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Written by Bruce Normann   
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Card
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 GPU Features
MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Features
Closer Look: MSI N460GTX Cyclone
MSI N460GTX Cyclone Detailed Features
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis
DX10: Devel May Cry 4
DX10: Far Cry 2
DX10: Resident Evil 5
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: Unigine Heaven
DX11: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
DX11: Aliens Vs. Predator
MSI N460GTX Cyclone Temps
VGA Power Consumption
GTX 460 Final Thoughts
MSI N460GTX Cyclone Conclusion

Video Card Testing Methodology

With the widespread adoption of Windows7 in the marketplace, and given the prolonged and extensive pre-release testing that occurred on a global scale, there are compelling reasons to switch all testing to this highly anticipated, operating system. Overall performance levels of Windows 7 are favorable compared to Windows XP, and there is solid support for the 64-bit version, something enthusiasts have anxiously awaited for years. After several months of product testing with Win7-64, I can vouch for its stability and performance; I can't think of any reasons why I would want to switch back to XP.

Our site polls and statistics indicate that the over 90% of our visitors use their PC for playing video games, and practically every one of you are using a screen resolutions mentioned above. Since all of the benchmarks we use for testing represent different game engine technology and graphic rendering processes, this battery of tests will provide a diverse range of results for you to gauge performance on your own computer system. All of the benchmark applications are capable of utilizing DirectX 10, and that is how they were tested. Some of these benchmarks have been used widely for DirectX 9 testing in the XP environment, and it is critically important to differentiate between results obtained with different versions. Each game behaves differently in DX9 and DX10 formats. Crysis is an extreme example, with frame rates in DirectX 10 only about half what was available in DirectX 9.

At the start of all tests, the previous display adapter driver is uninstalled and trace components are removed using Driver Cleaner Pro. We then restart the computer system to establish our display settings and define the monitor. Once the hardware is prepared, we begin our testing. According to the Steam Hardware Survey published at the time of Windows 7 launch, the most popular gaming resolution is 1280x1024 (17-19" standard LCD monitors) closely followed by 1024x768 (15-17" standard LCD). However, because these resolutions are considered 'low' by most standards, our benchmark performance tests concentrate on the up-and-coming higher-demand resolutions: 1680x1050 (22-24" widescreen LCD) and 1920x1200 (24-28" widescreen LCD monitors).

Each benchmark test program begins after a system restart, and the very first result for every test will be ignored since it often only caches the test. This process proved extremely important in several benchmarks, as the first run served to cache maps allowing subsequent tests to perform much better than the first. Each test is completed five times, the high and low results are discarded, and the average of the three remaining results is displayed in our article.

A combination of synthetic and video game benchmark tests have been used in this article to illustrate relative performance among graphics solutions. Our benchmark frame rate results are not intended to represent real-world graphics performance, as this experience would change based on supporting hardware and the perception of individuals playing the video game.

Intel P55 Express Test System

  • Motherboard: ASUS P7P55D-E Pro (1002 BIOS)
  • System Memory: 2x 2GB GSKILL Ripjaws DDR3 1600MHz (7-8-7-24)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-750 (OC @ 4.0 GHz)
  • CPU Cooler: Prolimatech Megahalems (Delta AFB1212SHE)
  • Video: MSI GeForce GTX 460 (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC-Forceware v258.96)
  • Drive 1: OCZ Vertex SSD, 32GB
  • Drive 2: Western Digital VelociRaptor, 150GB
  • Optical Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7190A-OB 20X IDE DVD Burner
  • Enclosure: CM STORM Sniper Gaming Case
  • PSU: Corsair CMPSU-750TX ATX12V V2.2 750Watt
  • Monitor: SOYO 24"; Widescreen LCD Monitor (DYLM24E6) 1920X1200
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate Version 6.1 (Build 7600)

DirectX 10 Benchmark Applications

  • 3DMark Vantage v1.02 (Extreme Quality, 8x MSAA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, 1:2 Scale)
  • Crysis v1.21 Benchmark (DX10, Very High Settings, 0x and 4x MSAA, Island Demo)
  • Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark Demo (DX10, Ultra Quality, 8x MSAA)
  • Far Cry 2 v1.02 (DX10, Very High Performance, Ultra-High Quality, 8x MSAA, Small Ranch Demo)
  • Resident Evil 5 Benchmark (DX10, 8x MSAA, Motion Blur ON, Quality Levels-High)

