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Conclusion

Nvidia GeForce GTX 460: The Fermi We Were Waiting For
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Oh, what a difference one billion transistors makes. The GF104 graphics processor is the derivative component we’ve been hoping for since Nvidia first launched its GeForce GTX 480 and 470 graphics cards earlier this year.

If you read my GeForce GTX 465 and held off on a mainstream Fermi-based upgrade, then you have to be smiling to yourself right now. The 1 GB GeForce GTX 460 performs on par with the pricier GTX 465, losing to it in some cases and beating it in others. If you’re just looking at speed for the price, that top-end GeForce GTX 460 already rises to the top as a favorite in Nvidia’s lineup. Then factor in a shorter board (the same size as AMD’s Radeon HD 5770), cooler operating temperatures, lower power consumption, and a damn near-silent fan. No question, the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB is the way to go there. Add 3D Vision support, Blu-ray 3D capabilities, CUDA, and PhysX, if you can see yourself taking advantage of those features—none of which AMD really has an answer for yet.

Of course, the incumbent is still a potent piece of hardware. Launched at $240, the Radeon HD 5830 did land with a solid “meh.” The thing needed to be $20 cheaper, at least coming closer to the $200 price point occupied by the similar-performing Radeon HD 4890.

Funny. Competition has its way of knocking things back into balance, though. Ahead of today’s GeForce GTX 460 launch, AMD has had to push the price of its Radeon HD 5830 down between $199 and $229—where we said it should have been from the get-go. But even there AMD doesn’t run away with an uncontested win. The 5830 takes victories in Crysis and Aliens vs. Predator, but is otherwise bested by the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB. Good thing it’s generally cheaper and comes equipped with AMD’s Eyefinity multi-display technology—that’s enough to keep these two cards competitive.

The GeForce GTX 460 768 MB, priced to match the Radeon HD 5830, is a little less attractive. The smaller frame buffer hurts performance at high resolutions with AA turned on, and a narrower memory bus translates into less bandwidth, consequently slowing things down in the rest of our tests. I’d rather spend the extra $20 and get the faster card, quite frankly.

These cards aren’t perfect. Bitstreaming still isn’t working. And even when it does work, you’ll need to buy CyberLink’s PowerDVD 10 to use it (stranding everyone who made the jump to PowerDVD 9 when AMD and Intel added bitstreaming to their graphics products—not cool). And as a guy who uses three displays, it’d still be nice to have that capability on an Nvidia card. Until then, real-world productivity requirements mean I keep a Radeon HD 5850 in my personal workstation.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to make a list of things not to like about the GeForce GTX 460. Nvidia has addressed most, if not all, of what concerned us when the GeForce GTX 480 and 470 launched using GF104. The GeForce GTX 460 1 GB centering on that chip is truly worthy of a rare Recommended Buy award.

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Top Comments
  • 35 Hide
    sabot00 , July 12, 2010 4:28 AM
    Finally, the price wars from the 4000/GTX 200 ages are back!
  • 22 Hide
    thedreadfather , July 12, 2010 4:36 AM
    Tamz_mscAt last, Nvidia has impressed me(to a certain extent).But where's power consumption in SLI?

    Did you even read the whole article?
    Page 5 "Sneak Peek at SLI"
    "Again, this is just a teaser. We’ll be following up with a full exploration of these cards in SLI, comparing them to a GeForce GTX 480."

    Great review as always, Chris.
  • 16 Hide
    gkay09 , July 12, 2010 4:55 AM
    Very nice SLI scaling IMO...That is one department where Nvidia wins always...
    Hope to see ATI improve their scaling performance...And a very good article there Chris...
Other Comments
  • 35 Hide
    sabot00 , July 12, 2010 4:28 AM
    Finally, the price wars from the 4000/GTX 200 ages are back!
  • 22 Hide
    thedreadfather , July 12, 2010 4:36 AM
    Tamz_mscAt last, Nvidia has impressed me(to a certain extent).But where's power consumption in SLI?

    Did you even read the whole article?
    Page 5 "Sneak Peek at SLI"
    "Again, this is just a teaser. We’ll be following up with a full exploration of these cards in SLI, comparing them to a GeForce GTX 480."

    Great review as always, Chris.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , July 12, 2010 4:38 AM
    thedreadfatherDid you even read the whole article? Page 5 "Sneak Peek at SLI" "Again, this is just a teaser. We’ll be following up with a full exploration of these cards in SLI, comparing them to a GeForce GTX 480."Great review as always, Chris.


    Much thanks, sir!
  • 4 Hide
    thejerk , July 12, 2010 4:39 AM
    Nice review, Chris. Best I've read here in a while.
  • 10 Hide
    cangelini , July 12, 2010 4:43 AM
    guid_aaa000001I have never waited for this... It's not "we", it must be "some people".Note: That is if you consider "me" in that "we".


    We, as in Tom's Hardware ;-)
  • 7 Hide
    lashton , July 12, 2010 4:43 AM
    the 5830 i think is a better card, hell you can get a 5770 super-clock it and thats the same speed as a GTX460 for a fraction of the price!
  • 1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 12, 2010 4:45 AM
    thedreadfatherDid you even read the whole article? Page 5 "Sneak Peek at SLI" "Again, this is just a teaser. We’ll be following up with a full exploration of these cards in SLI, comparing them to a GeForce GTX 480."Great review as always, Chris.

    Might have overlooked that line, but I'm wondering how the 460 would perform when overclocked.
  • 0 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 12, 2010 4:54 AM
    Comparing it with your test on the 480 , two GTX 460 1gb s in SLI does seem to outperform a single 480, although very slightly
  • 16 Hide
    gkay09 , July 12, 2010 4:55 AM
    Very nice SLI scaling IMO...That is one department where Nvidia wins always...
    Hope to see ATI improve their scaling performance...And a very good article there Chris...
  • 10 Hide
    dertechie , July 12, 2010 4:57 AM
    Took them long enough. Bring on the price wars.
  • 3 Hide
    worst 3 , July 12, 2010 5:05 AM
    I hope they this will make the price war trickle up to the higher ati and nvidia cars. have had my eye on a 5850, hope the 5830 get real cheap fast and the 5850 to follow down to the $250 price range.

    i wonder if they will make a new gtx465 with the a full or near full gf104 core.
  • -6 Hide
    scook9 , July 12, 2010 5:09 AM
    This is the same GPU as the laptop GTX 480m isn't it? Same GF104?
  • 5 Hide
    ares1214 , July 12, 2010 5:26 AM
    actually, i like ati and all, but id take the 460 1 gig version over the 5770 anyday, way more bang for buck
  • 3 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 12, 2010 5:28 AM
    Just checked with Guru3D, these cards easily overclock to 800+ MHz core without voltage tweaks.An absolutely great overclocker!
  • 7 Hide
    ares1214 , July 12, 2010 5:30 AM
    yeah, same here, i saw this thing get past 850 on default speed stock cooling.
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