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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 02 September 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video Card
Features and Specifications
NVIDIA GF104 GPU Fermi Architecture
First Look: PNY GTX460-OC XLR8
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX10: Far Cry 2
DX10: Resident Evil 5
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
NVIDIA APEX PhysX Enhancements
NVIDIA 3D-Vision Effects
PNY GTX 460 XLR8 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
PNY GTX460 XLR8 Overclocking
Editor's Opinion: NVIDIA Fermi
PNY GTX460-OC Conclusion

DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1

The Unigine "Heaven 2.1" benchmark is a free publicly available tool that grants the power to unleash the graphics capabilities in DirectX-11 for Windows 7 or updated Vista Operating Systems. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode, emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

The distinguishing feature in the Unigine Heaven benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces, so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception: the virtual reality transcends conjured by your hand. The "Heaven" benchmark excels at providing the following key features:

  • Native support of OpenGL, DirectX 9, DirectX-10 and DirectX-11
  • Comprehensive use of tessellation technology
  • Advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion)
  • Volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm
  • Dynamic simulation of changing environment with high physical fidelity
  • Interactive experience with fly/walk-through modes
  • ATI Eyefinity support


Although Heaven-2.1 was recently released and used for our DirectX-11 tests, the benchmark results were extremely close to those obtained with Heaven-1.0 testing. Since only DX11-compliant video cards will properly test on the Heaven benchmark, only those products that meet the requirements have been included.

Cost Analysis: Unigine Heaven (1680x1050)

  • $150 Radeon HD 5770 costs $8.24 per FPS
  • $220 GeForce GTX 460 costs $7.67 per FPS
  • $235 PNY GTX 460 XLR8 costs $7.34 per FPS
  • $200 Radeon HD 5830 costs $9.48 per FPS
  • $250 GeForce GTX 465 costs $9.47 per FPS
  • $290 Radeon HD 5850 costs $11.79 per FPS
  • $320 GeForce GTX 470 costs $10.53 per FPS
  • Test Summary: Our test results with the Unigine Heaven benchmark tool appear to deliver fair comparisons of DirectX-11 graphics cards. Reviewers like to say "Nobody plays a benchmark", but it seems evident that we can expect to see great things come from a graphics tool this detailed. For now though, those details only come by way of DirectX-11 video cards.

    While the reference 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 clears past the Radeon HD 5830 by nearly 8-FPS, as well as the GeForce GTX 465, it's the PNY GTX 460 XLR8 that steals the thunder away from all of the graphics solutions tested. In this test, the GTX460-OC even surpassed the GeForce GTX 470 by a solid margin. If there was a cost involved with Unigine's Heaven benchmark, the GeForce GTX 460 would cost $1.81 less per frame than the Radeon HD 5830, and the PNY GTX 460 XLR8 would cost $4.45 less per frame than the Radeon HD 5850 while still offering a better value than all other DirectX-11 video cards.

    Graphics Card GeForce 9800 GTX+ Radeon HD4890 GeForce GTX285 Radeon HD5770 GeForce GTX460 Radeon HD5830 GeForce GTX465 Radeon HD5850 GeForce GTX470
    GPU Cores 128 800 240 800 336 1120 352 1440 448
    Core Clock (MHz) 740 850 670 850 675 800 608 725 608
    Shader Clock (MHz) 1836 N/A 1550 N/A 1350 N/A 1215 N/A 1215
    Memory Clock (MHz) 1100 975 1300 1200 900 1000 802 1000 837
    Memory Amount 512 MB GDDR3 1024 MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR3 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1280MB GDDR5
    Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 512-bit 128-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 320-bit



    # Apples vs applesehume 2010-09-01 18:10
    This looks like a promising card, especially with its cooling solution. I would appreciate a comparison between this card and the ASUS GTX 460 DirectCU TOP, which you also reviewed.

    How do they compare in performance and noise?
    Report Comment
    # RE: Apples vs applesOlin Coles 2010-09-01 20:37
    The PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 is a great card, and performs roughly 5% behind the ASUS GTX 460 DirectCU TOP. They both cost about the same depending on where you shop, but the PNY version is externally exhausting and offers a lifetime warranty. Considering you could always further OC the PNY card, it seems like the better deal.

    In terms of noise, there's almost none... as in no audible sound. Even with the fan turned to 100% power, the PNY cooler is extremely quiet.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardDoug 2010-09-01 22:26
    Meh! I'll upgrade my GTX 295 when I see a GTX 485 (x2) come out. Dual GPUs in one card is definitely the way to go. Triple monitor support, FTW!
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardAdam 2010-09-02 07:39
    Keep a fire extinguisher on standby then.
    Report Comment
    # It Works For MeRealNeil 2010-09-02 04:26
    Two of these cards in SLI will be sufficient for me. I'm no world class gamer, I just like to do a little shooting on occasion and want to see good performance for a decent price. These things seem to have the low power consumption and heat output of the Radeon solutions, but they also support PhysX and Radeon doesn't yet. At this point, it's a no-brainer decision.

