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Test System And Benchmarks

On The Bench: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW
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We’re including a number of cards in our benchmarks. From AMD, we have the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870. From Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 460 and 470, in addition to EVGA’s factory overclocked GTX460 FTW, of course.

As described in our Radeon HD 6800 launch article, the majority of GeForce GTX 460 cards on the market are at least slightly overclocked beyond the reference specification. To make sure the benchmarks reflect what's available for purchase, we averaged out the clocks for the seven cheapest models we could find for a fair representation of the GeForce GTX 460 playing field. As a result, we are benchmarking the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB at 708/1416 MHz core/shader speeds for our tests, a 33 MHz increase over the original reference core clock. This increase is so low that, frankly, it will probably have no measurable impact on our results. It does seem like the fair thing to do, though. The memory runs at the reference 900 MHz GDDR5 clock, as even overclocked models tend to leave memory at reference speeds.

It's also worth noting that most Radeon HD 6870s currently available ship at reference clock rates. There are a handful of 13 and 20 MHz speed bumps, and a couple of 40 MHz increases that command higher prices. However, for the folks ready to hit the comments section with, "Sure, compare overclocked Nvidia hardware to stock AMD cards," bear in mind that this is representative of today's retail landscape.


Test System
CPU
Intel Core i7-920 (Nehalem), 2.67 GHz, QPI-4200, 8 MB Cache
Overclocked to 3.61 GHz @ 172 MHz BCLK
Motherboard
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
Intel X58, BIOS version FA
Networking
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Memory
Mushkin PC3-10700H
  3 x 2048 MB, DDR3-1376, CL 10-10-10-25-1T
Graphics
HIS Radeon HD 6870
1 GB GDDR5
MSI N6870
Radeon HD 6870, 1 GB GDDR5
HIS Radeon HD 6850
1 GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 6850 Reference
1 GB GDDR5
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW Edition
GeForce GTX 460, 1 GB GDDR5
850/1700/1000 MHz core/shader/memory clocks
(also representing typical GeForce GTX 460 1 GB @ 708/1416/900 MHz core/shader/memory clocks)
Galaxy GeForce GTX 470
1280 MB GDDR5
(all clock rates have been set to reference specifications for the purpose of benchmarking)
Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar WD50 00AAJS-00YFA,
500 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
Power
Thermaltake Toughpower 1200 W
1200 W, ATX 12V 2.2, EPS 12v 2.91
Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers
AMD Catalyst 10.10 Beta, Nvidia GeForce Driver 260.89 WHQL
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