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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 02 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI Performance
Features and Specifications
NVIDIA GF104 GPU Fermi Architecture
ASUS ENGTX460/2DI/768MD5 Video Card
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

DX10: Far Cry 2

Ubisoft has developed Far Cry 2 as a sequel to the original, but with a very different approach to game play and story line. Far Cry 2 features a vast world built on Ubisoft's new game engine called Dunia, meaning "world", "earth" or "living" in Farci. The setting in Far Cry 2 takes place on a fictional Central African landscape, set to a modern day timeline.

The Dunia engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2, by Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers realistic semi-destructible environments, special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storms, real-time night-and-day sun light and moon light cycles, dynamic music system, and non-scripted enemy A.I actions.

The Dunia game engine takes advantage of multi-core processors as well as multiple processors and supports DirectX 9 as well as DirectX-10. Only 2 or 3 percent of the original CryEngine code is re-used, according to Michiel Verheijdt, Senior Product Manager for Ubisoft Netherlands. Additionally, the engine is less hardware-demanding than CryEngine 2, the engine used in Crysis.

However, it should be noted that Crysis delivers greater character and object texture detail, as well as more destructible elements within the environment. For example; trees breaking into many smaller pieces and buildings breaking down to their component panels. Far Cry 2 also supports the amBX technology from Philips. With the proper hardware, this adds effects like vibrations, ambient colored lights, and fans that generate wind effects.

There is a benchmark tool in the PC version of Far Cry 2, which offers an excellent array of settings for performance testing. Benchmark Reviews used the maximum settings allowed for DirectX-10 tests, with the resolution set to 1920x1200. Performance settings were all set to 'Very High', Render Quality was set to 'Ultra High' overall quality, 8x anti-aliasing was applied, and HDR and Bloom were enabled.


Although the Dunia engine in Far Cry 2 is slightly less demanding than CryEngine 2 engine in Crysis, the strain appears to be extremely close. In Crysis we didn't dare to test AA above 4x, whereas we used 8x AA and 'Ultra High' settings in Far Cry 2. The end effect was a separation between what is capable of maximum settings, and what is not. Using the short 'Ranch Small' time demo (which yields the lowest FPS of the three tests available), we noticed that there are very few products capable of producing playable frame rates with the settings all turned up.

Cost Analysis: Far Cry 2 (1680x1050)

  • $200 Radeon HD 5830 costs $5.76 per FPS
  • $200 GeForce GTX 460 costs $3.32 per FPS
  • $290 Radeon HD 5850 costs $5.61 per FPS
  • $320 GeForce GTX 470 costs $4.16 per FPS
  • $400 Radeon HD 5870 costs $6.60 per FPS
  • $480 GeForce GTX 480 costs $5.18 per FPS
  • $680 Radeon HG 5970 costs $7.62 per FPS
  • $400 GeForce GTX 460 SLI costs $3.72 per FPS
  • $960 GeForce GTX 480 SLI costs $6.19 per FPS
  • Test Summary: The Dunia game engine in Far Cry 2 demonstrates a preference towards NVIDIA products over ATI, which allows a single GeForce GTX 460 video card to dominate performance over the Radeon HD 5830, and even beats the Radeon HD 5850. Because of the major differences in performance with Far Cry 2, the GeForce GTX 460 (and all other GeForce cards) offered the best performance and cost per FPS of any DX11 video card. Of course, this also translated into impressive SLI performance. Combined into an SLI set, the GeForce GTX 460 surpasses both the Radeon HD 5870 as well as ATI's flagship Radeon HD 5970.

    Graphics Card Radeon HD5830 GeForce GTX460 Radeon HD5850 GeForce GTX470 Radeon HD5870 GeForce GTX480 Radeon HD5970
    GPU Cores 1120 336 1440 448 1600 480 3200 (1600 per GPU)
    Core Clock (MHz) 800 675 725 608 850 700 725
    Shader Clock (MHz) N/A 1350 N/A 1215 N/A 1401 N/A
    Memory Clock (MHz) 1000 900 1000 837 1200 924 1000
    Memory Amount 1024MB GDDR5 768MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1280MB GDDR5 1024MB GDDR5 1536MB GDDR5 2048MB GDDR5
    Memory Interface 256-bit 192-bit 256-bit 320-bit 256-bit 384-bit 512-bit (256-bit per GPU)



    # RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI PerformanceServando Silva 2010-08-02 20:38
    Very informative article Olin. I'm very tempted to change my HD 5850 and get a pair of these puppies. According to your experience, which would represent a better buy? GTX460 768MB SLI? or GTX460 1GB SLI? I can save quite a few bucks by going for the 768MB editions, but would 1GB worth it for an SLI setup?
    Great article!
    Report Comment
    # 768MB vs 1GBOlin Coles 2010-08-02 21:45
    If you've already got a 5850, I don't see any reason to upgrade. If anything, look for another and put them into CrossFire. As for 768MB vs 1GB variants, I think my suggestion depends on your resolution. 1680x10 is fine with a set of 768MB GeForce GTX 460's, but if you're running 1920x1200 or higher you'll want the 1GB versions.
    Report Comment
    # RE: 768MB vs 1GBServando Silva 2010-08-02 22:04
    CrossfireX scaling is worse than SLI scaling, right? I think HD5850 CF performs slower than GTX460 SLI (that's why I want to change), but I might be wrong. And I want it for 3840x1080 resolutions as that's what I use most of the time (if not possible, I use 1920x1080).
    Report Comment
    # Any hints of a 3xSLI?Mark N 2010-08-03 07:18
    Thanks for the great article! My biggest concern is the 2xSLI limitation. A single 480, while slower than a 2x460 setup affords the option to upgrade with a 2nd or 3rd 480 later as needed without discarding the previous card. Are there any rumors floating about anything on the horizon with greater expandability?
    Report Comment
    # Different price segmentsOlin Coles 2010-08-03 07:22
    The GTX 480 is a $480 product that could buy two 1GB GTX 460's and still have money left over... suffice it to say that it commands an entirely different price segment. In SLI, we're talking about $400 worth of video cards vs $960, and that's a huge difference.
    Report Comment
    # Any hints of a 3xSLI?Mark N 2010-08-03 07:48
    Absolutely. My thoughts were do I buy one 480 for now instead of two 460s. It seems the worse purchase for now, but in the future I would have the option to purchase another 480 if the 2x460 wasn't still cutting it.

    Were I to go with a 2x460 purchase I'm at the limit of my expansion and if the cards don't hold up, I'd have to discard/sell them and start over.

    I'm probably worrying about nothing though. A 2x460 setup, even before overclocking is such a huge jump from my GTX275 (OC 666MHz). I imagine it will more than satisfy my needs for this generation of cards. I'm just a worrier.
    Report Comment
    # RE: Any hints of a 3xSLI?Olin Coles 2010-08-03 07:51
    That would certainly take you to the top. What kind of resolution are you using? If it's 1920x1200 or larger, the GTX 480 makes sense. Also, if you'd like to see how the GTX 460 (or anything else) holds up against the GTX 285 (which is slightly faster than your GTX 275), read the single-card GTX 460 reviews.

    There's no indication that the GF104 will support triple-SLI. It appears to be reserved for their GF100 GPU.
    Report Comment
    # Any hints of a 3xSLI?Mark N 2010-08-03 08:02
    Two monitors. Main screen is 1920x1080 and the 2nd is 1680x1050. Usually the 2nd screen just has web/vent/messenger running on it while I play. Occasionally I'll play a DVD or video on the 2nd screen while gaming.
    Report Comment
    # RE: Any hints of a 3xSLI?Olin Coles 2010-08-03 08:05
    I understand the logic behind your decision, but I wouldn't count on ever buying a second GTX 480. By the time it's necessary, they'll be long gone. Besides, just one GTX 480 will push any game you've got (except Metro 2033) with settings at their highest.
    Report Comment
    # RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI Performancedlb 2010-08-04 08:35
    Great review! Very informative.... however, I think I found a typo on page 5.... in the graph that shows the specs of the various individual NVidia and ATI cards, in the last row, it says the ATI HD5870 has a memory interface of only 192bit.... shouldn't that read 256bit? Other than that, good stuff here Olin. Keep up the great work!
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-04 08:37
    You're right... it's 256-bit. I've got it fixed now, thanks!
    Report Comment
    # one questionFederico La Morgia 2010-08-07 05:43
    what is written on the RAM chips?
    Report Comment
    # ^_^Setsunayaki 2010-08-11 04:46
    I still take a single 480 GTX over an SLI 460 GTX. 768MB of Memory is too small today for games. 1024MB is ok, but there are reviews all over the place now on how 1024MB for some setups is too little as well...

    That 460 SLI is great if you plan on playing one game at a certain resolution and tech setup for many years. The two games from this year REVIEWED...AvP and Metro2033 are games requiring more than 1GB at max settings...So it means SLI is playable at lower resolution but can't max most games at high resolution from 2010 which means 460 SLI will utterly fail in games from 2011 which will be even more demanding and will come with full physics engines.

