two DVI outputs on the GeForce GTX 465, so dual-monitor configurations can be utilized. By adding a second video card users can enjoy GeForce 3D-Vision Surround functionality.
Other changes occur in more subtle ways, such as replacing the S-Video connection with a more relevant (mini) HDMI 1.3a A/V output. In past GeForce products, the HDMI port was limited to video-only output and required a separate audio output. Native HDMI 1.3 support is available to the GeForce GTX 465, which allows direct output to HDTVs and compatible monitors.
The new 40nm fabrication process opens the die for more transistors, now increased from 1.4-billion in GT200 GPU present on the GeForce GTX 285, to an astounding 3.2-billion built into the Fermi GF100 GPU and used with the ASUS GeForce GTX-465 (the same amount that resides on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480).
Similar to the past generation NVIDIA products, the GeForce 400-series also supports triple-SLI capability. While the GTX 465 disables five Streaming Multiprocessor Units (SMU's) from the Fermi architecture, a heavy-duty thermal management system is still necessary. The plastic fan shroud unsnaps for the rest of the unit without any tools, and reveals a large finsink with four heat-pipe rods spanning from the GPU. Under load the ASUS GeForce GTX-465 video card reached 82°C in a 20°C room with no additional cooling assistance from the computer case.
Upon close inspection of the printed circuit board (PCB), there's an opening beneath the blower fan that allows intake air to be drawn from either side of the unit. This pays dividends when the GeForce GTX 465 is added into an SLI or triple-SLI set.
Even with its mid-range intentions, the PCB is a busy place for the GeForce GTX 465. Many of the electronic components have been located to the 'top' side of the PCB, so to better accommodate the fully-grown 530 mm2 GF100 GPU and its 3.2-billion transistors. 352 CUDA cores operate at 1215 MHz, which keeps a firm lead over ATI's 850 MHz Cypress GPU that measures 334 mm2 and fits 2.154-billion transistors.
In the next several sections Benchmark Reviews will explain our video card test methodology, followed by a performance comparison of the ASUS ENGTX465/2DI/1GD5 against several of the most popular mid-range graphics accelerators available. The GeForce GTX 465 will compete against the ATI Radeon HD 5850 and several other middle-market video cards; so we'll be keeping a close eye on comparative performance and value.