    Also, PNY has a RMA graphics card promotion specifically for BFG customers. Send in your BFG card, whether it works or not, and you'll receive a 25 percent discount on select PNY video cards. They'll also throw-in "Just Cause 2" from Square Enix by way of an online download redemption code. So those of you left holding the bag with BFG cards that malfunctioned, can get a better deal than the rest of us with PNY, and a free game. Visit or call PNY directly at 1-888-316-1193. The promotion runs until October 31, 2010.
    Report Comment
    # Wrong Memory Interface for 5770Colton 2010-09-02 12:14
    The 5770 has 128-bit not 256.
    Report Comment
    # RE: Wrong Memory Interface for 5770Olin Coles 2010-09-02 13:25
    Yes, it does. I'll fix that typo right away. Thanks!
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: Wrong Memory Interface for 5770Colton 2010-09-03 13:54
    Also just noticed, the 4890 memory interface is wrong too. It's supposed to be 256-bit.
    Report Comment
    # VS. MSI GTX 460 Hawk?jeffredo 2010-09-02 20:47
    I've been hoping for a review of a reference GTX 460 1GB. Everyone seems to concentrate of third party cooling models and I was genuinely interested in seeing how the reference cooler fairs in a decently overclocked situation from a noise and temperature perspective. Now I see MSI is introducing the GTX 460 Hawk with its "Twin Frozr" type cooler. Any thoughts on if its more effective than the reference (both noise and cooling)?
    Report Comment
    # RE: VS. MSI GTX 460 Hawk?Olin Coles 2010-09-02 20:49
    We've already reviewed two versions of the reference design, and they're linked in each of our articles. The 1GB GTS 460 is located here:

    The GTX 460 Hawk review will be posted soon.
    Report Comment
    # RE: VS. MSI GTX 460 Hawk?Servando Silva 2010-09-02 21:22
    Just for your information, Twin Frozr performs better than reference heatsink, but it seems that Cyclone's cooler performs similar. Overall, GTX460 don't have temperature problems even with reference cooler unless mounting an SLI or having poor air-flow on your case.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardJohn Hack 2010-09-03 21:57
    Love your reviews need noise measurements
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video Cardjeffredo 2010-09-04 06:00
    I agree. I would like to have as quiet a GTX 460 as possible and sound comparisons with the other graphics cards would help.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-09-04 07:14
    This will be very difficult, since the last few video cards (GTX 465, GTX 460, GTS 450) have all been completely silent. Most sound level meters pick-up noise above 40 dBA, which is above where these products operate. For reference, my quiet Noctua 120mm fan is more audible than these video cards.

    You're right though, I haven't been making mention of the sound levels. I'll update my articles to make note of this. Thanks.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video Carddlb 2010-09-05 11:00
    On page 13 of the review (the Metro2033 page), there are 2 graphs shown side-by-side in the single image. What does each graph represent? Obviously, they're showing frames-per-second, and I'm assuming that each graph represents a different group of settings, but what are the settings for each graph? Or is it a Min/Max type of thing? Also, under the graph (also on page 13), we find this statement: "When their flagship GeForce GTX 480 struggles to produce 27 FPS" but the GTX480 is not represented in any of the graphs on page 13.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video Carddlb 2010-09-05 11:08
    I guess I can't edit my comment above - I wanted to add that in the chart at the bottom of page 13 (and several other pages), numerous video cards are listed with their individual specs. The GTX460 is listed as having 1024mb DDR5 (1gb) and 192-bit bus. Don't all 1gb GTX460s have a 256-bit bus? And the 768mb models have the 192-bit bus?
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-09-05 14:51
    It seems that my specifications chart got buggered when one row was deleted, pushing the values over for all cards. This chart was then copied to each test result page, unfortunately repeating the error. They've since been fixed.

    In Metro 2033, the two results are 1920x1200 and 1680x1050. I've since replaced the chart with an updated image.
    Report Comment
    # Fan Speed problemsAntonio 2010-12-08 17:38
    I have this very same card from PNY (1GB version). Two of them actually. And for the life of me I cannot get the fan speed to go past 70%. I have checked everywhere for a PNY one, and even called PNY and they had no idea what I was talking about. I even tried to use the EVGA update that fixes it for the EVGA cards and none of them detect the cards. Does anyone with these same cards know a way to get the fan speed to 100%?

    People mention noise a lot with cards, I don't mind noise, i want the fan speed. Any help would be appreciated.
    Report Comment
    # RE: Fan Speed problemsAntonio 2010-12-08 17:39
    As a note, I don't have the overclocked version. My bad.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: Fan Speed problemsOlin Coles 2010-12-08 17:42
    Like most NVIDIA cards since the 400-series, you cannot always reach 100% fan output. Some of the higher-end products that need it will reach this level (GTX 480), but most will not. This isn't a problem with the video card, but rather a programmed function of the BIOS.
    Report Comment
    # Fan Speed problemsJeff 2010-12-08 18:27
    Same for me as well (just checked with MSI Afterburner). I haven't had mine on anything but auto since I bought it (also have the regular 675 Mhz version, not OC). Even clocked at 825 Mhz its stays quite cool - no hotter than 68C.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: Fan Speed problemsAntonio 2010-12-09 15:53
    Thanks for the response guys.

