|NVIDIA GeForce GTX-460 1GB Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 12 July 2010|
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GeForce GTX 460 Conclusion
Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating for the sample received which may differ from retail versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Performance delivers a big win for the GeForce GTX 460 over ATI's Radeon HD 5830 video card, which shares a similar $200~$220 retail price point. Our performance rating considers how effective the 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 DirectX-11 video card performs against competing products from both ATI and NVIDIA. Taking all of the collected results into consideration, the reference 1GB GeForce GTX 460 outperformed ATI's Radeon HD 5830 in each and every benchmark test conducted. Further dominating over the Radeon 5830, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 offers PhysX and 3D-Vision functionality, produces less heat, and requires less power at idle. It easily captures the best price to performance ratio for most games tested, especially in BattleForge. At the end of our test gauntlet, the results prove that NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 is the best choice at $220... but also a better choice than their own GeForce GTX-465.
Zotac Synergy Edition GeForce GTX 460 with Display Port
Appearance is going to be a more subjective matter, since so many of NVIDIA's AIC partners have custom cooling solutions each with their own unique look. Some GeForce GTX 460 products are going to keep the reference look we've seen in this article, while others are going to borrow from the upper-end GeForce GTX 465 design (as illustrated above by the Synergy Edition GeForce GTX 460). To my own surprise, the designs all differentiate themselves from other Add-In Card partners who typically clone the reference appearance. This also means that function takes precedence over fashion, and in at least one case, we see the inclusion of DisplayPort beside the traditional dual-DVI and HDMI outputs.
In terms of video card pecking order, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 occupies the #4 spot just barely behind the GTX 465 in the NVIDIA product lineup and settled between the ATI Radeon HD 5830 and 5850. With so much power in a mid-level graphics board, this often creates an interest in paired SLI sets. Unfortunately, triple-SLI is not an option... but NVIDIA 3D-Vision Surround certainly is. As the first GF104 product (and fourth Fermi iteration), the GeForce GTX 460 has been designed with the same solid construction as its predecessors. There are exposed electronics on the back of the PCB, but nothing that protrudes enough to require a metal back-plate for protection. The top-side of the graphics card features a protective plastic fan shroud, which receives a recessed concave opening for the 75mm fan and allows for airflow in SLI configurations.
While most PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts buy a discrete graphics card for the sole purpose of playing video games, there's a very small niche who depend on the extra features beyond video fast frame rates. NVIDIA is the market leader in GPGPU functionality, and it's no surprise to see CPU-level technology available in their GPU products. NVIDIA's Fermi architecture is the first GPU to ever support Error Correcting Code (ECC), a feature that benefits both personal and professional users. Proprietary technologies such as NVIDIA Parallel DataCache and NVIDIA GigaThread Engine further add value to GPGPU functionality. Additionally, applications such as Adobe Photoshop or Premier can take advantage of GPGPU processing power. In case the point hasn't already been driven home, don't forget that 3D Vision and PhysX are technologies only available through NVIDIA.
As of launch day (12 July 2010), the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 video card is available at NewEgg in several different configurations. Here's a short list of their initial offerings:
Defining product value means something different to everyone. Some readers take heat and power consumption into consideration, while others are only concerned with FPS performance. With regard to value, there are several ways to look at the $220 GeForce GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 version and compare it to the closest rivals: such as the $200 ATI Radeon HD 5830... or even the $250 GTX 465. In terms of product price to FPS performance, the GeForce GTX 460 is one of the most affordable DirectX-11 video card products available. Here's a breakdown of the average cost (USD) per FPS recorded for the ten tests conducted for this article:
In conclusion, NVIDIA's GF104 Fermi GPU is exactly what the mid-range discreet graphics market needed. The 768MB version of the GeForce GTX 460 already beats the ATI Radeon HD 5830 at the $200 price point, and the 1GB version further deepens the divide. It's great to see NVIDIA offer budget-minded gamers so much with the GTX 460, primarily because this video card wins over the segment, but also because it overclocks well into the next level of graphics products. To the delight of many, temperatures are way down and have suggested this could be the coolest-running mid-level NVIDIA video card in a very long time. Idle power draw was a mere 18 watts by our measure, demonstrating that the GeForce GTX 460 is more efficient than ATI's Radeon HD 5830 - and also demands half the power of the GTX 465. With a myriad of custom cooling solutions and video output options from NVIDIA's AIC partners, expect the GeForce GTX 460 to improve the public opinions of Fermi's architecture.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Benchmark Reviews has separately published our review of the 768MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460.
+ Impressively cool operating temperatures!
- Triple-SLI not supported
Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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