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Appeared on: Thursday, June 10, 2010
Gainward GTX 465 GOOD Edition review


1. Features, package, installation

Just one day before the Computex 2010 show kick off in Taipei, Gainward announced another product based on Nvidia's GF-100 Fermi architecture, the Gainward GeForce GTX 465 GOOD Edition (Gainward Optimized Own Design). This new model quenches desire of gamers looking for a balance of DX11 performance with more affordable price.

The "new born baby", aka the GeForce GTX 465 inherit's mighty DNA as its triplet brothers GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470. The product is based on GF-100 Fermi architecture packed with 352 CUDA cores clocked at 607MHz. It sports 1GB of GDDR5 memory at 1,603 MHz in 256-bit memory interface with 11 Tessellation units (32 CUDA cores in one unit) optimized in parallel architecture by GigaThread engine.

The card has been designed for full compliance with all Microsoft DirectX11 hardware features. In addition, it supports 3D Vision Surround at triple full HD 1920x1080 resolution in SLI. The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD Edition has been also designed in strict 2 slots dual fan cooler, it fully supports 3 WaySLI without any interferences and promises excellent cooling performance even for the sandwiched card.

Grand Prix Heatpipes Hybrid Cooler with 2GR8 Fans. It’s 2 COOL 2 be true!
Gainward Grand-Prix Heat-Pipes Hybrid Cooler, was designed in 6 mm copper-water heat-pipes on a copper base efficiently conducting heats away from GPU, then dissipating onto aluminum heatsinks, which are forced ventilated with 8 cm double-ball-bearings Twin Fans (2GR8). Achieve highest cooling performance at much lower temperatures under power saving mode and full load with much quieter operation noises than reference GTX 465
Threesome, awesome! Gainward GOOD design goes 3 Way
What can be more exciting for threesome of GTX 465 in 3 Way SLI run in 3D Vision Surround in 5760x1080 resolution! There are more than 400 games, which can be automatically converted into 3D by any 3D Vision supported GeForce cards.
QuattroPorts, 4 Ports in 1 card
Gainward provide 4 Full HD ports (DisplayPort, HDMI & Dual Dual-Link DVIs) in one, fulfills universal connectivity to diverse displays. Dual View is supported with ease without bothering connector conversion.
 
Expertool, Best Graphics Tuning Utility in the industry
Gainward takes care of your power-hungry desires, gears you up with its graphics tuning utility – Expertool, which enable clockrates and fans controls. Your babies are well protected by the safety net, the smart utility possesses fail-safe clock-down override, even a first-timer can exercise with peace of mind.

Below is a comparison among Nvidia's Fermi-based graphics cards. As you can see the the GTX 465 is features less stream processors and memory than the GTX 470 and 480 chips, and also comes at a lower price:

  GeForce GTX
465
GeForce GTX
470
GeForce GTX
480
Stream (Shader) Processors
352
448
480
Core Clock (MHz)
607
607
700
Shader Clock (MHz)
1215
1215
1400
Memory Clock (data rate MHz)
3206
3350
3700
Memory amount
1024 MB
1280
1536
Memory Interface
256-bit x2
320-bit
384-bit
Memory Type
gDDR5
gDDR5
gDDR5

Here are the full specifications of the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD:

- Retail package

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD retails in a package large enough for the card to fit in it. In order to buy it, you will have to spend around €265~300 (including VAT), depending the online store. This is almost what you would also spend for an ATI HD5850 solution.

As you can see in the picture below, the package look good and basic information about the card is available at a glance:

Inside, the card is packaged into an anti-static bag. Many accessories are also bundled, including a manual, a driver CD with Gainward's Expertool tuning utility, a DVI-to-VGA adaptor, a complementary power cable, a demo CD for Nvidia Supersonic Sled & Design Garage application as well as a voucher for CUDA-enable video editing software Super LoiloScope. A 30-day trial of the software is available for free. A 25% discount is provided in order to purchase the full version of the software:

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD Edition is smaller in size than the Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk series we have already tested (23cm vs 27cm length). Gainward has equipped the card with a customized, dual 80mm fan cooling system with full copper heatpipes, as you can see below:

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD Edition offers four outputs. A DisplayPort , a dual DVI-D and an HDMI for high definition streaming. The HDMI 1.4 supports xvYCC, Deep color and 7.1 digital surround sound and of output of 3D content (no Blu-ray 3D) when coupled with NVIDIA's 3D Vision technology:

Two 6-pin PCI-E power cables are essential to power up this graphics card:

The right side of the card is almost open in order to help the cooling system work more efficiently:

We installed the dual-slot graphics card in our test PC and used the GPU-Z utility to see some more information about the card. It's GPU core runs at 608MHz, the memory at 1604MHz and Shaders are clocked to 1215MHz:

The GPU temperatures look good with the auto fan control enabled:


2. Hardware, software testbed
- Setup

We run our test in the following platform:

DirectX 9

DirectX10

DirectX11


3. DirectX 9, DirectX 10 settings
- Testbed DirectX9

For all the tests we used the default settings of the 3DMark05 software, as you can see below:

Again we left all settings to default:

- Testbed DirectX10

We used the three pre-defined benchmarks of the 3DMark Vantage software in different resolutions.

