Nvidia GeForce GTX 460: The Fermi We Were Waiting For

GF104: In Practice With GeForce GTX 460

Now, all along I’ve been talking about GF104 in its pure, unadulterated form. But as with GF100, Nvidia is turning bits and pieces off along the way—whether to improve yields or keep from blowing GeForce GTX 465 completely out of the water, we aren’t told why.

The GeForce GTX 460 1 GB arrives with seven of eight SMs enabled, cutting available CUDA cores to 336 and texture units to 56. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 460 768 MB employs the same configuration, wielding 336 cores and 56 TMUs.

Once you get past the front-end, these two boards start to look a little different. The 1 GB version gets to use all four of its ROP partitions, outputting up to 32 pixels per clock, benefiting from a full 256-bit bus, and enjoying a full 512 KB of L2 cache. Meanwhile, the 768 MB card makes do with three of four partitions, slimming down to 24 of what Nvidia calls ROP units, a 192-bit bus, and 384 KB of L2 cache.

Nvidia doesn’t do anything else to try to differentiate these cards though, which I think is good news. That means the clocks are similar: fixed-function units run at 675 MHz, the shader cores run at 1350 MHz, and the GDDR5 memory employs a 900 MHz clock (resulting in a 3600 MT/s data rate).


GeForce GTX 460
GeForce GTX 465
GeForce GTX 470
GeForce GTX 480
Graphics Processing Clusters
2
3
4
4
Streaming Multiprocessors
7
11
14
15
CUDA Cores
336
352
448
480
Texture Units
56
44
56
60
ROP Partitions
4/3
4
5
6
Graphics Clock
675 MHz
607 MHz
607 MHz
700 MHz
Shader Clock
1350 MHz
1215 MHz
1215 MHz
1401 MHz
Memory Clock
900 MHz
802 MHz
837 MHz
924 MHz
GDDR5 Memory
1 GB/768 MB
1 GB
1.25 GB
1.5 GB
Memory Interface
256-bit/192-bit
256-bit
320-bit
384-bit
Memory Bandwidth
115.2 GB/s/86.4 GB/s
102.6 GB/s
133.9 GB/s
177.4 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate
37.8 GTexels/s
26.7 GTexels/s
34 GTexels/s
42 GTexels/s
Connectors
2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI
Form Factor
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Power Connectors
2 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin
Recommended Power Supply
450 W
550 W
550 W
600 W
Thermal Design Power
160 W/150 W
200 W
215 W
250 W
Thermal Threshold
104 degrees C
105 degrees C
105 degrees C105 degrees C


Meet The GeForce GTX 460

The first thing you’ll notice about the GeForce GTX 460 is its physical size. We received two reference cards from Nvidia, both measuring 8.5” long—the same length as AMD’s Radeon HD 5770, and a full 2.5” shorter than the massive Radeon HD 5830 we have here in the lab. We also got a pair of third-party boards: one from Palit and one from Zotac. The Zotac card is pretty much reference-sized. But the Palit board sheds an additional inch, landing at 7.5” long.

Both third-party cards deviate from the reference cooling, too. Zotac went with a blower-type fan. Palit’s design employs a more rigid array of aluminum fins under a single 75 mm fan, while the reference cooler makes use of radially-oriented fins and the same-sized cooler.

Nvidia exposes two dual-link DVI outputs on its reference design, along with a mini-HDMI connector. Zotac goes all-digital with a pair of dual-link DVI outputs, DisplayPort, and HDMI outputs, only two of which are usable at any given time. Palit enables the same two DVI connectors, HDMI, and analog VGA out.

Because the 1 GB card is rated for up to 160 W, while the 768 MB board has a 150 W thermal design power spec, they employ the same twin 6-pin PCI Express power connectors. Moreover, you can’t do three-way or four-way SLI here, as the GeForce GTX 460s only boast a single SLI finger.

And speaking of SLI, although there are 768 MB and 1 GB boards available, exploiting SLI functionality requires two cards with the same-sized frame buffer. You can’t mix and match these, as has always been the case.

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    Top Comments
  • sabot00
    Finally, the price wars from the 4000/GTX 200 ages are back!
    35
  • thedreadfather
    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.
    22
  • gkay09
    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...
    16
  • Other Comments
  • sabot00
    Finally, the price wars from the 4000/GTX 200 ages are back!
    35
  • Tamz_msc
    At last, Nvidia has impressed me(to a certain extent).But where's power consumption in SLI?
    -21
  • Tamz_msc
    Oops!Sorry for the double post.
    -26
  • thedreadfather
    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.
    22
  • cangelini
    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!
    5
  • thejerk
    Nice review, Chris. Best I've read here in a while.
    4
  • guid_aaa000001
    I have never waited for this... It's not "we", it must be "some people".

    Note: That is if you consider "me" in that "we".
    -20
  • cangelini
    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 ;-)
    10
  • lashton
    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!
    7
  • Tamz_msc
    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.
    1
  • Tamz_msc
    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
    0
  • gkay09
    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...
    16
  • dertechie
    Took them long enough. Bring on the price wars.
    10
  • worst 3
    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.
    3
  • ares1214
    this is a decent budget card, but this disgusts me. If nvidia really wants to make us wait 6 months after ati, they might aswell made it the extra couple of months for the 480 to be put on fermi 104. i cant believe they didnt wait
    -14
  • scook9
    This is the same GPU as the laptop GTX 480m isn't it? Same GF104?
    -6
  • RogerDeath
    Funny comparing a supposedly more powerful card (GTX 460) against the 5770 and it still makes the 5770 look good due to less power, cheaper price, and of course the (relatively) small difference in FPS where it would make a difference (anything over 60ish FPS is not counted).
    -12
  • ares1214
    actually, i like ati and all, but id take the 460 1 gig version over the 5770 anyday, way more bang for buck
    5
  • Tamz_msc
    Just checked with Guru3D, these cards easily overclock to 800+ MHz core without voltage tweaks.An absolutely great overclocker!
    3
  • ares1214
    yeah, same here, i saw this thing get past 850 on default speed stock cooling.
    7