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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 12 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB Video Card
Features and Specifications
NVIDIA GF104 GPU Fermi Architecture
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Video Card
GeForce GTX-460 Partner Products
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
GeForce GTX460 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
GeForce GTX 460 Overclocking
Editor's Opinion: NVIDIA Fermi
GeForce GTX 460 Conclusion

GeForce GTX 460 Conclusion

Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating for the sample received which may differ from retail versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Performance delivers a big win for the GeForce GTX 460 over ATI's Radeon HD 5830 video card, which shares the same $200 retail price point. Our performance rating considers how effective the 768MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 DirectX-11 video card performs against competing products from both ATI and NVIDIA. Taking all of the collected results into consideration, the reference 768MB GeForce GTX 460 outperforms ATI's Radeon HD 5830 in nearly every benchmark test conducted. Further dominating over the Radeon 5830, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 offers PhysX and 3D-Vision functionality, produces less heat, and requires less power at idle. It easily captures the best price to performance ratio for most games tested, especially in BattleForge. At the end of our test gauntlet, the results prove that NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 is the best choice at $200... but also a better choice than their own GeForce GTX-465.


Zotac Synergy Edition GeForce GTX 460 with Display Port

Appearance is going to be a more subjective matter, since so many of NVIDIA's AIC partners have custom cooling solutions each with their own unique look. Some GeForce GTX 460 products are going to keep the reference look we've seen in this article, while others are going to borrow from the upper-end GeForce GTX 465 design (as illustrated above by the Synergy Edition GeForce GTX 460). To my own surprise, the designs all differentiate themselves from other Add-In Card partners who typically clone the reference appearance. This also means that function takes precedence over fashion, and in at least one case, we see the inclusion of DisplayPort beside the traditional dual-DVI and HDMI outputs.

In terms of video card pecking order, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 occupies the #4 spot just barely behind the GTX 465 in the NVIDIA product lineup and settled between the ATI Radeon HD 5830 and 5850. With so much power in a mid-level graphics board, this often creates an interest in paired SLI sets. Unfortunately, triple-SLI is not an option... but NVIDIA 3D-Vision Surround certainly is. As the first GF104 product (and fourth Fermi iteration), the GeForce GTX 460 has been designed with the same solid construction as its predecessors. There are exposed electronics on the back of the PCB, but nothing that protrudes enough to require a metal back-plate for protection. The top-side of the graphics card features a protective plastic fan shroud, which receives a recessed concave opening for the 75mm fan and allows for airflow in SLI configurations.

While most PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts buy a discrete graphics card for the sole purpose of playing video games, there's a very small niche who depend on the extra features beyond video fast frame rates. NVIDIA is the market leader in GPGPU functionality, and it's no surprise to see CPU-level technology available in their GPU products. NVIDIA's Fermi architecture is the first GPU to ever support Error Correcting Code (ECC), a feature that benefits both personal and professional users. Proprietary technologies such as NVIDIA Parallel DataCache and NVIDIA GigaThread Engine further add value to GPGPU functionality. Additionally, applications such as Adobe Photoshop or Premier can take advantage of GPGPU processing power. In case the point hasn't already been driven home, don't forget that 3D Vision and PhysX are technologies only available through NVIDIA.

As of launch day (12 July 2010), the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 video card is available at NewEgg in several different configurations. Here's a short list of their initial offerings:

  • $200 ASUS ENGTX460/2DI/768MD5 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 MSI N460GTX-M2D768D5 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 GIGABYTE GV-N460D5-768I-B GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 EVGA 768-P3-1360-TR GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 Palit NE5TX460FHD79 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $210 EVGA 768-P3-1362-TR GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked 768MB
  • $210 GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-768I GeForce GTX 460 OC 768MB
  • $210 MSI N460GTX Cyclone 768D5/OC GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $220 EVGA 768-P3-1362-AR GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked 768MB

Defining product value means something different to everyone. Some readers take heat and power consumption into consideration, while others are only concerned with FPS performance. With regard to value, there are several ways to look at the $200 GeForce GTX 460 768MB GDDR5 version and compare it to the closest rivals: such as the $200 ATI Radeon HD 5830. In terms of product price to FPS performance, the GeForce GTX 460 is one of the most affordable DirectX-11 video card products available. Here's a breakdown of the average cost (USD) per FPS recorded for the ten tests conducted for this article:

