Power Consumption, Overclocking and Conclusions
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Review - GF104 and the budget Fermi - Graphics Cards 100

The GF104 looks like it could be changing the power efficiency of the Fermi architecture for the better as it comes in at 312 watts total system power consumption with the 1GB model.  That is about 75 watts less than the GTX 470 and only 30 watts more than AMD’s Radeon HD 5830.  Considering the performance advantages that the GTX 460 has over the HD 5830 today might the GF104 chip be…the better design for power considerations??

Overclocking

We did not get a chance to overclock our reference models, but nearly ALL of the partners we have spoken with are going with overclocked models available nearly right out of the gate.  NVIDIA stated without regard in their reviewer’s guide that the GTX 460 GPU should be able to scale above 800 MHz “with ease” – if that’s the case we could see as much as a 18% boost in performance without raising the price of your GPU investment.  We will be overclocking and testing as the week goes on so stay tuned!

Performance


Look back at the benchmarks folks – the GeForce GTX 460 performed much better than the Radeon HD 5830 for the same price and by going for a small boost to the 1GB model you can jump up another 8-16% performance.  In terms of individual applications, it was really a landslide for the new NVIDIA GF104 offering starting with Batman (that is basically a given for NVIDIA at this point) and going through Metro 2033 and DiRT 2.  In nearly all of our tests the GTX 460 1GB model was at least 25% faster than the HD 5830 at 1680×1050 and 1920×1200.  For the same price or a difference of $30, that kind of performance difference is hard to beat!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Review - GF104 and the budget Fermi - Graphics Cards 101

The GeForce GTX 470 is still a faster option of course but the price difference, currently sitting at $100-120, is tough to swallow unless you are really pressing for a more future-proof option for upcoming titles or if you have a 30-in panel to power. 

Features

I am really curious to see how the GTX 460s perform under an SLI configuration: getting a pair of GTX 460s for about the price of a single GTX 480 sets up a TON of interesting performance comparisons and philosophies to wager.  Remember that if you have an SLI configuration you can setup and run an NVIDIA Surround triple-display gaming configuration or just a single display at higher frame rates or image quality settings.

If you haven’t read about NVIDIA’s Surround technology, take a look at our review of it from earlier in July to see how three monitors can really change how you game on your PC!

Pricing and Availability

Good news!  The GeForce GTX 460s are already on sale over at Newegg.com so if you think this card will fit into your system then take a look at what they have in stock and make your pick.  They even have some of those overclocked models available as well!
We have already made the point here that for the $199 price point (and honestly, into the $230 one as well) the GeForce GTX 460 looks like it is easily the better choice for the mainstream PC gamer.  It will be interesting to see how AMD responds as it has been some time since AMD has found themselves on the trailing end of any modern GPU battle. 

Final Thoughts

NVIDIA’s new GF104 GPU might just be the savior the company was looking for as it is delivering in all the areas that are required for a successful mainstream graphics product.  The GeForce GTX 460 is faster than the Radeon HD 5830, costs about the same, is just as power efficient and has room for overclocking.  If you are looking for a new graphics card in the $200 budget, NVIDIA looks to have the best solution available!

Thoughts and opinions on the GeForce GTX 460 or our review?  Let us know in the PC Perspective Forums!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Review - GF104 and the budget Fermi - Graphics Cards 102
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