Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Video Cards arrow MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460
MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460 E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
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

MSI N460GTX HAWK Temperatures

It's hard to know exactly when the first video card got overclocked, and by whom. What we do know is that it's hard to imagine a computer enthusiast or gamer today that doesn't overclock their hardware. Of course, not every video card has the head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they generate straight from the factory. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.

To begin testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark 1.8.2 to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. The ambient room temperature remained stable at 26C throughout testing. I know this is a bit higher than the average American household, but we had a massive heat wave this summer and my testing is done in an upstairs room that doesn't get as much of the central A/C as I would like... Besides, I know some of you are not living in iceboxes and would be interested in how well the GTX 460 handles high ambient temps. I do have a ton of airflow into the video card section of my benchmarking case, with a 200mm side fan blowing directly inward, so that helps alleviate the high ambient temps.

The MSI N460GTX HAWK video card recorded 28C in idle 2D mode, and increased to 53C after 30 minutes of stability testing in full 3D mode, at 1920x1200 resolution, and the maximum MSAA setting of 8X. With the fan set on Automatic, the speed rose to 64% under full load. Before we talk about the temps under load, it's worth paying attention to the idle temperatures. I rarely see idle temps this low above ambient, but if you follow along into the next section on power consumption, I think you'll see the explanation.

Load

Fan Speed

GPU Temperature

Idle

40% - AUTO (1620 RPM)

28C

Furmark

64% - AUTO (3720 RPM)

53C

Furmark

100% - Manual (4650 RPM)

50C

53C is a tremendous result for temperature stress testing, especially with such a powerful GPU, stock fan settings, a moderately high ambient of 26C, and fan speeds controlled by the card. I'm used to seeing video card manufacturers keeping the fan speeds low and letting GPU temps get into higher temperature regions. In this case, the fan controller ramped up nicely to the 64% mark when running on auto. With high quality PWM-controlled fans that run fairly quiet, I didn't notice a major shift in fan noise, either. There is definitely some benefit to running the fan harder, as you can see from the 100% fan results above.

MSI_N460GTX_HAWK_Video_Card_furmark_temp.jpg

I rarely do my benchmarking tests with fans set on Automatic, preferring to give the GPU or CPU the best shot at surviving the day intact. With an integrated temperature controller in play though, I want to show how the manufacturer has programmed the system. This is one video card where I am completely happy with the stock fan profile. When I was maxing out both the voltage on all the subsystems and cranking the clocks up, I stuck to 100% on the fan, almost all the time. I did one test with 950 MHz on the core and the fan on Auto though, just to see: the fan controller ramped up to 65% and the GPU got to 55C. Turning the fan back up to 100% brought it down a few degrees, to 51C.

Load temps never got higher than 55C when running continuous gaming benchmarks with automatic fan speeds, so the cooling system definitely does the job, and there is a lot of temperature headroom left for the GPU. The noise at 100% speed was much lower than some other products I've tested recently that had squirrel cage blowers. For me, this type of fan noise is less irritating than what a radial fan produces, but I still prefer a design that pushes all the heated air out the back of the case. For normal usage patterns including gaming, I'd leave the fan settings on Auto. For benchmarking, it's worth putting up with a tiny little bit more noise, and to drive the fan at 100%.

FurMark is an OpenGL benchmark that heavily stresses and overheats the graphics card with fur rendering. The benchmark offers several options allowing the user to tweak the rendering: fullscreen / windowed mode, MSAA selection, window size, duration. The benchmark also includes a GPU Burner mode (stability test). FurMark requires an OpenGL 2.0 compliant graphics card with lot of GPU power!

MSI_N460GTX_HAWK_Video_Card_Furmark_Start_Screen.png

FurMark does do two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than any other application or video game, and it does so with consistency every time. While FurMark is not a true benchmark tool for comparing different video cards, it still works well to compare one product against itself using different drivers or clock speeds, or testing the stability of a GPU, as it raises the temperatures higher than any program. But in the end, it's a rather limited tool.

In our next section, we discuss electrical power consumption and learn how well (or poorly) each video card will impact your utility bill...



 

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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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!
Report Comment
 
 
# 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
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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!
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 
 
# 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.
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter