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Appeared on: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Inno3D GTX 460 768MB review


1. About the GF104-powered Nvidia Geforce GTX460 Series

Nvidia is ready to effectively compete with AMD/ATI with the new GeForce GTX460 graphics card. The new card is based on a new Fermi chip, the GF104, which looks very promising and may be able to position the GeForce GTX460 on the top of the graphics solutions at the $200 price range.

Nvidia released the first Fermi-based solution earlier this year, with the fully-featured GTX 480 solutions based on the company's first generation Fermi chip, the GF100. The chip performed quite well in a high-end graphics solution but Nvidia decision to use the GPU in other cheaper solutions forced the company to cut-down GF100 core. This had an immediate impact on the performance of the mid-ranged solutions such as the GeForce GTX 465 released in May. As a result, the GeForce GTX 465 lagged behind the rival AMD’s Radeon HD 5850 and also continued to consume more power than its counterpart.

However, the company is back in the game with the latest GeForce GTX460. The heart of the card is the updated GF104 GPU. The GPU features 1.95 billion transistors and packed in an area slightly larger than AMD's GPU used in the 5800 series - which packs almost 1.97 billion transistors. The GF104 has two Graphics Processing Clusters (GPCs) containing 4 SMs each, for a total of 8 SMs adding up to 384 CUDA cores. However, the GeForce GTX 460 is shipped with 1 of the 8 SMs disabled, leaving it with 336 enabled CUDA cores. Despite the cut-down, Nvidia has made significant changes to the design of the SMs for GF104 and the Fermi architecture in general. The company has added superscalar dispatch abilities to GF104, NVIDIA has also made a number of other tweaks to the Fermi architecture for this GPU. All these sound really promising and we look forward to see the F104 Fermi chip in action later on.

NVIDIA launched the $229 GeForce GTX 460 1GB, and the GeForce GTX 460 768MB, priced at $199. The GeForce GTX 460 1GB has 7 SMs and 32 ROPs, with a 256bit memory bus connecting the GPU to 1GB of GDDR5. The core is clocked at 675MHz core, 1350MHz shader, and 900MHz (3.6GHz effective) memory. The TDP for this part is 160W.

The GeForce GTX 460 768MB has less memory than the GTX 460 1GB, but also only 24 ROPs connected to a 192bit memory bus. The shaders remain unchanged, giving the GTX 460 768MB the same compute/shading abilities as the GTX 460 1GB, but only 75% of the ROP capability and memory bandwidth. The clocks are unchanged from the GTX 460 1GB: 675MHz core, 1350MHz shader, and 900MHz (3.6GHz effective) memory.

We have in our labs Inno3D's implementation of the GeForce GTX 460 768MB graphics card. The card is not overclocked, meaning that its GPU runs at at a core speed 675MHz and the stream processors at 1350MHz. The Inno3D GeForce GTX 460 has 1800MHz memory on a 192-bit bus. Inno3D claims that the card offers up to 4x the DirectX11 tessellation performance of the competition. The card also supports NVIDIA 3D Vision, PhysX, and CUDA technologies.

Below you can see a comparison among Nvidia's Fermi-based series of graphics cards:

GeForce GTX 460 (GF104)
GeForce GTX
465
(GF100)
GeForce GTX
470
(GF100)
GeForce GTX
480
(GF100)
Stream (Shader) Processors
336
352
448
480
Core Clock (MHz)
675
607
607
700
Shader Clock (MHz)
1350
1215
1215
1400
Memory Clock (data rate MHz)
3600
3206
3350
3700
Memory amount
768~1024MB
1024 MB
1280
1536
Memory Interface
192~256-bit
256-bit x2
320-bit
384-bit
Memory Type
gDDR5
gDDR5
gDDR5
gDDR5

Below are the full specifications of the product as found at Inno3D's page. The 1GB model retails for about $229, and the 768MB version costs less than $200.

 


2. Meet the Inno3D GTX 460 768MB

The Inno3D GTX 460 768MB retails at a blue-black package, possibly familiar to all those who own an Inno3D GT 240 iChiLL graphics card or have read our article about it.

The contents inlude the Inno3D GTX 460 768 graphics card, a drivers/applications CD, an installation manual, a power cable and connectors.

