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Written by Bruce Normann   
Saturday, 04 September 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
EVGA GTX 460 SC Superclocked Video Card
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 GPU Features
EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC Features
Closer Look: EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC
EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC Detailed Features 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
EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC Temps
VGA Power Consumption
NVIDIA GTX460 Final Thoughts
EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC Conclusion

EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC (01G-P3-1372-TR) Detailed Features

With high-end video cards, the cooling system is an integral part of the performance envelope for the card. Make it run cooler, and you can make it run faster has been the byword for achieving gaming-class performance with all the latest and greatest GPUs. The EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC / 01G-P3-1372-TR uses the standard GPU cooler concept of the NVIDIA reference design, which has some distinct benefits.

EVGA_GeFORCE_GTX460_SC_HSF_Shroud_01.jpg

Two flattened, 6mm diameter heatpipes are clamped between the thin copper mounting plate and a small aluminum heatsink, passing directly over the GPU die. Once they exit from there, they spread to the outer reaches of two semi-circular aluminum fin assemblies. Considering the power density of modern GPU devices, it makes sense to contact every square millimeter of the top surface with the heatsink if you can. The GF104 chip, like most NVIDIA GPU packages has a very large heat spreader mounted to it, and the copper mounting plate covers it completely.

The air all flows out in a radial fashion from the centrally mounted fan, and the plastic shroud contains most of it, channeling half out to the vents on the I/O bracket at the rear of the case. The other half passes over the power supply section at the rear of the card and flows out into the case. All GPUs produce a fair amount of heat, so make sure your chassis has plenty of airflow, in the right direction, in order to move hot air out of the case. This cooler design is better suited to multi-card SLI applications than some, but the cards with radial blower wheels (squirrel cages, I call ‘em...) push more than 90% of the heated air out the back of the PC case, so they are the best. EVGA is one of the few vendors that have these available for the GTX 460 product line; in fact they have several.

EVGA_GeFORCE_GTX460_SC_HSF_GPU_Side_01.jpg

The GPU makes direct contact with a copper plate that is soldered to the heatpipes passing directly over the top of the GPU. The thermal interface material (TIM) was very evenly distributed by the factory, but was applied slightly thicker than necessary. One day, anxious manufacturing engineers are going to figure out that too little TIM is better than too much. For the rest of us who pay attention to these things, a thorough discussion of best practices for applying TIM is available here.

EVGA_GeFORCE_GTX460_SC_TANTALUM_CAP_01.jpg

Here is a close-up of one of the tantalum capacitors on the back side of the card. They are incredibly small for the amount of charge they hold, which allows them to be placed much closer to the active components they support. This greatly improves the filtering performance at high frequencies. If you remember when ATI upgraded the HD 4870 GPU to HD 4890 status, it was the addition of small filter caps right on the GPU package substrate that allowed the 4890 to reach such high clock rates. Tantalum caps were what made that design change possible.

EVGA_GeFORCE_GTX460_SC_ON_SEMI_PWM_01.jpg

The main power supply controller chip used on the EVGA GTX460 SC is an NCP5388 chip from ON Semiconductor. It is a 2/3/4 Phase PWM control IC that does not supports I2C software voltage control, however the NVIDIA BIOS provides its own software control that interfaces with the controller at the hardware level. The VRM section uses a relatively simple and straightforward 3-phase design for powering the GPU. I've seen some custom GTX 460 designs recently that bump this number up to six phases, but the three provided by the reference design seem to work well, even with some serious overclocking.

EVGA_GeFORCE_GTX460_SC_DRAM_PWM_Section_01.jpg

The EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC uses standard Power-SO8 packaging for the Single N-Channel MOSFET power transistors and drivers in the VRM section. This discrete implementation gives up the opportunity to save a little space, but it does give the designer a broader choice in component selection, compared to a DrMOS design. The 4935N devices driving the GPU can source a whopping 93A at an ambient temp of 25C, and are downgraded to 59A at 85C. We all know how hot video cards get, so it's a good idea to have plenty of reserve current capacity for these power devices.