We used the built-in benchmark with all the visual details (quality) maxed out.

We used the FRAMEBuffer benchmark tool for three resolutions, 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and finally 1920x1200. We took measurements for all the available quality settings.

We used the built-in benchmarking utility and maxed out all the visual details under DX9/DX10. We also measured the performance with 16x AA/16x AF enabled.


4. FutureMark Hall Of Fame

We start with the results coming out from Futuremark's benchmarks. These include the results of the 3DMark 05, 3DMark 06 and the 3DMark Vantage software tests.

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD scored 17044 points, which is high enough to get the third place in our Hall Of Fame ranking. The GTX 470 sample from Inno3D took the 5th place, followed by the GTX285 solution:

 

At the 3DMark 06 benchmark the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD maintained the 3rd place, with the GTX 470 to follow closely:

The 3DMark Vantage provides performance marks for various resolutions, offering a most complete picture of what we should expect from each card. In the following chart we have added the results of four competing cards, including the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD of course. This time the GTX 465 GOOD was closely following the GTX 485, with the latter to have a marginal lead in resolutions lower than 1920 x 1200. Contrary to the previous results, the GTX 470 is leading the test, leaving the GTX 465 GOOD behind. It is obvious that the results coming out from these benchmarks are not really consistent so we have to take some in-game FPS measurements later on in order to come up with safer conclusions:


5. Crysis Warhead (DX9, DX10), S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark
- Crysis Warhead (DirectX9, DirectX10)

We proceed to the "Crysis Warhead" game, which supports both DirectX9 and DirectX10 rendering modes. Below are the test results from all the possible resolutions the anti-aliasing (AA) disabled.

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD performed pretty well. Compared to the GTX 470 series, the GTX 465 GOOD gave somewhat lower FPS in demanding scenes, especially as the visual settings became more demanding, in the "Gamer" and Enthusiast" levels:

Below you can see the same results plotted in a graph (FPS). For comparison, we have added the results of three other graphics cards. We start with the DX9 results in resolutions up to 1920 x 1200:

At 1280 x 1024 and 1680 x 1050, the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD was slower than the GTX 470 and the GTX 275 OC, but only when we set the demanding "Enthusiast" quality settings.

Any performance differences were ironed out at 1920 x 1200. Surprisingly, the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD catches up the the rest of the graphics cards in the "Enthusiast" level and also takes a small lead giving some extra FPS:

Below you can see the comparison of the same graphics cards but with the DX10 enabled this time:

This time the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD turned out to be slower than the GTX 470, especially when the quality settings went beyond the "Mainstream" level. We don't have to do with any great FPS differences here but still, they could make the difference when you play the game with the visuals set at the "Enthusiast" level.

- S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark

The ' S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark' provides detailed information about a system's performance on various graphical modes. This benchmark is based on one of the in-game locations – Pripyat . The testing process includes four stages, those utilizing various weather and time of the day settings (day, night, rain, bright sun). In order to test the system thoroughly the benchmark is provided with a number of presets and options including different versions of DirectX (9.0, 10.0, 11), screen resolutions, anti-aliasing etc.

For our tests we set the visual details to the highest level and tested the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD graphics card under DX9, DX10 and DX11 at the resolution of 1920x1200:

- DX9

- DX10

- DX11

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD seems to well-balanced for playing the 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat' game. We got really high FPS under all the rendering modes and testing scenarios (Day, Night, Rain, Sun Shafts.)


6. Company Of Heroes v1.71 (DX 10)

The "Company Of Heroes" is a popular action/strategy game with many funs around the world. The game was the first ever to utilize DirectX10 and features great in-game physics. For this test, we used the maximum quality settings and measured the performance (FPS) of each card.

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition performed very well and in all cases and generally fell behind the GTX 470 series by just 6~9 FPS:


7. Far Cry 2 (DX 9/10), Left4Dead (DX 9), StreetFighter IV (DX 9), Unigine benchmark (DX10)

- Far Cry 2 (DirectX 9/10)

The 'Far Cry 2' supports both DirectX 9 and DirectX10.

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD performed very well but didn't manage to come close to the Inno3D GTX 470. We can say their differences come to 6~9 FPS depending the quality settings and the resolution:

Enabling the DX10 shaders and the 'Ultra high quality' settings makes things more difficult for the Gainward GTX 466 GOOD card. The game is still very playable at 1920 x 1200 but the Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk is now faster by 10 FPS:

 

- Left4Dead (DirectX 9)

Left 4 Dead is a cooperative first-person shooter video game. It was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was purchased by Valve Corporation during development. The game uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, and is available for Windows and the Xbox 360.

We used a custom time demo and measured the performance of the graphics card for the resolutions of 1280x1024, 1650x1080 and 1920x1200, with 16xAF enabled and all visual settings maxed out.

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD gave a decent performance with 100.14 FPS at 1280x1024. It also pleasantly surprised us with the 64.52 FPS result for the demanding 1920x1200 with 16xAA:

 

- StreetFighter IV (DirectX 9), Unigine Engine (DX10)

Lastly, two more benchmarks from the Streetfighter IV and the Unigine Benchmark Engine (DX10) demonstrating the graphic performance of the graphic card.

