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Written by Bruce Normann   
Friday, 24 September 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 GPU Features
MSI N460GTX HAWK Features
Closer Look: MSI N460GTX HAWK
MSI N460GTX HAWK 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 HAWK Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
NVIDIA GTX460 Final Thoughts
MSI N460GTX HAWK Conclusion

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

The Unigine "Heaven 2.0" 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

MSI_N460GTX_HAWK_Video_Card_Unigine_Heaven_DX11_4xAA.jpg

Starting off with a lighter load of 4x MSAA, we see a steady progression of performance as you move up the ATI 5xxx ladder. Stuck there in the middle of the chart are two results that show a clear distinction between the two competing architectures. Even in the "normal" tessellation mode, this is a graphics test that really shows off the full effect of the new technology. The Fermi architecture has so much more computing power designated and available for tessellation, that it's no small surprise to see the card doing so well here. There is still some jerkiness to the display with all of the cards; now that I've seen the landscape go by for a couple hundred times, I can spot the small stutters more easily. This test was run with 4x anti-aliasing; let's see how the cards stack up when we increase MSAA to the maximum level of 8x.

MSI_N460GTX_HAWK_Video_Card_Unigine_Heaven_DX11_8xAA.jpg

Increasing the anti-aliasing just improved the already convincing performance of the MSI N460GTX HAWK, relative to the Radeon HD 5xxx series. It's interesting to note that the HD 5850 doesn't stand out so much with this benchmark; everywhere else, it seems to jump a little higher than its Radeon neighbors. There's no denying that the Fermi chip, in its best interpretation yet: the GF104, is a killer when called upon for tessellation duty. The only caveat is that the 768MB version did not do as well with 8X MSAA enabled. Remember, the reduction in memory size comes with a corresponding reduction in memory bandwidth, and the number of ROP units that are enabled. That's probably what killed its performance in this particular test, not the actual amount of GDDR5 RAM available.

Let's take a look at one more DX11 benchmark, a decidedly less cheerful scenario in a post-apocalyptic "Zone", which is traversed by mercenary guides called Stalkers.

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX460-768 (Engineering Sample)

336

675

1350

900

768 MB GDDR5

192-bit

XFX Radeon HD5850 (21162-00-50R)

1440

725

N/A

1000

1.0GB GDDR5

256-bit

MSI N460GTX HAWK (V238)

336

780

1560

900

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



 

Comments 

 
# RE: MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460Doug 2010-09-26 23:26
No doubt, the GTX 460 is the price to performance winner, and is a nice, tight little package. What vexes me is that the 460 isn't even as fast as the old 285 series cards in DX10 applications. If the 285 was OCed, along with the 460, I wonder if it would outperform the OCed 460s? If so, that further confuses me.

On the other hand, the 400 platform is Fermi/PhyX/Cuda and DX11 of course--being that the 285 isn't all that! It seems like what we're getting is a great DX11 Fermi/Cuda PhysX card that runs DX11 games, but doesn't give us more speed than the old cards of yesteryear, and even less in DX10 games.
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# RE: RE: MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460RealNeil 2010-09-27 03:40
Hi Doug,
Comparing old to new is frustrating at best, because they are so different. But maybe you should also consider the price point,........
My 2GB EVGA GTX-285 card was well over $500.00 when it was new, and these GTX-460's are well under half of that price. So I'm about to order two of these for SLI performance that will destroy my GTX-285's capabilities and also get all of the latest technology in rendering eye candy as well. (for less money)
I think that these cards, (especially two of them together) will amount to a definite 'Win-Win' in the consumer marketplace.
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# RE: MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460Jason 2010-09-27 03:52
Not sure if we were looking at the same review but the 1 GB GTX 460 (MSI HAWK) beat the 1 GB GTX 285 in every DX10 benchmark they ran. Plus you have the added bonus that it can run DX11 which the GTX-285 can't do, it overclocks like a gem, and the SLI on the 460 is super efficient (in the 80-95% range). I'm not sure what else you're looking for in a midrange video card but as far as i'm concerned thte GTX 460 has it all.
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# RE: MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460dlb 2010-09-27 08:51
It was nice to see some older cards in the comparison graphs. I have a pair of GTX260s in SLI, and have been looking for some benches that included both the GTX260 and the newer GTX460. I was actually surprised to see how well the GTX260 did in the DX10 tests when compared to the Radeon HD5830. I'd REALLY like to see how a pair of GTX260s in SLI compares to a single stock GTX460, and maybe OC and SLI the GTX460 also and compare it to the GTX260s in SLI. All of this aside- a great review of a great card! The GTX460 is on my "must have" list, and this "Hawk" version from MSI not only looks great, but has some juice too!
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# RE: MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460Gorham4 2010-09-27 09:32
I think Doug's point was more along the lines that owner's of the Nvidia 200 series don't have a compelling reason to upgrade until DX11 becomes more common. At least if you're running DX10 games at 1920x1200 .

On the other hand if your card is older than the 200 series you've got a reason and price point that says upgrade now. The 460's will have you kicking butt and taking names at a much lower price point that those who recently bought the 260's or 285's
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# Stock Clocks....BruceBruce 2010-09-27 19:31
It's always a struggle to make comparisons when the clock rates are all over the place on factory cards. The ASUS Matrix GTX285 I used is certainly capable of higher clock rates, but all the Matrix cards come from the factory with very minimal overclocks.

The issue really comes to the forefront because GTX460 cards are almost universally wicked overclockers. Just about every single card sold since day one will take a 25% overclock in stride, with very little additional voltage, or none at all if you're lucky.

For me, I love the DX11 eyecandy, and it's only going to get better with newer titles, IMHO.
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# RE: MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460Servando Silva 2010-09-27 09:37
It's so sad you didn't break the magic 1GHz barrier, as MSI is showing off those numbers everywhere they can. But 950MHz are quite good for any GTX460 GPU. Most of them reach 100MHz less (850MHz aprox.).
Nice Review!
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# Very Impressed NonethelessBruceBruce 2010-09-27 19:18
I was very impressed with the 950 MHz performance, as well. This is really "The Little (Graphics) Engine That Could"!

Until someone comes out with a water cooled model, every hardcore overclocker is going to want this card.
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# RE: Very Impressed NonethelessServando Silva 2010-09-27 19:26
I think I fall into that category. Maybe you could put your hands on the new Colorful 900MHz OC GTX460 GPU and see how it does against this one.
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