NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Debut: ZOTAC, EVGA - HotHardware

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Debut: ZOTAC, EVGA

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The road leading up to the release of their Fermi architecture-based GF100 GPU, which powers the first wave of GeForce GTX 400 series cards, was a rocky one for NVIDIA. Hampered by a number of delays, and design and manufacturing issues, the GF100 hit the scene much later than NVIDIA would have liked. Since the initial arrival of the flagship GeForce GTX 480 and its sibling the GeForce GTX 470 a few months back, however, NVIDIA has expanded their GF100-based graphics card line-up to include a third family member, the more mainstream GeForce GTX 465.  Of course, all three cards are widely available now.

Today, NVIDIA is unleashing yet another Fermi-architecture based graphics card, but unlike its predecessors, this one isn't based on the GF100. The GeForce GTX 460 we'll be showing you today is actually based on a new-class of Fermi-based GPU, the GF104. The GF104 borrows heavily from the GF100 design, but it features fewer CUDA cores and is pared down in a couple of other areas as well. In fact, it features over a billion fewer transistors than the GF100. Overall though, as you'll see on the pages ahead, the new GeForce GTX 460 is surprisingly potent given its relatively affordable price point and scaled down GPU.

Take a gander at the specifications and features of the two GeForce GTX 460 variants being introduced today directly below, and then we'll move on to show you some retail-ready cards from ZOTAC and EVGA, complete with a full battery of performance tests on both, along with some competing cards from the AMD camp...

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
Specifications & Features



  


As you can see in the specifications above, there are two GeForce GTX 460 cards hitting the scene today, a 768MB model and a 1GB model. If you look more closely though, you'll see that the cards actually differ in a few other meaningful ways as well. For example, the 768MB card features a smaller L2 cache, a narrower memory interface, and 8 fewer ROP units. We'll show you how these differences affect performance a little later on in the article, but the most obvious difference is that the 768MB model offers less peak memory bandwidth, which will obviously impact performance in bandwidth bound situations. Other than the items we've mentioned, however, the two GeForce GTX 460 cards are nearly identical in terms of their specifications.

Before we show you the actual cards, we should probably talk a bit about the GF104 GPU at the heart of the GeForce GTX 460. The GF104 is manufactured using TSMC's advanced 40nm process, and features 1.95 billion transistors--the GF100 features over 3 billion. In the configuration powering the GeForce GTX 460, the chip sports 2 graphics processing clusters, 7 streaming multiprocessors, 336 CUDA cores, 56 texture units, and 24 (768MB card) or 32 (1GB card) ROPs. It also sports a 256-bit memory interface, which can obviously be scaled back by disabling channels.

Each of the streaming multiprocessors in the GF104 GPU features 48 CUDA cores, 8 texture units, various registers and cache, and its own PolyMorph engine. You can see each functional block outlined in the diagram above. What you'll also notice is that the GF104 is actually comprised of 8 streaming multiprocessing units, so there's a possibility for more powerful cards based on this GPU design at some point in the future.

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Better performance and less power draw than the 465 lol This should have been the 465 and the other should have been the 460... Someone over at Nvidia messed up.

Very good performance for the price tho.

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Another great review Marco, this card clearly out paced the 5830. I found myself wanting to compare it to the 5850 but I guess it was not meant to compete in that price point. Overall the small card should be great for those with limited space It will be interesting to see if drivers can squeeze more performance out of this new architecture. 

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The only question is whether the GF104 will be placed into the GTX480 and GTX470. Those cards desperately need that chip, if that chip help NVIDIA regain the performance crown for the $200 market, imagine what it could do for the high-end market.

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It's good to see NVDIA competing -- and winning -- in the $200-$250 price range now, which I think is a sweet spot for what the mainstream gamer would spend on a graphics card.  In order for the 5830 to remain relevant, ATI will have to cut the price, and we can start having some pricing competition again.

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Now if only they have some hardcore pricing competition in the high end sector... $250 GTX 480s anyone?

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Heh that's what I was thinking. Hopefully this makes them a lot of money so they can trim a little off the 480 price. Please?? for sacky??

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Think of it this way, NVIDIA is going to release a GTX 485 and a GTX 475 soon and those will definitely drive the prices of the 470s and 480s down.  Since the GTX 460 proves that the numbers don't really matter as much as using all of those resources properly to get the most out of the card (Specwise the GTX 460 doesn't look impressive but look at the benchmarks!), and from Nvidia's refresh-trend  we will definitely see those high end variations soon.

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Yea, I expect the 475 and 485 to be right around the corner too... maybe even a 495?

However, when those come out, that'll make the 480s and 470s pretty scarce. But the prices should drop, and it would be a good time to pick one up, right around the release of the refresh.

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Great bang for your buck video card plus it overclocks like a champ

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Thanks for the review!

Looks like the GF104 has pretty good OC headroom as well, esp for the 256-bit/1GB variety. lol it already beats the 5830 pretty convincingly.

 

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