Final thoughts and ratingThe success of the GeForce GTX 460 cards is crucially important for NVIDIA and its range of board partners as it moves into the mainstream with the Fermi graphics architecture. Manufactured using silicon that is over 30 per cent smaller than on present GF100 Fermi cards - GTX 480, 470, and 465 - NVIDIA enables partners to release GPUs at $199 and $229 for the GeForce GTX 460 768MB and 1,024MB, respectively.
Fermi's latest revision, known as GF104, plots mid-range domination by putting considerable emphasis on shader and texturing abilities, to the extent that geometry processing, one of Fermi GF100's undoubted strongpoints, is compromised a touch. Architecture considerations aside, retail GTX 460 cards are smaller, cooler and quieter than their higher-end brethren, thereby rectifying much of what was amiss with full-fat Fermi.
In case you missed it in the review, the two GeForce GTX 460 cards are differentiated with respect to framebuffer sizes - 1,024MB vs. 768MB - and memory bandwidth, which is one-third lower for the smaller framebuffer card due to how the memory chips interface with the GPU.
With a nod to the lower price points, performance is sharp. The ZOTAC GTX 460 1,024MB offering matches incumbent GTX 465 performance but offers a far better overall package at a lower retail price, effectively condemning the anaemic GTX 465 to EOL status, we believe. The cheaper 768MB card just about squeaks through against the Radeon HD 5830. What's more, both new GTX 460 cards overclock really well and, adding a much-wanted feature, includes bitstreaming support for HTPC buffs.
ATI set a blistering standard with the Radeon HD 5800-series back in September 2009, particularly so with the HD 5850. NVIDIA's taken a while to get up to speed with its DX11 Fermi. From what we've seen through a week of testing with the GTX 460 cards, NVIDIA has finally done its Fermi architecture justice in the form of GF104.
With 3D Vision Surround now adding a further feature to the GTX 4xx bow, NVIDIA is finally providing a compelling reason for us not to exclusively recommend high-end ATI's DX11 hardware. Got £150-£200 to spend on your next graphics card? Take a very close look at NVIDIA partners' GTX 460 cards. Our pick of two GTX 460s is the 1,024MB version.
Cooler, quieter and smaller than previous Fermi cards
Sharp performance at sub-£200 price points
Architecture overall provides more bang for the buck
Bitstreaming support now present in both GPUs
Both GTX 460s overclock well
3D Vision Surround helps combat ATI's Eyefinity
The Not So Good
NVIDIA could have brought the full-fat GF104 to bear in this release
HEXUS RatingWe're refraining from giving the ZOTAC card a rating until a second sample arrives in the labs. See page five for further details.
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB
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