    Yeah. EVGA and Gigabyte have released BIOS for their respective cards. Their BIOS allow the cards to go to "maximum" speed (theirs is stuck at 70% before the update)while PNY hasn't. Initially my card would stay about 68C before. Even while the card was overclocked. But for a couple of days now, even with my same overclock settings, the card will get to 80C and crash the game out. I purchased the card the Friday after Thanksgiving. So I got them recently.

    Note, when not overclocked the temps get about 70C under a full load.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: RE: Fan Speed problemsOlin Coles 2010-12-09 15:55
    Presuming the speeds were similar (but preferrably the same), you could flash the BIOS from of the unlocked fan to the PNY card. We even have a guide showing you how:
    Report Comment
    # Fan Speed problemsJeff 2010-12-09 18:46
    Yeah, flashing using Nvflash is pretty easy and I would think a BIOS from a reference GTX 460 of any brand should work. I'm leaving mine alone though. It runs cool and is incredibly quiet on 40% (which it never goes above on auto). I bought mine in late September and its been doing great.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardAntonio 2010-12-09 15:54
    Correction from the post above, "theirs WERE stuck at 70% before the update." is what I meant to say.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardRaymond 2010-12-30 11:21
    Can anyone tell me if this card supports 3 monitors and what card would support 3 monitors the best. Thank You-
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardOlin Coles 2011-01-01 10:13
    You would need a second (identical) GeForce video card to power three monitors at once, or one AMD Radeon 6800/6900 video card if all monitors used DisplayPort connections.
    Report Comment
    # Card problemsAntonio 2011-01-03 17:59
    I was still unable to fix the fan speed. The PNY card does not come with bios and nibitor 5.9 does not detect any display adapter on my PC.
    Report Comment
    # RE: PNY GeForce GTX 460 OC XLR8 Video CardWolfos 2011-01-28 01:31
    2x PCI-e slots, does that mean it won't fit into my motherboard?
    Report Comment
    # Just the Card + Cooler is that wideBruceBruce 2011-01-28 05:35
    It doesn't actually fit into two PCI-E slots, it just takes up that much space, since the cooler is so thick. Almost all mid level and higher gaming cards are like this.
    Report Comment
    # RE: Just the Card + Cooler is that wideWolfos 2011-01-28 06:35
    Good, I noticed that I do have 2 PCI-e slots, but only one is 16 pin. Since I've seen this card for as little as ?130 I think I'll be trying this one out.
    Report Comment
    # Upgraded but now what?Shawn 2011-01-28 09:29
    I just upgraded from two 9800GTs in SLI to two GTX 460's. Problem is I only have two PCIE 6-pin power connectors. That was fine with the 9800GTs because they only required one each but the GTX 460s require 2 PCIE 6-pin connectors each. I know I have more than enough power available in my 700Watt PS. Are there splitters available that can take a single 6-pin and make it two 6-pins? Any suggestions?
    Report Comment
    # RE: Upgraded but now what?Olin Coles 2011-01-28 09:44
    Not advisable. You'll want to get a PSU that offers four 6-pin (or breakable 8-pin) PCI-E connectors.
    Report Comment
    # Use the Molex to PCI-E adaptersBruceBruce 2011-01-28 10:45
    In a pinch, you can use the 4-pin Molex (Think old HDD Power connector)to PCI-E adapters. Try to use different branches from the PSU to feed the two cards, don't daisy-chain everything together if you don't have to. Most video cards come with a couple of them included in the accessories. DON'T try to double up on the existing PCI-E connectors.
    Report Comment
    # RE: Use the Molex to PCI-E adaptersShawn 2011-01-28 11:07
    I only have two available 4 pin Molex connectors. The adapter that came with the card uses the two Molex adapters to power one PCIE 6-pin connecter. That leaves me one short, still no good.

    So the moral of the story is don't purchase these cards to replace your 9800GTs in SLI unless you are sure you have enough connectors from your existing PS, or unless you are replacining your PS as well.
    Report Comment
    # ColJohn D 2011-01-31 15:11
    Noted the question about splitting voltage source. When voltage is spread over added loops, the current (amperage) is deivided amonst them. This can lead to underpowered units, if the current ratings, required by the card (s) is based on each having full available PS. The switching PS may accomodate or adjust for this config, but to insure tht all units get the required amperage, you should check the connections on the PSS. The modular PSS seems to be applicable, as you can add lines PRN (as needed) with, hopefully, each getting its full share of the power. I just learned that the MOBO nad the BIOS can also have some effect or limitations on what you put into them. i.e. CPU2-Quads may require 105 watt MOBO, and the Intel DG965RY (mine) is only rated at 95 watts, hence the Quad may not be an option for this mobo. which leads to more questions...Watch the power dividing, as it can lead to underpowered unit
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