DirectX 11 Benchmark Applications

  • BattleField: Bad Company 2 (High Quality, HBAO, 8x MSAA, 16x AF, Single-Player Intro Scene)
  • Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0 (DX11, Normal Tessellation, 16x AF, 4x and 8x MSAA)
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat Benchmark (Ultra-Quality, Enhanced DX11, 4x MSAA, SSAO-HDAO,Ultra)
  • Aliens vs Predator (Very High Quality, 4x MSAA, 16x AF, SSAO, Tessellation, Advanced Shadows)

I decided to test this video card in two configurations: first with its modest 50MHz factory overclock (725MHz core), and then with my own 175MHz overclock (850MHz core). I had to raise the core voltage from its default setting of 0.987 V to 1.000 V in order to achieve stability at this speed, but that is a minute amount compared to what this chip is capable of. My goal was to show what performance levels could be reached without extreme measures. Anyone who buys this card should be able to achieve this result, not just the mad scientists that you read about on overclocking forums. The fact that MSI supplies the software to make it not just possible but easy, is icing on the cake. While I was at it, I bumped up the memory clock to 50 MHz above their rated speed, to 1050 MHz (4.2 Gbps data rate).

I've listed the same card twice below, in two different configurations, so don't be confused. It's the same card, just two different clock rates.

Video Card Test Products

Graphics Card

Processor
Cores

Core Clock
(MHz)

Shader Clock
(MHz)

Memory Clock
(MHz)

Memory
Amount

Memory
Interface

XFX Radeon HD5750 (HD-575X-ZNFC)

720

700

N/A

1150

1.0GB GDDR5

128-bit

ATI Radeon HD5770 (Engineering Sample)

800

850

N/A

1200

1.0GB GDDR5

128-bit

XFX Radeon HD5830 (HD-583X-ZNFV)

1120

800

N/A

1000

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

ASUS GeForce GTX 260 (ENGTX260 MATRIX)

216

576

1242

999

896MB GDDR3

448-bit

MSI GeForce GTX460 (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC)

336

725

1450

900

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

XFX Radeon HD5850 (21162-00-50R)

1440

725

N/A

1000

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

MSI GeForce GTX460-OC (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC)

336

850

1700

1050

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

ASUS GeForce GTX 285 (MATRIX GTX285)

240

662

1476

1242

1.0GB GDDR3

512-bit

XFX Radeon HD5870 (HD-587X-ZNFC)

1600

850

N/A

1200

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

ASUS Radeon HD5870-OC (EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2)

1600

1000

N/A

1250

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

  • XFX Radeon HD5750 (HD-575X-ZNFC - Catalyst 8.732.0.0)
  • ATI Radeon HD5770 (Engineering Sample - Catalyst 8.732.0.0)
  • XFX Radeon HD5830 (HD-583X-ZNFV - Catalyst 8.732.0.0)
  • MSI GeForce GTX 460 (N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC - Forceware v258.96)
  • XFX Radeon HD5850 (21162-00-50R - ATI Catalyst 8.732.0.0)
  • ASUS GeForce GTX 260 (ENGTX260 MATRIX - Forceware v197.45)
  • ASUS GeForce GTX 285 (GTX285 MATRIX - Forceware v197.45)
  • XFX Radeon HD5870 (HD-587X-ZNFC - Catalyst 8.732.0.0)
  • ASUS Radeon HD5870 (EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2) - Catalyst 8.732.0.0)



 

Comments 

 
# Has anyone else noticed?Stefan 2010-08-10 22:54
The fins at the base of the heat-sink spiral in the opposite direction to the fan rotation?

Whoops.
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# RE: Has anyone else noticed?Olin Coles 2010-08-11 06:56
That removes laminar air flow through air friction, and delivers better cooling performance.
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# Good Heat TransferBruceBruce 2010-08-11 07:07
For good heat transfer, you basically want the air banging into the surface of the heatsink. Turbulence is good, impingement is even better.
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# I stand corrected!Stefan 2010-08-12 23:35
Well, I guess I should have taken an engineering class :)

