NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 SE 1GB Review

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: November 21, 2010
Product Name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 SE 1GB
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The GTX 460 SE; GF104 Cut Yet Again

In terms of market positioning, the GTX 460 SE hasnít been introduced to replace any existing card but rather to compliment NVIDIAís current lineup at a price point which is historically extremely popular. With an MSRP of around $160, it should also compete directly with AMDís HD 5770 which is currently priced between $140 and $150 USD.

Clock speeds are one of the main differentiators between the other cards in the GTX 460 series and this new one. The core on the SE operates at a speed that is 25Mhz than the higher end products but the real change comes in the form of slower memory. Even though bandwidth is increased due to a 1GB / 256-bit setup, a memory clock of a mere 3400Mhz QDR slows things down so this card doesnít get TOO competitive against the other offerings.

On an architectural level, the GTX 460 SE is quite different from its forbearers since its GF104 core has two Streaming Multiprocessors disabled. This means its CUDA core count is down to 288 from the standard GTX 460ís 336 and more importantly, eight TMUs have been disabled as well. This along with the lower memory and core clock speeds will likely lead to a significant performance gap between the SE and GTX 460 1GB / 768MB cards in some games.

Since NVIDIA is using the full quartet of 64-bit memory controllers for the GTX 460 SE, it actually has a higher number of ROPs than the 768MB version. This additional ROP partition also allows the SE to use the full 512KB of L2 cache. Unfortunately, eight ROPs and a bit more cache wonít make up for the disabled SM but there are some situations where these two items could come into play.

Unlike the GF100 cards, the GTX 460 SE also supports full bitstreaming of HD audio over HDMI. All of the signal processing is done on the card itself without the need for external decoding. This is a huge step forward for those of you who want to use this card in an HTPC environment for decoding Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio and TrueHD tracks.

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