Galaxy takes on the GTX 460
Galaxy has a slightly overclocked GeForce GTX 260 1GB card on the table today that sells for about the same price as the reference speed cards today. Of course, we didn’t leave good enough alone and pushed the clocks quite a bit more without a problem. And can dual GTX 460s over take the GTX 480 in terms of performance per dollar?The GeForce GTX 460 was easily the most well received Fermi-based graphics card to come from NVIDIA thus far; using the GF104 GPU that was tweaked slightly to target the graphics markets rather than the high-performance computing fields the GTX 460 turned out to be more power efficient compared to AMD’s GPUs. Add to that the noticeably lower price points of $199 for the 768MB model and $229 for the 1GB size and you can see why gamers on a budget are buying up these cards pretty damn fast.
On our day 1 review we only test the reference models but since then we have gotten a couple of retail, overclocked options from Galaxy and Palit and we are finally ready to start sharing the results with you! Not only are we going to be seeing how the Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 GC 1GB card stands up to the reference speeds but we are going to test how a pair of GTX 460 cards in SLI compare to a single GTX 480 card in the value department. The results might surprise you there…
The Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 GC 1GB
Galaxy was a launch partner with NVIDIA for this GPU release and they have three different models available: one stock, one slightly overclocked and one more running extensively over spec. We are looking at that middle option today, the “GC” model.
As you can see the packaging lets you know what version you are getting and that is has a detachable cooling fan that we will dive into below.
Inside the box you’ll find basic directions, drivers, a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable (very nice to have this included!), two power adapters and a DVI-to-VGA converter for those of you using older displays.
The style of the new Galaxy GTX 460s looks very similar to the GTX 465 cards we reviewed in May and we have had at least a few people comment saying they looked like a “space marine” design.
While the reference speeds of the GTX 460 are 675 MHz core, 1350 MHz shader and 900 MHz GDDR5 memory, the GC version from Galaxy runs at slightly clock rates:
- 700 MHz core
- 1400 MHz shader
- 924 MHz memory
Obviously these are modest clock increases of about 3-4% so we won’t really dramatic performance increases but because these speeds are under warranty, you guaranteed to get SOMETHING extra. We’ll explore overclocking later in the review as well. Galaxy did point out that their cards are built with the 4+1 power phase design (4 to the GPU, 1 to the memory) versus the 3+1 design on the reference cards.
The back of the card is pretty bare and devoid of any memory that needs to be cooled. One cool feature though is the three little circles that lie just below the “Made in China” print; those are actually leads for voltage monitoring on the graphics cards. Unfortunately on ours they printed the information for it on the INSIDE of the heatsink casing…
You can see the clips on either side of the top of the fan that you can push open to flip open the fan housing.
The fan’s power cable is detachable in this version of the design and once that is separated you can push the fan up and out to completely take it off.
The removable fan is handy really only for cleaning the fan as well as the heatsink underneath it but other than that it is really a novelty feature. It does have a couple of draw backs too. First, when folding the fan back down you have to be very careful to make sure the four wires of the power connector and completely under the level of the fan otherwise it could stop or slow the fan blades.
Also, the fan on the Galaxy is card is louder than I would have liked and I wonder if this is because it had to be a bit smaller to fit in the housing form factor than other third-party cooler designs? That might not be the case, and in reality the fan isn’t THAT much louder than the competition, but it is noisier than the reference or Palit cards we have tested.
The Galaxy GTX 460 continues to support SLI, but not triple SLI, which based on the $200 price tag is a bit of a letdown as far as we are concerned.
The Galaxy card still requires a pair of 6-pin power connectors to run.
The connection configuration is pretty interesting as Galaxy has included both a pair of dual-link DVI ports and a mini-HDMI connection. I would normally complain about using a not-very-popular standard that would require the user to find an adapter but Galaxy did include a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable in the box so it’s that big of an issue. The only issue might be if you have further distance than the 6ft it provides.