I consider myself now a little more educated from your remarks, thanks ;)
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# :DFederico La Morgia 2010-08-11 02:12
same question as always: D this video card and RAM chips mounted?
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# RE: :DServando Silva 2010-08-11 04:49
You really want to read the "Detailed Features" section before asking.
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# RE: RE: :DFederico La Morgia 2010-08-11 06:06
the code :)
Olin know what I mean to ask
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# Yeah, but...BruceBruce 2010-08-11 07:22
All the information is right there, beautiful pictures of the RAM chips and everything.... Just click on the "Detailed Features" page in the table above.
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# RE: Yeah, but...Servando Silva 2010-08-11 08:29
Thanks Bruce... Unless Federico and Olin are talking different things, I think you did a great job about the ICs in the detailed section. Great review!
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# RE: MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Cardmascotzel 2010-08-11 02:16
Mini-HDMI is there on the board because of space constraints. You can't put anything else next to 2 DVI's on a single slot bracket.
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# RE: MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video CardAdam 2010-08-11 08:10
Favourite benchmarks so far! Uses an almost identical system to me and includes the GTX260 (my current card), great stuff for working out if I want to upgrade yet or not.
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# RE: MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video CardDavid Ramsey 2010-08-11 16:42
FWIW, the Porsche 911 has been water cooled for more than a decade, and the tighter temperature regulation afforded by water cooling led to major increases in power and efficiency (parts could be machined to tighter tolerances since the narrower temperature envelope limited expansion of the parts). Still, for the time, the air cooled 911 was pretty good.
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# ImagineBruceBruce 2010-08-12 19:38
Just think what the engineers could have done with heatpipes...LOL

Seriously, you don't want to get into a discussion of air cooled vs. watercooled Porsches, do you? That's just begging for an invasion of the body-snatchers! Don't you think the comment section has suffered enough lately?
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# MSI N460GTXWayne Manor 2010-08-14 00:29
Thanks for the review, very informative! I currently have 2 of these puppies in SLI. I'm curious how the Gainward 2GB version compares with the 1GB versions
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# Excellent reviewDr_b_ 2010-08-18 18:53
excellent review. glad you added the older 200 series in for comparison, there doesn't seem to be a reason to keep using the old 285 that i have now. going to SLI two of these.
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# It was a great card in its day...BruceBruce 2010-08-18 19:05
I'm sure you got lots of good use out of it, but time and progress marches on. One of the things I like about the GTX 460 cards is that there is a variety of implementations. The ASUS that was reviewd here is another example of a solid non-reference design (4 phase PWM, etc...).
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# Question for a purchaseKaelin 2010-08-23 03:58
Thank you for your very interesting article. I must change my graphics card but i hesitate between the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC and the Asus ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD5... I don't know which one to choose =( Which one do you advise ?

(Sorry for my english level)
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# Tough Choice...Bruce Bruce 2010-08-23 07:44
They each have larger fans and bigger HSF assemblies that both improve cooling and reduce noise levels. ASUS rolled their own PC board design, and it looks like they increased the PWM from 3-phase to 4-phase. MSI stuck with the reference design. I can't tell where you are located, but you may want to consider the support services that are available in your location, as well as local warranty provisions.
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# Asus or MSI...Kaelin 2010-08-23 10:03
Thank you for your reply
I am French so the support service is not a problem (usually)
to help me to decide I would like to know wich graphic card has the cooling system more efficient and wich one has the best resistance to a higher overclocking. And to finish wich one do you prefer ^^

Thanks in advance
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# RE: Asus or MSI...sportwarrior 2010-08-24 16:56
I'm also interested in the questions above... it seems that the two cards are quite similar in performance capability, though, so ultimately I'm guessing it doesn't really matter which I would select (I live in SoCal, for what it's worth). I will say I like the look of the ASUS quite a but more than the MSI, but Amazon is making me wait a ridiculously long time to get my card and I NEED to build my new rig very very soon.
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# RE: RE: Asus or MSI...Olin Coles 2010-08-24 17:00
Research the warranty support for each, and go from there.
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# French Pricing?BruceBruce 2010-08-24 18:47
What are the prices for each, locally? I don't want to say that the two cards are the same, because they are not. But.....they both do an admirable job supporting the GF104 chip, in slightly different ways. I like MSI Afterburner better than ASUS Smart Doctor, so that's how I would go... If the ASUS card supported the ASUS iTracker2 software, it might be a different story.
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# The choice is madeKaelin 2010-08-24 23:39
In France, the price difference is about 1 euro for the Asus graphics card. Moreover the Asus ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD5 is guaranteed 3 years against 2 for the MSI, that's the reason for why I chose the Asus.

thank you for your help =)
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# RE: The choice is madeWayne Manor 2010-08-25 00:58
I would have gone with the Asus version too if it had come out earlier as it is $35 cheaper here than the MSI cyclone, both with 3 yr warranty.
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# RE: RE: The choice is madeWayne Manor 2010-08-25 01:00
Here in Australia that is :p
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# Wacky PricesBruceBruce 2010-08-25 17:45
That's a major difference Wayne. This is exactly why I asked Kaelin about the pricing in France. You just never know.....
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# RE: MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Cardnax 2010-08-25 23:07
i like asus look kool and my mb is asus also i will go wit asus
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# RE: MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Carddon 2011-01-03 21:27
agree

Oh, and I like your writing (style).
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