Amazing SLI Scaling: Do Two GeForce GTX 460s Beat One GTX 480?

Conclusion

With an MSRP of $250 and a Web price around $230, GeForce GTX 460 1GB graphics cards were already known to be great mid-priced performers. Doubling these up in SLI gives us the same MSRP and Web price as a single GeForce GTX 480. But does this give us more performance? You bet!

The GeForce GTX 460 SLI configuration absolutely obliterates the GeForce GTX 480’s performance scores, landing a 26% performance coup de grace upon its big brother after continuously battering it with wins in every benchmark at every setting. That would put it in the same performance class as a certain $700 dual-GPU card, according to Don Woligroski’s recent review.  But—at less than $500—it doesn't even need to compete there. While far-more-expensive solutions do have their own particular strengths, what we really wanted to know was where our $460 would be best spent, and today’s test revealed that answer.

Because SLI scales so well, giving two GeForce GTX 460 1GB graphics cards a 90% performance boost over a single card, the value for two cards together is very similar to what earned the single GeForce GTX 460 1GB its previous Recommended Buy award. Today’s award applies in the same way to the $500 graphics category, where the only reason we can think of to purchase a GeForce GTX 480 right now is to use it in SLI for the $1000 price class.

While today’s award applies to all GeForce GTX 460 1GB models priced between $230 and $250, we’d still like to express our special thanks to Sparkle Computer Corp. for supplying the units we used to determine today’s results.

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  • Lmeow
    Wow. GTX 460 SLIs smoked the GTX 480 the whole way through... (you'd really think it'd be the other way - seeing as those GTX 480s don't exactly run 'cool' :D) without breaking a sweat.

    The only reason to get a GTX 480 now is if your motherboard doesn't have dual PCI-E x16 slots/support SLI or you want to SLI GTX 480s later on.

    Good job nVidia - real comeback.
    24
  • welshmousepk
    I had given up on Nvidia this gen, but somehow they have pulled off the impossible.

    I'm seriously considering picking up two of these...
    21
  • Other Comments
  • welshmousepk
    I had given up on Nvidia this gen, but somehow they have pulled off the impossible.

    I'm seriously considering picking up two of these...
    21
  • Lmeow
    Wow. GTX 460 SLIs smoked the GTX 480 the whole way through... (you'd really think it'd be the other way - seeing as those GTX 480s don't exactly run 'cool' :D) without breaking a sweat.

    The only reason to get a GTX 480 now is if your motherboard doesn't have dual PCI-E x16 slots/support SLI or you want to SLI GTX 480s later on.

    Good job nVidia - real comeback.
    24
  • lutel
    To buy or not to buy GTX 460 - that is the question which will be easier if you give decent review of GTX 460 boards, with one 5850 focused on noise (take a look at silentpcreview methodology) and overclocability.
    -9
  • scrumworks
    welshmousepkI had given up on Nvidia this gen, but somehow they have pulled off the impossible. I'm seriously considering picking up two of these...


    Or you can wait couple of months for Southern Islands that makes everything nvidia has look dated.
    2
  • stm1185
    "With an MSRP of $250 and a Web price around $230, the GeForce GTX 460 was already known to be a great mid-priced performer"

    Is that Canadian pricing I see, because in America GTX 460s go for $199!.

    For $250 you get a GTX 460 factory overclocked from 675 mhz to 800MHZ! and with 1GB of ram, not 768mb! 2 of which are 90% as fast as a Ati 5970, for $200 less!
    -5
  • Maziar
    Great review.
    I am amazed by the 90% performance boost over a single GTX 460.
    Although it has more power consumption than 1 GTX 480,but its a great cost-effective option for those who can't afford the 480 but need similar(or better) performance
    7
  • andrewcutter
    scrumworksOr you can wait couple of months for Southern Islands that makes everything nvidia has look dated.

    to wait is a continous exercise you can only look at now at the time of buying...:D
    4
  • hardcore_gamer
    great article..gotta love toms :D
    3
  • andrewcutter
    I might be mistaken but is this sparkle card a bit more power hungry. the power requirement seems to be a bit high for 460.:(
    4
  • dragonfang18
    But you lose the power to upgrade... At least I can still save up for another 480 down the road when I need an upgrade.
    6
  • hardcore_gamer
    unfortunately gtx460s only support 2way SLI..I would like to see 460s with more than one SLI finger.
    5
  • Crashman
    stm1185"With an MSRP of $250 and a Web price around $230, the GeForce GTX 460 was already known to be a great mid-priced performer" Is that Canadian pricing I see, because in America GTX 460s go for $199!. For $250 you get a GTX 460 factory overclocked from 675 mhz to 800MHZ! and with 1GB of ram, not 768mb! 2 of which are 90% as fast as a Ati 5970, for $200 less!

    768MB cards need not apply: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-gf104-fermi,2684.html
    AndrewCutterI might be mistaken but is this sparkle card a bit more power hungry. the power requirement seems to be a bit high for 460.
    Do the subtraction, what is it 163W full load and 21W for the card itself? Then subtract 10% loss at the power supply.
    dragonfang18But you lose the power to upgrade... At least I can still save up for another 480 down the road when I need an upgrade.
    Yes, GTX 480 SLI is mentioned in the conclusion as the best reason to buy the GTX 480 right now: Most people who would like to do a future SLI upgrade have that in mind when the buy a card.
    hardcore_gamerunfortunately gtx460s only support 2way SLI..I would like to see 460s with more than one SLI finger.
    You think perhaps the performance we just saw might be the reason why Nvidia only wanted one SLI connection on these cards? They wouldn't want to totally kill-off GTX 480 sales.
    4
  • lenoxlv
    2x 5850 > 2x 460
    -10
  • Shivetya
    Pretty amazing scaling... wish there were a little more variety in SLI-capable AM3 motherboards. Obviously that's wouldn't improve AMD's graphics card sales, but it'd be great for consumers...
    9
  • hardcore_gamer
    CrashmanYou think perhaps the performance we just saw might be the reason why Nvidia only wanted one SLI connection on these cards? They wouldn't want to totally kill-off GTX 480 sales.


    yea..but 4 of these puppies in SLI can even blow away the asus ares...:D
    2
  • andrewcutter
    LenoxLV2x 5850 > 2x 460

    source : new egg
    cheapest 5850,s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102884 2 will cost 570 $
    cheapest 460,s (1 GB) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125333 2 will cost 460 $.
    so the price diff is abt 110 $. Is the performance numbers so great that it can justify the price diff?
    7
  • DjEaZy
    ... they maybe should make an GTX 460 x2....
    7
  • Tamz_msc
    This is what I was expecting since they were released.
    3
  • blackpanther26
    still uses more power than the ATI radeon 5970.
    5
  • Chris_TC
    AndrewCuttersource : new eggcheapest 5850,s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102884 2 will cost 570 $cheapest 460,s (1 GB) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814125333 2 will cost 460 $.so the price diff is abt 110 $. Is the performance numbers so great that it can justify the price diff?

    Um, thanks to SLI scaling the 460s should actually be faster than the 5850s. This is a very easy decision.
    3