Mid-Range NVIDIA GPU Battle: GTX 460 vs. GTX 470

Article Index

Test System and 3DMark Vantage

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: In order to provide comparable results, the graphics cards featured here were installed on the same, high end X58 based test system. The components used consisted of the Asus Rampage III Extreme motherboard, Core i7 980X Extreme Edition processor, and 6GB of OCZ Blade memory.

Within the BIOS, we configured the processor to an overclocked speed of 4.27GHz and memory to 1869MHz. We feel these settings will minimize the occurrences of non-GPU related performance bottlenecks during benchmark runs and allow the graphics cards to show their true potential. Furthermore, our Crucial M225 solid state drive entered the testing process with a clean copy of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit installed. Once installation was complete, we fully updated the OS and installed the latest drivers and applications relevant to the review article.

HotHardware's Test System
Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition
Overclocked 4.27GHz

Asus Rampage III Extreme Motherboard
X58 Express Chipset

MSI Hawk GTX 460
Gigabyte Super OC HD 5870 1GB
Gigabyte Super OC GTX 470 1.28GB
Zotac GTX 460 2GB
Zotac Amp Edition GTX 480
XFX HD 6870 1GB

6GB OCZ Blade DDR3-1869
(3 X 2GB) 7-8-7-20 1T

Crucial M225 128GB SSD
Firmware 1916

Dell 3008WFP LCD Monitor
2560 x 1600 Resolution

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Professional 64bit
NVIDIA GeForce Driver Release 260.63
ATI Catalyst Display Driver 10.10

Benchmarks Used:

3DMark Vantage
Dirt 2
Far Cry 2
Just Cause 2
Lost Planet 2
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat

In order to find out where these cards fit in the graphics market, we put them up against some serious competition. The comparison group consists of three other models. In place of a reference design HD 5870, we used Gigabyte's Super Overclock HD 5870 1GB and dialed it down to stock speeds. The Zotac Amp Edition GTX 480 was also tested using reference design clock frequencies. Of course, we don't necessarily expect Gigabyte's overclocked GTX 470 to keep up with 480 numbers, but it will still be interesting to see how they compare. Equally important, the overclocked GTX 460s should be competitive with the HD 6870 as they fall in the same price range.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DX10 Performance

3DMark Vantage

The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista-based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows. 3DMark Vantage isn't simply a port of 3DMark06 to DirectX 10 though.  With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, in addition to support for the latest PC hardware. We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark Vantage's Extreme preset option, which uses a resolution of 1920x1200 with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering.

Right off the bat, we get some interesting results. The Gigabyte GTX 470 goes toe to toe with the HD 5870. It scored a bit higher using the performance preset, and a little lower with extreme settings. On the other hand, MSI's Hawk GTX 460 almost mirrors the performance of the HD 6870.

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