GeForce GTX 460 - 768MB Versions 1GB Versions
  • $200 ASUS ENGTX460/2DI/768MD5 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 MSI N460GTX-M2D768D5 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 GIGABYTE GV-N460D5-768I-B GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 EVGA 768-P3-1360-TR GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $200 Palit NE5TX460FHD79 GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $210 EVGA 768-P3-1362-TR GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked
  • $210 GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-768I GeForce GTX 460 OC 768MB
  • $210 MSI N460GTX Cyclone 768D5/OC GeForce GTX 460 768MB
  • $220 EVGA 768-P3-1362-AR GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked
    • $220 Palit NE5X460SF1102 GeForce GTX 460 Sonic 1GB
    • $230 GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 1GB
    • $245 Palit NE5X460HF1102 GeForce GTX 460 SONIC PLATINUM

    In conclusion, NVIDIA's GF104 Fermi GPU is exactly what the mid-range discreet graphics market needed. The 768MB GeForce GTX 460 beats the ATI Radeon HD 5830 at the $200 price point, and the 1GB version further deepens the divide. It's great to see NVIDIA offer budget-minded gamers so much with the GTX 460, primarily because this video card wins over the segment, but also because it overclocks well into the next level of graphics products. To the delight of many, temperatures are way down and have suggested this could be the coolest-running mid-level NVIDIA video card in a very long time. Idle power draw was a mere 18 watts by our measure, demonstrating that the GeForce GTX 460 is more efficient than ATI's Radeon HD 5830 - and also demands half the power of the GTX 465. With a myriad of custom cooling solutions and video output options from NVIDIA's AIC partners, expect the GeForce GTX 460 to improve the public opinions of Fermi's architecture.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Benchmark Reviews has separately published our review of the 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460.

    Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer AwardPros:

    + Impressively cool operating temperatures!
    + Consumes only 18 watts at idle
    + Best performer at $200 - beats Radeon 5830
    + Excellent price-to-performance cost ratio
    + Fermi Introduces Error Correcting Code (ECC)
    + 30% Overclock performance matches Radeon HD 5870
    + Fan exhausts all heated air outside of case
    + Quiet cooling fan under loaded operation
    + Includes native HDMI audio/video output
    + Adds 32x CSAA post-processing detail
    + Occasionally matches GeForce GTX 465 performance
    + Supports SLI functionality


    - Triple-SLI not supported


    • Performance: 8.75
    • Appearance: 9.00
    • Construction: 9.75
    • Functionality: 9.50
    • Value: 8.75

    Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.

    Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

    Benchmark Reviews encourages you to leave comments (below), or ask questions and join the discussion in our Forum.

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    # RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX-460 768MB Video CardServando Silva 2010-07-11 21:27
    Finally a decent Fermi GPU. Nvidia strikes back after almost 1 year. Thanks for this great Review Olin.
    Report Comment
    # First "Gaming" Fermi GPU...?Bruce Normann 2010-07-12 10:00
    I can't help but think that the GF100-based Fermi cards were not really optimized for gaming. Engineers don't just throw a bunch of transistors into a rectangular pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes. The architecture of the GF100 was designed to excel at something, it just wasn't gaming graphics. What I keep wodering is: what is the size and scope of the market that they WERE optimized for?
    Report Comment
    # RE: First "Gaming" Fermi GPU...?Servando Silva 2010-07-12 12:56
    I think they focused a lot on CUDA and features (3D, Surround, PhysX) instead of performance. This GPUs could really be super fast for other applications, just not gaming. This seems to be their first product "really" targeted to gamers.
    Report Comment
    # It's only a matter of timeAvro Arrow 2010-07-14 06:30
    We need to keep in mind that ATi's HD 5xxx series has already been out almost a year (wow, has it really been that long?) and that nVidia was supposed to have released Fermi almost exactly 1 year ago. It's unknown what exactly ATi is going to release this year but we can be sure that it's most likely going to make the GTX 4xx series look like the FX 5xxx
    Report Comment
    # one questionFederico La Morgia 2010-08-07 05:45
    what is written on the RAM chips?
    Report Comment
    # RE: one questionOlin Coles 2010-08-07 05:56
    Textures are cached and buffered to the video memory. Some games buffer only 100MB, and other buffer up to 1GB.
    Report Comment

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