Inno3D has mounted a GF104 GPU on rather short 8.25" PCB, which is short enough for just about any PC case that can accept a double-wide card. The Inno3D GTX 460 has exactly the same length as the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition and uses the Nvidia's stock cooling mechanism, which proved to be pretty much silent even when the card was fully overclocked. As you can see in the picture below, a 80mm fan is placed on the top side of the a dual-heatpipe heatsink, with the heatpipes leading to raised fins on either side of the card. In turn these heatpipes are attached to a copper base which makes contact with the heatspreaded capped GPU:

The rear of the card is not sealed, but the card’s cover has a plastic lip. This blocks direct airflow out the back.

The 768MB GTX 460s requires 2 6pin PCIe power plugs, which are mounted facing the rear of the card. As the ATX power limit for a card with 1 plug is 150W, this makes 2 plugs required on the 150W TDP 768MB card:

The Inno3D GTX 460 768MB 2x DVI ports and a mini-HDMI port. The card supports HDMI 1.4a including GPU accelerated Blu-ray 3D4 support, xvYCC, deep color, and 7.1 digital surround sound including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. Upgrade the GPU to full 3D capability with NVIDIA 3DTV Play software, enabling 3D gaming, picture viewing and 3D web video streaming:

 

We installed the card and GPU-Z provides some of its basic specifications:

Below you can see the low temperatures of the GPU with the Auto fan speed option enabled:


3. How we test
- Setup

We test in the following PC:

Man games and applications were used in order to measure the performance (FPS) of each card.

DirectX 9

DirectX10

DirectX11

 

- DirectX9 Settings

For all the tests we used the default settings for 3DMark05 as following:

Again we left all settings to default:

- DirectX10 Settings

We used the three built- in benchmarks to test the performance of each graphics card. We measured the performances at various resolutions using the "Performance" and up to the "Extreme" settings.

We used the built in benchmark with all the details maxed out.

We used the hocbench Crysis benchmark tool at the resolutions of 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and finally 1920x1200. We run the benchmark software with "High" and "Very High" details enabled in order to identify the optimum settings for a decent game play.

We used the built-in benchmarking utility and maxed out all visual details, under both DX9/DX10 and settings up to 16x AA/16x AF.


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 Inno3D GTX 460 768MB got 16938 points, below the overclocked Gainward GTX465 GOOD and Club3D's HD5770:

The3DMark 06 benchmark did not change the previous ranking except from the Inno3D 470 Hawk card, which was positioned above the Inno3D GTX465 768MB:

The 3DMark Vantage tests the performance of each card in resolutions. The Inno3D GTX 460 768MB gave a similar score with the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition, while both cards were slower than the GTX 470 series:

We took a first glimpse of the performance of the Inno3D GTX460 768MB. However, the in-game measurements found in the following pages will unveil where the GTX460 768MB actually stands.


5. Crysis Warhead, 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. The popular game is still the toughest game in our benchmark suite.Below are the test results from all the possible resolutions the anti-aliasing (AA) disabled.

The Inno3D GTX 460 768MB performed adequately with the Crysis Warhead game. The game is playable even up to the 'Gamer' shader level, although the minimum FPS went down to 18 in some cases. Since Crysis can be particularly memory-dependent, some extra VRAM onboard could help here. Possibly found in the more expensive Inno3D GTX 460 1GB?

Below you can see a graphical comparison of the performance of the Inno3D GTX 460 768MB in the Crysis Warhead game.

- 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.This makes it another one of the highly demanding games in our benchmark suite.

For our tests we set the visual details to the highest level and tested the Inno3D GTX460 768MB graphics card under DX10 and DX11 at the resolution of 1920x1200:

- DX10

- DX11

The performance is high at all cases with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Benchmark. The Inno3D GTX460 768MB performs closely to the GTX 465. The relatively low GDDR5 onboard makes the GTX 465 768MB slightly fall to the Radeon 5830.


6. Company Of Heroes v1.71 (DirectX 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 Inno3D GTX 460 768MB edition performed very well and in all cases and generally fell behind the GTX 465 series by just 2~6 FPS:


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

- Far Cry 2 (DirectX 9/10)

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

Here we also have a close comparison between the Inno3D GTX 460 768MB and the Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition. In all cases Inno3D's solution performs pretty well and in some cases, it even gave higher FPS than the GTX 465 . Of course, this could be attributed to an optimization done through the latest graphics driver we used for today's test:

Enabling DX10 shaders and the 'Ultra high' quality result to an extra lead for the GTX 465 series, with the Inno3D GTX 460 768MB to lag behind by just 3FPS:

 

- Left4Dead (DirectX 9)

Introduced in 2004, Valve’s Source engine continues to live on in new Valve games. Although this game is not very GPU limited to a significant degree we are using it in our testbed.

