Sonic means fast
Palit has prepared a highly overclocked GeForce GTX 460 graphics card for us today, their Sonic Platinum edition as they call it. The GPU on this puppy runs at 800 MHz while the shader cores come in at 1600 MHz, right out of the box. How do these overclocks equate in the real-world gaming and can this card rival the more expensive GTX 470 cards?Introduction
It has been just over a month since the release of the GeForce GTX 460 GPU and it quickly became the most popular iteration of the Fermi architecture for consumers. Coming in at price points of $199 and $229 depending on the memory configuration, the GTX 460 met the demands of gamers that wanted a DX11 architecture with some advanced features but didn’t want the hassle of high noise or heat levels that plagued the GTX 470/480 since their release in March.
Almost immediately after release, NVIDIA’s card partners started releasing overclocked and over-speced models that pushed the performance and value of the GTX 460 even further. We looked at the Galaxy GTX 460 GC model in late July and found it to be a great option with a slight overclock at a price right in line with other reference options. Today we are taking a look at a much faster card, the Palit GeForce GTX 460 1GB Sonic Platinum edition, that turns out to not only run past any other GTX 460 we have tested but also rivals the performance of the GTX 470 in nearly all of our tests.
The Palit Sonic Platinum GTX 460 1GB
Palit might still be a name some users aren’t familiar with for NVIDIA graphics cards, but they should be well aware soon if Palit continues to offer innovative and interesting products like this one.
The cooler on the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum is pretty standard and uses a single fan and a very light heatsink. Even with highly overclocked settings, the GF104 chip is able to run relatively cool.
Speaking of those specifications, here they are:
- 800 MHz core (675 MHz reference)
- 1600 MHz shader (1350 MHz reference)
- 1000 MHz memory (900 MHz reference)
As you can see those are some pretty hefty improvements in speed – 18% on the core and shader clocks, 11% on the memory clock. We will see how that translates into real world gaming performance later in the review.
The back of the card reveals nothing in particular as all 1GB memory is located under the heatsink on the other side.
The black cover on the Palit card looks like it hides a substantial heatsink but you can see from the angled shot here most of that area is in fact just empty.
The connector configuration is interesting as well as it includes a pair of dual-link DVI ports, a single VGA output and a full-size HDMI connection. The Fermi architecture still only allows a pair of displays to be connected at any given time so don’t get overly excited. It is nice to see options for the consumer though and even with basically a half of a single slot for cooling the card remained very stable in our testing.
Like all the previous GTX 460s we have seen the Palit Sonic Platinum requires a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors.
NVIDIA still is restricting the GTX 460 to a single SLI connector which simply means that 3-Way SLI support is out of the equation. Two card SLI with the GTX 460s is still a great configuration as we demonstrated in our Galaxy review.
You can see in this image that the custom Palit designed GPU is a bit smaller than the reference card in terms of length but is overall very similar.