|NVIDIA GeForce GTX-460 1GB Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 12 July 2010|
Page 18 of 22
GeForce GTX460 Temperatures
Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there's no substitute for good information. Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak a graphics cards for better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.
To begin my testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark's "Torture Test" to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature remained at a stable 20°C throughout testing, while the inner-case temperature hovered around 36°C.
FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB Video Card Temperatures
NVIDIA-supplied product specifications state that the GeForce GTX 460 has a maximum GPU thermal threshold of 104°C. We've noted that this new GF104 threshold is one degree less than GF100 Fermi products. In a room with 20°C ambient temperature, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 produced a mere 26°C at idle while remaining perfectly silent. After FurMark's torture test ran the GPU up to a rather lukewarm 65°C under full load, the fan remained inaudible. After a series a warm-blooded GeForce products, it appears that the GTX 460 operates stone cold in comparison.
Most new graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI will expel heated air out through exhaust vents, which does not increase the internal case temperature. Our test system is an open-air chassis that allows the video card to depend on its own cooling solution for proper thermal management. Most gamers and PC hardware enthusiasts who use an aftermarket computer case with intake and exhaust fans will usually create a directional airflow current and lower internal temperatures a few degrees below the measurements we've recorded. To demonstrate this, we've built a system to illustrate the...
Traditional tower-style computer cases position internal hardware so that heat is expelled out through the back of the unit. This is better than nothing, but there's a fundamental problem: heat rises. Using the transverse mount design on the SilverStone Raven-2 chassis, Benchmark Reviews re-tested the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 video card to determine the 'best-case' scenario.
Sitting idle at the Windows 7 desktop with a 20°C ambient room temperature, the GeForce GTX 460 rested at 27°C, which was actually one degree higher than measured in a regular computer case. Pushed to abnormally high levels using the FurMark torture test, the GeForce GTX 460 operated at 67°C with a very quiet cooling fan. After some investigation, it seems that the reference thermal cooling solution is better suited to a horizontal orientation. Although the well-designed Raven-2 computer case offers additional cooling features and has helped to make a difference in other video cards, this wasn't the case with the GTX 460... not that it matters at this low of a temperature.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Thermal Cooling Solution Heatsink
In the traditional (horizontal) position, the slightly angled heat-pipe rods use gravity and sintering to draw cooled liquid back down to the base. When positioned in a transverse mount case such as the SilverStone Raven-2, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 heatsink loses optimal effective properties in the lowest heat-pipe rod, because gravity takes keeps the cool liquid in the lowest portion of the rod within the finsink.