    1536 - 2048MB VRAM is what you should plan on having prior to going full SLI or Crossfire, specially if you are going triple monitor you need all the VRAM you can get. 1024MB is the new "baby-face" minimum.
    Report Comment
    # RE: ^_^Olin Coles 2010-08-11 06:54
    You're missing an important point: not everyone can afford $500 up front for the GTX 480. Think of this as high-performance layaway, because you can get a good bit of performance for $200 now and then add another card when you have more money. Two GTX 460's in SLI easily beat a single GTX 480, and offer more memory buffer too. 1536 - 2048MB of vRAM is exactly what you get with two GTX 460's... you don't get that with a single GTX 480. Finally, users with a 460 are not likely to use a resolution higher than 1920x1050, so it's a perfect fit.
    Report Comment
    # single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?mgph 2010-08-12 00:02
    thank you so much for your very detailed articles as well as answering every question. I am also thinking to upgrade my rigs so and if you don't mind giving your advice, here is my rigs:
    i7 930 - OC to 4.0ghz with V6 fan cooler
    RAM - Xtreem 2x3 6gbs
    GPU - single HIS 4870X2
    Mobo - Asus P6X58D Premium
    PSU - Antec True Power 800w
    Resolution - 1900x1020
    Driver - Catalyst 10.7a
    Since the graphics card give me so much problems, like minor stuttering and inconsistent fps in some games(yes, Crysis is one of them). My biggest disappointment is in Starcraft 2, though I can max out all, during some cutscenes and missions, the fps drops significantly (18-22). So, I am thinking to upgrade my graphics card and can you kindly suggest me which one I should choose: 460 SLI, single 480 or 5970 ? I think I will need to replace my PSU with higher 1k or 1.2k though if I do SLI.
    Report Comment
    # RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?Olin Coles 2010-08-12 07:30
    You're going to get stuttering issues whenever two GPUs are involved: SLI, CrossFire, and dual-GPU cards like the 5970. If you tell me what your budget is, I can help you find the best build. Also, some of that budget should be used on a SSD.
    Report Comment
    # RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?mgph 2010-08-12 17:25
    Thanks for your help and no, stuttering issues are gone away when I tested both Crysis and Crysis:Warhead on my bro's pc who changed from the same graphics card(yes he also had stuttering issues and inconsistent fps) to gtx 480 SLI with same CPU (i7 920 OC 3.4).
    Budget-wise, I am open to anything but I just want to get best of both world, value + performance since I believe why should I waste my money if I just need to take some time to search for the best instead of buying the most expensive(either gtx480 or 5970) which seems to be most powerful without knowing anything.
    Since articles from you and tomshardware showing how new fermi is promising,2694.html, I am thinking to give it a try but I am also worried if later when I want to upgrade, I will be in dead end. For SSD, any enlightenment for why I should use it ? I just know that it would be great for OS booting up part and data consistency.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?Olin Coles 2010-08-12 20:32
    I think that the GTX 480 is a far better purchase than the Radeon 5970... but I think that two GTX 460's are much better than one 480.

    SSDs will make everything open faster, and levels will load much quicker.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?mgph 2010-08-12 21:24
    Oh I see. Now what I should be thinking is do I want to make mine as future (next at lest 3-5years) proof? If yes, grab a GTX 480 first and add sli later when got money. Or to get the best performance+value atm, gtx 460sli is the right choice. Thanks for the info !

    What I understand is like SSDs is reading from flash memory instead of magnetic tape so it will reduce the time for cycling and finding data from tape. Okay but how about games ? Since if I do partition, games will take huge amount (at least 200-300gb) and for that whole to be faster loading time, I need to use SSD and install all the game on that SSD ? That seems like it will be quite expensive though. Okay, thanks for the enlightenment and appreciate your help !
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?Olin Coles 2010-08-13 06:09
    Since you need so much storage space, I suggest you look at the Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid Drive:
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?Adam 2010-08-13 06:19
    Would that really offer any significant benefits for gaming? Due to the very small amount of flash memory on it surlye it's only really going to have an effect on boot times.

    I was interested when it was released but pondered that for most purposes it wouldnt give any advantage whatsoever.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?Olin Coles 2010-08-13 06:31
    Games and the other programs would all open faster, and game levels/maps would change more quickly. Video frame rates would not be changed.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: single 4870X2 to gtx460 SLI or single 480 ?Adam 2010-08-13 07:57
    Yeah, for a regular SSD. But the Momentus XT only has 4GB of flash memory combined with its adaptive tech, so it 'might' load one game (or perhaps only certain maps) at SSD speeds but everything else will be stuck back in the 7200rpm HDD zone.

