|MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Wednesday, 11 August 2010|
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MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Review
There is no doubt that the NVIDIA GTX 460 has created quite a splash since its introduction. The reconfigured Fermi architecture of the new GF104 chip gives the card a welcome boost in gaming performance, compared to the first GPUs in the series. With 1/3 fewer transistors to feed, the board uses much less power, runs cooler, and it overclocks well with just air cooling. With that kind of capability baked into the basic design, it didn't take long for NVIDIA's partners to start releasing overclocked editions with advanced cooling hardware. MSI has taken on the challenge, and released one of their custom designs under the Cyclone banner. Benchmark Reviews can't resist a good HSF assembly; that much should be obvious to long term readers. So here we are with a detailed review of the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC video card.
Software control of a video card's clocks and core voltage is the fastest and easiest way to improve its performance. MSI Afterburner is one of the best monitoring and control software products available, and it brings voltage control to the GTX 460 reference design. With so much apparent thermal headroom available on the GTX 460, the ability to bump up the core voltage on the GPU is quite useful. Add in an oversized heat sink and an oversized fan, and you have a recipe for generous overclocks.
Driver updates are a touchy subject for the enthusiast and gaming communities. They are a necessary evil, IMHO. I like the performance and stability improvements they (sometimes...!) bring, but I wish I didn't have to constantly mess with them. Not every update is needed by every user, but for a new product like the GTX 4xx series it seems like every second or third release is a necessary update. Either the performance increases are too great to ignore, or the vendor has fixed a major bug that affects a large number of users. NVIDIA released a major performance upgrade to their Fermi drivers right around the same time as the GTX 460 hit the market and got some great synergy from the combination.
"What we have here is the perfect storm." When you combine the newly improved Fermi architecture of the GF104, its overclocking ability, the latest performance-enhancing device drivers, enhanced cooling performance, and software voltage control, that's what you get: the perfect storm. Ride along with Benchmark Reviews as we see how high we can crest this wave before crashing into a watery trough.
Manufacturer: Micro-Star Int'l Co., Ltd
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by MSI.