With the relatively lackluster GeForce GTX 300 series, Nvidia has been out for the mid-range graphics crown for a long time coming. This has especially been the case as ATI has been providing decent performance at just about the right price point for a couple of years with the HD4850 and HD5830 cards. Now, however, Nvidia's learned from past mistakes and has polished their Fermi chips to near perfection with the GTX 460.
Going head to head with the ATI 5830, the 1GB version of the GTX 460 has an MSRP of $230 (AED 919) and $200 (AED 799) for the 768MB variant. Apart from the memory, the other major difference between the two cards is the bandwidth. However, let's look at the cards we'll be testing today.
Today we get Zotac's GTX 460 1GB which packs in the usual cables and manuals along with the latest Nvidia drivers and a copy of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. The card is actually quite small to be packing so much power inside. Measuring at just 8.25", the Zotac GTX 460 1GB comes with 1.95 billion Transistors on a 40nm chip rated at 160W TDP.
Enough with the formalities, time to get to really know this card. As usual, our testbed comprises of an Intel 965 EE Quadcore CPU clocked at 3.2GHz with 3GB Corsair DDR3-1333 RAM on the ASUS II Rampage Extreme Motherboard. Drivers used for Nvidia cards were the nVidia 258.56 and ATI cards used the Catalyst 10.4.
The tests below were done at 1900x1200 with all settings at the max, alternating between Anti Aliasing wherever available.
Apart from the above, we also ran separate synthetic tests for the Zotac GTX 460 1GB. At default settings, the card cranks out a score of P15304 (GPU=12494/ CPU=47059) on 3DMARK Vantage. On Unigine's Heaven v2.1 benchmark, at all settings on high and tessellation on normal, we get 24fps at 1900x1200 resolution with 4xAA and 16xAF. Not bad at all for a mid-range card.
During normal operations, the Zotac GTX 460 1GB remains fairly quiet, and even during heavy load, the 75mm fan barely let out a hiss. Idle temperatures hovered around 35C to 37C, while running Unigine Heaven v2.1 benchmark, temperatures touched 72C.
In conclusion, the Zotac GeForce GTX 460 1GB not only runs cool and quiet, but outperforms any other card in this category and at this price point. The sub $200 (AED 800) sector hasn't seen a shining star this generation at all, Nvidia's latest offering just changed that!