EVGA_GeFORCE_GTX460_SC_GDDR5_Samsung_01.jpg

The memory choice for the EVGA GeForce GTX460 SC is also consistent with the NVIDIA reference designs. The basic GTX 460 specs only require 900 MHz chips for the memory, but most cards have been using these Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05 GDDR5 parts, which are designed for up to 1000 MHz. The EVGA Precision software supplied with this Superclocked edition doesn't have the capability to increase memory voltage, so don't presume that you will get much more than the rated memory speed. The 1250 MHz versions of this chip have been mediocre overclockers on the Radeon platform; we'll have to see if the lower specified parts are a little more willing to exceed their ratings.

EVGA_GeForce_GTX460_SC_GDDR5_Specs.png

Now that we've had the grand tour of the EVGA GTX460 SC, inside and out, it's time to put it to the test. Well, Benchmark is our first name, so don't worry. There are a wide variety of tests waiting for you in the next several sections. Let's start off with a complete description of the Video Card Testing Methodology.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: EVGA GTX 460 SC Superclocked Video CardDoug 2010-09-06 21:52
You've probably been asked this before, but how would a stock 460 in SLI mode compare to the 480 series top of the line with turbo and supercharger? I'm asking because this card right now is 179.00 at Amazon:
EVGA GeForce GTX460 768MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 768-P3-1360-TR

And this one is 189.00
EVGA 768-P3-1362-TR GeForce GTX460 768 MB Superclocked DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card

So for under 380.00US you can have two 460s. Also, would it help to have a MB with two PCIE x16 slots instead of 1 x16 and 1 x8?
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# EVGA GTX 460 SC Video CardRobert Johnson 2010-09-06 22:22
Doug, I think you'll find an SLI of two EVGA GTX 460 SC video cards will perform better than a GTX 480. However than difference might narrow or go away altogether if you are using very high resolution monitors, let's say beyond 1920 x 1080 with anything beyond 24 inches. This is well worth the money. Two of these video cards should run relatively cool inside your chassis.
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# RE: EVGA GTX 460 SC Superclocked Video CardDoug 2010-09-06 23:10
That's nice. My mother board, the Gig x58 UD5 rev.1, is laid out so I can plug them both into x16 PCI slots. I have three monitors. One 23" 1900 x 1080; one 23" at 1920 x 1200; and a 26" at 1920x1200. But I don't need all three to play games. I do need all three for graphics and work. I'm running all three right now with a single GTX 295, and I can play Eve on the 26" windowed with no slowdown. But Eve isn't a graphics intensive game.
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# RE: RE: EVGA GTX 460 SC Superclocked Video CardOlin Coles 2010-09-07 07:27
Sorry, but we're not 'big enough' for a manufacturer to send two of each card. The best we could do is two 768MB GeForce GTS 460's in SLI: benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=576&Itemid=72

You'll see about 10% better performance with two 1GB versions in SLI, and maybe 15% better with two overclocked versions.
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# Bang For The Buck, Chuckrealneil 2010-09-07 04:51
These things seem to be golden in their segment right now. I'll be building another gaming computer at the end of the year, so I have some time to see if ATI responds in a meaningful way to this threat. If they don't then I'll be buying two GTX460's to SLI in that Box. Thanks for the concise reviews of all of the different GTX-460's, helping me in choosing the ones that are right for my circumstances.
I like the price performance ratio of this card and two together should do what I want them to handily.
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# Price Drop Already...?!?BruceBruce 2010-09-07 15:56
I'm heairing that NVIDIA is already dropping the price on these. They can't be making much money on 'em.....
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# Lower power usage than the PNY?Jeff 2010-09-14 21:34
With almost identical overclocks the EVGA consumes 176w vs 199w for the PNY GTX 460 you recently reviewed. Fairly sizable difference. Looks like they were tested on different PCs, but do you try to isolate the GPU power usage regardless of the test rig?
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# RE: Lower power usage than the PNY?Olin Coles 2010-09-15 06:32
You're correct: they were tested on different machines (and by different people). We do TRY to isolate power, but it always works out differently. My suggestion is that you look around for a median reading... not everyone tests using FurMark (I do).
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# Other factors, too...BruceBruce 2010-09-15 13:42
The Fermi cards all seem to be shipping with differing GPU core voltages. I'm not sure what the default GPU voltage was for the PNY card, but it definitely has an influence on temperature and power draw. Temperature by itself also has an effect on power. When doing the power tests, I see a gradual increase in current as the GPU heats up. I always wait for the temps to reach steady state before I take the power measurement. So, there are a couple factors, including ambient temps, that have too much influence for my liking.
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# Mines hot?James 2010-09-19 09:14
I got the 768M SC version of this card but my idle temp is 36C? Using a Thermaltake Armor 90 Case so have plenty of fans and air flow.

