NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB & GTX 460 768MB Review
Can you believe that after more than a year of rumors, debate and supposition, it has already been over four months after NVIDIA’s GTX 400-series launched? The GTX 480 and GTX 470 are for all intents and purposes are still extremely popular and have shown us their gaming capabilities again and again. Only a few weeks ago these two high end cards were joined by the GTX 465 which was met with a decidedly lukewarm reception from us as well as most other publications. In an effort to move on quickly from that bump in the road, NVIDIA is following up with yet another mid-range card: the GTX 460.
Now we’re sure that some of you may be rolling your eyes towards the ceiling and thinking “not another power hungry, hot and expensive NVIDIA 400-series card”. Believe it or not, we’ll go on record right now by saying that this is one graphics card you'll want to pay attention to because the GTX 460 actually bucks several preconceptions many have had about the GTX 400-series cards. If we don’t yet have your attention, read on and I am sure you’ll start getting excited.
Based off of a GF104 core, the GTX 460 doesn’t sport a 3 billion transistor GF100 with a bunch of disabled cores like the GTX 465 did. Rather, it uses a slimmed down 1.95 billion transistor die which is supposed to offer a much leaner power consumption envelope while being less expensive to produce and extremely compact. The result is beneficial for consumers on a number of fronts, especially considering NVIDIA will be releasing two versions of the GTX 460 right off the bat. There will be a 1GB, 256-bit SKU that will retail for around $230 while a slightly lower-end 768MB, 192-bit product should hit the magical $199 price point. Both are compatible with all of NVIDIA’s “Graphics Plus” technologies including CUDA and 3D Vision Surround which we talked about at length here.
With the current price points as they are, the GTX 460 768MB is directly targeting the HD 5830’s performance envelope but its price is the same as or slightly below that of most HD 5830 cards on the market. Meanwhile, the $230 GTX 460 1GB is aiming to bridge the sometimes-miniscule gap between the HD 5830 and the higher-end HD 5850s. This also bodes well for those of you who held off buying the $270 GTX 465 since as you will see on the next pages, there are several areas in which this new card has the 465 beat clean in the specs department. Just be aware that in preparation for the GTX 460 landing on store shelves, several of NVIDIA’s board partners have effectively cut the price of their GTX 465s to around $255.
On a final note it is important to note that while we are reviewing both the 768 MB and 1GB cards in this article, it is quite likely that only the 768MB cards will be widely available come launch time. The 1GB cards will slowly trickle in throughout this week with wide availability on the week of July 19th.
All in all, the GTX 460 looks like a worthy successor its predecessors but the biggest question is whether it can actually surpass the higher end cards when it comes to capturing the attention of a market that has been waiting a long time for a proper sub-$250 GPU.
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