We already established with our Zotac review that the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 is one hell of a mainstream card and pretty much the best value for money in the market right now. So henceforth the battle begins as to which brand provides the best bang for your buck.
This week we look at the ASUS ENGTX460 1GB, the overclocked version of the standard GTX 460. The big selling point for the ENGTX460, according to ASUS, is the Voltage Tweaking ability to allow for even more overclocking headroom. Accompanying the AED 1,200 ($ 277) graphics card is your standard molex to 6-pin power cable (even though the card itself needs 2x 6-pin power plugs) and a DVI to VGA as well as a DVI to HDMI connector. Packed along the hardware is the manual with a driver disc containing the ASUS SmartDoctor and GamerOSD overclocking software.
The premium price tag on the ENGTX460 1GB, in addition to the overvoltage feature, can be attributed to the high clock speeds on the card: 775MHz Core and 1000MHz Memory compared to the reference card speeds of 675MHz Core and 900MHz Memory from Nvidia.
So moving right along, our testbed comprises of an Intel 965 EE Quadcore CPU @ 3.2GHz with 3GB Corsair DDR3-1333 RAM on the Gigabyte X58A-UD9 motherboard. Nvidia’s latest drivers, ForceWare 258.96 was used for testing the ENGTX460 1GB.
All benchmarks are run at the highest texture settings with all effects enabled. Unfortunately our review card for Zotac's GTX 460 1GB couldn't run the Dirt 2 benchmark due to some driver issues then. Sadly we don't have the card on hand anymore, but the other benchmarks do show both the Zotac and ASUS GTX 460 cards going head to head.
And now let’s take a look at the overclocking potential of the ENGTX460 1GB. From the standard settings of 775MHz Core, 1000MHz Memory and 1550MHz Shader speeds at 0.975v we moved up to 900MHz Core, 1033MHz Memory and 1800MHz Shader speeds at 1.075v, a far cry from the reference settings. Below we have added a few more stressing tests, including Unigine v2.1 which really pushes DX11 based cards for tessellation rendering.
As you can see the overclocking results are quite impressive, but it’s strange that the ASUS ENGTX460 1GB is having trouble keeping up with the Zotac GTX460 1GB which is factory set at Nvidia’s reference speeds. And then we have the fan noise. At factory settings, the ASUS ENTGX460 1GB makes a distinctly audible noise when under pressure compared to the Zotac GTX 460 1GB card. While overclocked, the ENGTX460 was ridiculously loud, the fan overstressed and I was worried that something will blow up.
Add to this the fact that the ASUS costs AED 281 ($76) more than Zotac’s GTX 460, the ENGTX460 1GB is a hard sell indeed. So despite the fact that the ASUS ENGTX460 1GB is a decently overclockable card with higher factory speeds to boot, it still fails to impress compared to Zotac’s similarly powerful, but aptly priced offering.