|ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD5|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 08 August 2010|
Page 20 of 20
ASUS ENGTX460 TOP Conclusion
IMPORTANT: 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 specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Gaming performance has already delivered a big win for the GeForce GTX 460 over ATI's Radeon HD 5830 video card, regardless of 768MB and 1GB variety. Given a modest factory overclock, the $230 ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD5 was able to easily outperform the ATI Radeon HD 5850 video card, which sells for $60 more. Taking all of the collected test results into consideration, there were a few occasions when the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP also surpassed Radeon HD 5870 performance. It's important for gamers to remember that only NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 video card can offer PhysX and 3D-Vision functionality, and does so while producing less heat and requiring less power at idle. The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP easily captured the best price to performance ratio in every single game tested, often times offering a better value than the stock GeForce GTX 460. At the end of our test gauntlet, these results prove that ASUS' ENGTX460 is clearly the best choice at $230... and also a better choice than their own GeForce GTX-465.
ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD5
Appearance is a more subjective matter since the rating doesn't have benchmark scores to fall back on. Many of NVIDIA's AIC partners have used custom cooling solutions in many of their own models, and while Benchmark Reviews hasn't tested every single product on the market we can still surmise that the ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP design looks a lot better than GeForce GTX 460 products keeping the reference look. Looks won't mean very much for users who bundle two cards together into an SLI set, but single-card systems will proudly display the blue shroud and large nickel-plated heat-pipes.
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. While the stock-clocked 1GB version settled somewhere between the ATI Radeon HD 5830 and 5850 for performance, the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP earned itself a position between the 5850 and $400 Radeon HD 5870. 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 ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP graphics card features a protective plastic fan shroud, which receives a recessed opening for the 86mm fan and allows for airflow in SLI configurations. Although temperatures were always considerably cool, heated exhaust air is vented back into the computer case.
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 30 August 2010, the ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD5 video card sells at NewEgg for $244.99. This video card has also appeared online for as low as $230, which costs the same as stock-reference GeForce GTX 460 models with no overclock and standard cooling solution. 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 this video card and compare it to the closest rivals: such as the $290 ATI Radeon HD 5850. In terms of product price to FPS performance, the GeForce GTX 460 is already 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, the 1GB version deepens the divide, and now the ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/1GD overtakes the Radeon HD 5850 and saves consumers more than $60 in the process. It's been great to see NVIDIA offer budget-minded gamers so much value with the GTX 460, primarily because this video card series wins over the segment, but also because it overclocks well into the next level of graphics products. ASUS has a solid winner on their hands with the ENGTX460 TOP, and gamers reap the benefits.
To the delight of many, operating temperatures are way down and suggest that this could be the coolest-running mid-range GeForce video card in a very long time. Idle power draw was a mere 19 watts by our measure, demonstrating that even an overclocked GeForce GTX 460 is more efficient than ATI's Radeon HD 5830 - and also demands half the power of the GTX 465. NVIDIA's Fermi GF104 GPU has done just as much for their professional image as it has for gamers and overclockers. ASUS further extends our positive opinion with their ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP video card, and depending on the official price tag it could earn a rare nomination for our Editor's Choice Award.
+ Extremely cool operating temperatures!
- Triple-SLI not supported
Final Score: 9.25 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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