Unigine is a proprietary cross-platform middleware, developed by Unigine Corp. It is used as either a game engine or as an engine for VR systems. Unigine currently has support for OpenGL 4.0 and DirectX 11 It supports hardware tessellation and Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0.


8. Dirt 2 (DX 11), Alien Vs Predator Benchmark v1.03 (DX 11), Overclocking

- Dirt 2 (DirectX 11)

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (known as Dirt 2 outside Europe and stylised, DiRT) is a racing game released in September 2009, and is the sequel to Colin McRae: Dirt. The game runs on an updated version of the EGO engine, which powered Codemasters' Race Driver: Grid as well. The engine features an updated physics engine and runs on DirectX 11. We installed the the game patch and measured the in-game performance of the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD graphics card at 1920x1200 and with the AA enabled:

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD actually performed better than the GTX 470 series at the " low" and "Medium" quality levels. It also stayed very close to the performance of the GTX 470 as we pushed the quality of the visuals.

- Alien vs Predator Benchmark v1.03 (DirectX 11)

Rebellion has released a standalone DirectX 11 PC benchmark test based upon its shooter Aliens vs. Predator. The benchmark test requires a graphics support supporting DirectX 11, which are used to produce such fancy features as tessellation, advanced shadow sampling and DX11 anti-aliasing.

We used the default settings of the benchmark (resolution: 1920 x 1200, Texture Quality: 2, Shadow Quality: 3, Anisotropic Filtering: 16, SSAO: ON, Vertical Sync: OFF, DX11 Tessellation: ON, DX11 Advanced Shadows: ON, DX11 MSAA Samples: 1). The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition gave an average FPS of ~28.8, which is acceptable for such a demanding game and resolution.

- Overclocking

In order to overclock the Fermi-based GTX 465 GPU, we downloaded the MSI AfterBurner 1.60 beta 6 utility, which also unlocks the card's voltages allowing further tweaking. We enabled the 'Core Voltage' slider (though the 'settings' tab). The Core Voltage slider can go up to 1.087V to further increase the overclocking margins. The 'Core' and 'Shader' sliders are synched and move as one, allowing you to play with the 'Memory' slider as well. The package also includes the 'MSI Kombustor' application that stresses your graphics card and test its stability.

First we moved slider up to the 824MHz / 1648MHz / 1000MHz (core/shader/memory) and we tested the stability with both MSI Kombustor application and games, with the fan speed set to 'Auto.'

While the system looked stable for a long period it failed after 30mins of heavy load, so this attempt was not succesfull Remember that we haven't mess up with the core voltage yet.

We lowered the speeds a bit and we had a perfectly stable system at 800 MHz / 1600 MHz /975 MHz (core/shader/memory), confirmed using the MSI Kombuster application and the ' Far Cry 2' game:

We kept experimenting a little bit more with the core voltage and the core/shader/memory settings. We increased the 'core voltage' up to the 1.087V (max) and manually set manually the card's fans to spin at 100% RPM. However, the system was not stable, so it is advised to play around the 800+ MHz for the core and the 975+ MHz for the memory:

Such an overclocking resulted to a significant higher score with the 3D Mark Vantage. In addition, the 'Far Cry 2' game gave us 11 extra FPS at 1920x1200 with 8xAA and 'Ultra quality', which is an impressive gain.


9. Summary

The GTX 465 uses a scaled down version of the GF100 chip. Most probably, the chips that haven’t qualified to run on GTX 480 and GTX 470 cards made their way to the GTX 465. Gainward's implementation of the chip, the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition, is a fine example of smart engineering. Gainward got the retail Nvidia board and added to is an improved heatsink and quad monitor outputs that include HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces. Gainward's dual-fan cooler is silent in idle mode and gets a bit louder during gaming. However, it’s still much quieter than the reference GTX 470’s cooling.

The Nvidia GTX 465 series is featuring 352 CUDA Cores and support for DirectX 11, PhysX, SLI, CUDA and 3D Vision Surround. It is also the most affordable GF100 based graphics card with it US $279 price tag. Although this is the slowest Fermi card up to date, the GTX 465 still fares nicely on higher resolutions and with DirectX 11 tessellation in games. Compared to the very good GTX 470 series, the GTX 465 was a little bit slower when it had to deal with demanding visuals and gaming at HD resolutions. The GTX 465 gave about 10 FPS less than the GTX 470 in specific games, but this would our guess prior to testing if you had asked us. Buying the GTX 465 would cost you less than the GTX 470 after all. On the other hand, the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition overclocks pretty well. With a little effort, we boosted the card's performance and the result was an impressive +11 FPS with specific games. This brings the GTX 465 closer to the GTX 470 series.

Nvidia's Fermi series of GPUs is also very promising and support 3D gaming, offering a future proof solution for your 3D gaming, which is expected to be the trend of Q2 2010.

The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD offers a great value for money with its affordably-priced DX11 performance. The card is a great option for all those who wish to upgrade their systems with a fast and future-proof graphics card.



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