    I'm unsure of how well it works with gaming, just a bit sceptical.
    Report Comment
    # Picky observationGorham4 2010-08-19 11:44
    Olin, just found your site and I'm enjoying your indepth reviews. On a personal note I would have found it very interesting to see some of the ATI product in crossfire as a comparison.

    While I beleive that Nvidia has a real winner in the 460. The SLI scaling is really impressive so comparing a 5830 crossfire would have been nice. Keep up the good work
    Report Comment
    # RE: Picky observationOlin Coles 2010-08-19 11:52
    If I had a second 5830 we would include CrossFire results, but alas, I do not. :(

    Still, since one GTS 460 easily beats a single 5830, and since two 460's in SLI are nearly twice the performance of one, it could be surmised that a pair of 5830's isn't going to beat an SLI set of 460's anyway.
    Report Comment
    # more of a scaling testGorham4 2010-08-19 12:15
    I agree, per your single card 460 review that the 460 edges the 5830 out in most benchmarks at or above 1920. I'm interested in the scaling efficency.

    I'm currently running 5870's in CF. It works great at 2560X1600 and the picture quality is fantastic (BC2 in DX11 is unreal). I held off until after the disappointing 480 launch where heat and power consumption was unacceptable to me.

    Nvidia's SLI has always seemed more mature\robust to me so any comparisons between same level cards in single and dual modes is much appreciated.

    Again thanks for the great reviews I've been sending links to this site out to friends I don't know how you've slipped under our radar :)
    Report Comment
    # RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI Performancequickquestion 2011-01-31 19:02
    Could 2 of these cards handle Crysis on Medium with No AA, on 3 1680X1050 Screens? I mean like 35-50 FPS is fine for me. Thanks, i know I have been asking alot of questions lately, just looking for advice.
    Report Comment
    # RE: RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI PerformanceOlin Coles 2011-01-31 19:43
    That should do it just fine.
    Report Comment
    # RE: ASUS GeForce GTX 460 SLI Performancequickquestion 2011-01-31 19:54
    Thanks a bunch man. I'll probably start saving to get 2 of these and a 3rd 20" screen. Have a good day.
    Report Comment
    # PSU650W x GTX460 SLI cfg?Panko 2011-08-28 01:16
    is ANTEC Truepower 650W PSU enough powerfull for ENGTX460 DirectCU 1064 SLI config?
    Please, it's f o n d a m e n t a l e xme!
    Report Comment
    # RE: PSU650W x GTX460 SLI cfg?JPEGONE 2011-08-28 17:25
    yeah, 650w will be enough to power the cards. Just make sure that it has 4X 6 pin or 6+2 pin PCI-E power connectors.
    Report Comment
    # 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundGh0stfr33kza 2011-10-18 08:22
    Will a ASUS GTX460 DirectCu 1GB SLI config be able to run a NVIDIA Surround setup @ high settings for games like Crysis 2, BF3 and so on. Will be using 3x 23'' LED's.
    Report Comment
    # 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundGh0stfr33kza 2011-10-18 08:44
    Oh and I almost forgot, will I be able to run the 3x 23'' LED as 1 display and then an additional 27'' LCD monitor as a second display
    Report Comment
    # RE: 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundOlin Coles 2011-10-18 09:01
    Two GeForce GTX 460's in SLI can operate a 3-display setup, but I doubt they'll be capable of high-quality video settings in BF3. I believe you can add a fourth monitor, and can make it standalone or part of the set.
    Report Comment
    # 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundGh0stfr33kza 2011-10-18 10:04
    How sure are you about the forth monitor, this is an essential piece of information as it will determine if i'll run a sli config or an single, powerfull card eyefinity setup
    Report Comment
    # RE: 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundOlin Coles 2011-10-18 10:08
    Since we've never reviewed a stereo plus single setup, I can't say with certainty. I would suggest sending NVIDIA a message or talking to their support team.
    Report Comment
    # 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundGh0stfr33kza 2011-10-18 10:20
    okay thanks, 1 last question, which ati card would you recommend in the price range of 2 460's if i were to run the single card eyefinity setup?
    Report Comment
    # RE: 460SLI NVIDIA SurroundOlin Coles 2011-10-18 10:26
    I believe the Radeon HD 6970 would be the best single-card from AMD that matches the price of two GTX 460s. See here for performance details:
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