|EVGA GTX 460 SC Superclocked Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Saturday, 04 September 2010|
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EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC Conclusion
From a performance standpoint, it's impossible to argue with the numbers this card puts up, at its price point. As I hypothesized in my Final Thoughts, this is really a 5850-class card from a technology standpoint, and it performed like one. Overclocked up to what seems like its natural operating point, at 850 MHz on the core, it sweeps the field in its market segment. The cooling performance is perfectly adequate, including the noise required to achieve it, which was quite low. I would probably tweak the fan settings, as the default curve is not aimed at performance users. The combination of a new low-power Fermi GPU and a well designed cooler kept operating temperatures reasonably low during both intensive gaming and brutal stress testing.
The appearance of the EVGA GTX460 SC video card is somewhat limited by the fact that the physical design of the card is identical to a couple dozen other models on the market. EVGA did a nice job with the artwork, producing a subtle design that is attractive, but avoids the garish themes that often show up on products marketed at gamers. The graphic design suggests a quiet aggressiveness, but I'm not really sure why.
The build quality of the EVGA card was quite good. Everything is assembled well, everything fit when I put it back together, and the overall impression of the card was solid. The packaging was first rate and very creative in its use of recycled material for the inner enclosure. A small cutout on the rear of the package allows a purchaser to verify that the Serial Number and Model Number on the card matches the one on the box, which is a useful attempt at reducing fraud. I was impressed by the manufacturing quality of the PC board, especially compared to some recent samples I've seen. The GTX 460 is a relatively easy card to make because of its simplicity, and EVGA is smart to take advantage of the excellent design of the reference card.
I also have to give good marks to EVGA for the quality of their bundled software, EVGA Precision and OC Scanner. Between the two applications, they support most of the popular overclocking features, and they were both very reliable in operation. The lack of voltage adjustment for the GPU core and the memory knocks them out of the running for top honors, as there are more capable tools available which will work just fine on reference hardware like this.
The features of the EVGA GTX460 SC are fully comparable with the latest offerings from both camps. It has: Microsoft DirectX 11 Support, PhysX Technology, is 3D Vision Ready, also 3D Vision Surround Ready, CUDA Technology, SLI, 32x Anti-aliasing, PureVideo HD, and HDMI 1.4a support. We've been using some of these same, or competitive, technologies on a whole host of Radeon 5xxx cards since last September. Still, it's good to finally have rough parity in the features and functions arena.
As of early September 2010, the price for the EVGA GTX460 SC (01G-P3-1372-TR) is $229.99 at my favorite PC component supplier, Newegg. There is currently a $10 MIR available and EVGA is giving away free STEAM codes for Metro 2033 with every GTX460 they sell, so consider that in your purchasing decisions. It's hard to find a bad deal for any of the GTX460 cards; even if you are paying a premium for certain features, more memory, or a software bundle, the price-to-performance ratio is so good, there's not a lot of downside anywhere. This particular model comes with a two year warranty, which is one of the lower durations that EVGA offers. Some of their cards have lifetime warranties, but you generally have to pay a small premium for that.
Let's face it, almost any GTX460 card is going to get high marks at this stage of the game. NVIDIA has priced it very aggressively, and until ATI responds with some serious price cuts, or releases its next generation of video cards, this is the card to beat in the $200-$250 price range. It's pretty obvious from all the reporting that's been done already, that early production units of the GF104 have tons of overclocking headroom. I got over 900 MHz on the core clock with no trouble at all, and that's not an unusual result if you read through the enthusiast forums. I can't blame EVGA for using the reference design; they knew a good thing when they saw it, and so do I.
+ Attractive and effective cooling system
- Fan speed doesn't move off 40% when GPU is stressed
Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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