Two models: 768MB and 1GB GTX 460s
Along with the new GPU comes a new reference card and cooler from NVIDIA.  Many in the media have had complaints about how hot and power hungry the GF100-based graphics were and anyone that held one could tell how substantial the heatsink on the GTX 480 had to be to keep it under thermal limits.  The new GeForce GTX 460 doesn’t appear that it will have any of these problems.

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The reference designs we received from NVIDIA, one 768MB version, one 1GB version, were significantly lighter than the GTX 480 for GTX 470 and the fans were also able to run much more quietly. 

As we showed you on the previous page, the reference clock speeds on the GTX 460 are identical across both models: 675 MHz core, 1350 MHz shader, 3.6 GHz GDDR5 memory speed.  The differences will arise from the frame buffer sizes as well as the resultant memory bandwidth and L2 cache size differences (384 KB versus 512KB). 

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I don’t think partners will be selling rebranded reference cards like the ones seen here as they have focusing on custom designs, overclocking and more.  In this unit the fan, shroud and heatsink are all one piece and only the four screws on the back hold it in place.

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The rear plate that holds the heatsink on the card was our first indication that the GPU was not a square shape as we are used to.  Obviously this means that any water cooling or third-party coolers that might have worked for the GTX 480/470 will not be compatible with the GTX 460.   

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The GeForce GTX 460 has only a single SLI connector which means the cards will support SLI and Surround configurations but will not be able to scale to three GPUs. 

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The GF104 still requires a pair of 6-pin power connectors which indicates power levels above 150 watts.

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The connectors on our reference cards included a pair of dual-link DVI ports as well as a mini-HDMI connection for TV output.  Retail cards might follow this trend but I think many will go for a full size HDMI port instead.

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With the heatsink and shroud removed you can see the rather diminutive copper heatpipe (at least in comparison to the GTX 480) and aluminum fins.

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With the card cleared of any obstructions we can now see the layout and the placement of the new GF104 GPU.

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For a quick size comparison, the new GTX 460 is placed below the grand daddy of the Fermi architecture, the GTX 480.

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