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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When a new product is released, companies understandably want to make a pretty big fuss about it. Or at least, that’s what usually happens. Last week NVIDIA decided to very quietly launch a card called the GTX 460 SE and many didn’t find out that it was a bona-fide product until it popped up on board partners’ websites.

Why all the mummery up until launch? To begin with, the GTX 460 SE is what’s called a “virtual product” in certain distributor circles. This means there is no reference version per se and NVIDIA’s AIBs can design the card around a loosely defined set of specifications. Of course there are minimum clock speeds that need to be adhered to but all in all, companies like EVGA, Gigabyte, ASUS and others have been given free rein to design their cards as they see fit. Think of the GTX 460 SE launch as NVIDIA’s version of the HD 5830 but with a lot less pomp surrounding its introduction. Indeed, some companies may not even be launching an "SE" edition for the time being.

The raison d’ętre of the GTX 460 SE 1GB is a bit of a mystery since it is priced similarly to the GTX 460 768MB but its specifications are cut down by comparison. NVIDIA has claimed the target market for the $159 SE will be those who want higher image quality than what a 768MB framebuffer can provide but don’t want to step up to the price of a $200 GTX 460 1GB. In addition, we hear that quite a few board partners may be using this card as a Black Friday promotional item so there may be some excellent prices for it within the next few days.

In order to get information to you as quickly as possible, we had Gigabyte rush-ship us one of their GTX 460 SE OC cards. It makes use of a core speed overclock to provide additional performance at a price that is within a few dollars of a stock-clocked product. To see how a standard GTX 460 SE performs, we flashed the BIOS of the Gigabyte card with one which has the reference clocks.

While this launch may have been one of the quietest in a long, long time it should be interesting to see how the new GTX 460 performs. On paper at least, it has the potential to continue the tradition of NVIDIA’s most popular Fermi products.


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