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 Inno3D GTX 460 768MB performed well giving 100.40 FPS at 1280x1024 and 78.79 FPS for 1920x1200 with 16xAA. However, as you can see in the table of results below, the various cards can do little to separate themselves here, no matter if they carry different amounts of memory on board or some of them are factory overclocked. You can also see that the game does pretty well under AMD’s HD5770 card:

 

- 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.

The Inno3D GTX 460 768MB continued its good performance with the Streetfighter IV game.

We also tested the Inno3D GTX 460 with the DX11 shaders at 1280x1024. We got a generous 42.90 FPS, which is more than enough in order to play the game.


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 makes pretty through use of the DX11’s tessellation abilities.

We installed the the game patch and measured the in-game performance of the Inno3D GTX460 768MB graphics card at 1920x1200 and with the AA enabled:

Here the Inno3D GTX 460 768MB performed slight better than the GTX 465 series. Of course, such small differences have not any actual meaning.

 

- 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 Inno3D GTX 460 768MB gave an average FPS of 29.60. The Gainward GTX 465 GOOD edition falls to even the GTX 460 768MB here by a frame.

- Overclocking

Finally, we are ready to test the overclocking abilities of the Inno3D GTX460 768MB. NVIDIA is heavily promoting the overclockability of the card to the press, proclaiming that they are regularly able to get most cards up to 800MHz.

For our overclocking we used the MSI AfterBurner 1.6x 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.

The Inno3D GTX460 reached the 870/1740/2100 MHz (core/shader/memory). We remind you that the card's stock clocks are 625/1350/3600 MHz. The system was stable and this was confirmed using both the MSI Kombustor and retail gaming, with the fan speed set to 'Auto.' Under that kind of overclocking, the fan speed running at 40% . This means that the GTX 460 experiences a minor rise in temperature, at least when overclocking without voltage modification.

It seems that Nvidia's argues the GTX 460’s overclocking capabilities are right. Of course, not every GTX 460 can hit 800MHz+.

We also measured the overclocked performance of the Inno3D GTX 460 graphics card. We got some pretty good FPS using the Far Cry 2 benchmark. Of course, the overall the impact of overclocking is heavily game dependent. Core overclocking favors games that are ROP/shader limited and has little effectiveness on games that are limited by the total available RAM or by memory bandwidth. As a result, overclocking was not so effective in games such as the Crysis and STALKER.

So generally, getting a card with more memory onboard (1GB) would make more sense for most of the games, instead of overclocking a card with less VRAM.

 


9. Conclusion

Without any doubt, Nvidia's GTX 460 768MB graphics card is the is clearly the card to get. Priced at just $200, it is offering a performance directly comparable - or even greater - than what you should expect from an ATI Radeon 5830, while it consumes low power. Compared to other Nvidia's solutions, the GTX 460 768MB is slightly slower than the GTX 465/470 in specific games, although in some cases you will see no differences at all.

The card has been designed for overclockers and as such, it will allow you to experiment with its clocks and get some actual performance gain even without voltage tuning. Of course, overclocking is game dependant and here comes the only "weakness" of the low-end version of the GTX 460: its 768MB of memory. It is obvious that NVIDIA's 1GB version of the GTX 460, with more RAM, more L2 cache, and more ROPs would cost you just $30 more. And game such as Crysis and Stalker would benefit from that additional memory capacity of the GTX 460.

Of course, enthusiasts could further enjoy the power of a GTX 460 SLI configuration and further enhance their gaming experience under 16xAA+ anti-aliasing.

Inno3D's GTX 460 768MB series is also future-proof with support for 3D Gaming and an HDMI v1.40 output onboard.

Overall, the Inno3D GTX 460 768MB performed very well in all our gaming tests, it can challenge higher- rated graphics cards, it offers great overclocking abilities, cool running and most importantly, it is well priced. A highly suggested product for everyone.

 



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