Was wondering if anyone could post some of their Overclock settings for this card as I've never tried overclocking before. Everything is running good but I'm hoping to squeeze more power out of FFXIV.

Running a single card, not SLI.
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# RE: Mines hot?Olin Coles 2010-09-19 09:25
Hello James:

That temperature is fine, very low in fact. As for overclocking, take a look here: benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=416&Itemid=72&limit=1&limitstart=21
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# RE: RE: Mines hot?James 2010-09-19 09:42
Thanks! I went to check that link and that is for the 450? I have the 460 768 SC
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# RE: RE: RE: Mines hot?Olin Coles 2010-09-19 10:35
I pointed you there so you could read about the software options, how they work, and which one is better. You can use the same technique with the GTX 460, but if you want our results take a look here: benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=559&Itemid=72&limit=1&limitstart=19
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Mines hot?James 2010-09-19 12:27
Oh ok! Thanks for the help. First time overclocking so kind of nervous of course ;)
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Mines hot?Olin Coles 2010-09-19 12:29
The good news is that the worst that can happen is you overclock too much and your video driver crashes. It will either recover, or you'll restart the computer and try again.

I suggest overclocking the GPU first, and worry about the video RAM last.
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# Unfair Review - Driver Favouritsm!!!Bob 2010-09-29 18:41
nVidia KISSER-UPer => LOOK @ the nVida (latest & ATI (old) driver versions used in the benchmarks. FFS grow up >:o|
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# Get a grip time.Jeff 2010-09-29 19:36
I doubt they still have all those cards and it isn't feasible for them to retest them all for every new review. As with most sites older benchmarking gets recycled for new reviews. Add 10% to the ATI/AMD cards (and older Nvidia for that matter) if it salves your bruised sense of justice or whatever.
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# RE: Unfair Review - Driver Favouritsm!!!Olin Coles 2010-09-29 19:59
Bob: you should visit AMD's website and read-up on the change log between 10.5 and 10.8 (latest available at the time this article was published). There's no difference in performance for these games, and I can personally tell you that my re-tests have shown less than 3% difference (in both directions).
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# 10.5 vs. 10.8BruceBruce 2010-09-30 04:12
I also took the extra step to personally verify that there was no change in performance between Catalyst 10.5 and 10.8 on my system. I retested every single benchmark with an HD5870 card and saw no reason to retest any other cards or update the benchmark scores.
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# GTX 460 SSC+Emil Tovar 2011-02-13 07:46
Viewing your resume with a clock of 763 and 900MHz memory is almost comparable with the ati 5850, if the SSC is a clock of 850 MHz and memory at 3900 mhz overlokeado would be less than the ati 5870?

Viendo tu resumen con un reloj de 763 y memoria de 900mhz practicamente es comparable con la ati 5850, si la ssc viene con reloj de 850 mhz y memoria overlokeado a 3900 mhz estaria igual o superior a la ati 5870?
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# GTX 460 SSC+Emil Tovar 2011-03-21 05:52
I have received no response, it will be because no one knows? that card is already super overclok, you can climb over or is not advisable to do so? that people say benchmarkreviews?
no he recibido ninguna respuesta, sera porque nadie sabe? esa tarjeta ya viene super overclok, se puede subir mas o no es aconsejable hacerlo? que dice la gente de benchmarkreviews?
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# OverclockBruceBruce 2011-03-21 07:48
The GTX 460 chip is generally capable of some extreme overclocks. There have been several reviews on this site that demonstrate that. I got the MSI Hawk up to 950 MHZ, IIRC. Take a look at that review to see how it compares to the HD 5870 at super high clocks. YOUR card may not overclock that high, but it's worth trying.....
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