What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 SE 1GB Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Metro 2033 (DX11)

Metro 2033 (DX11)


There has been a lot of buzz about Metro 2033 which has mostly centered on its amazing graphics coupled with absolutely brutal framerates on even the best GPUs on the market. For this test we use a walkthrough and combat scene from The Bridge level which starts at the beginning of the level and lasts for about 3 minutes of walking, running and combat. Famerates are measured with FRAPS and Advanced PhysX is turned off.


1680 x 1050



1920 x 1200

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
StarCraft II (DX9)

StarCraft II (DX9)


In order to test StarCraft II performance we recorded a typical multiplayer battle on the Agria Valley map and used it as a replay in order to ensure every run was identical to one another. We used the last 3 minutes of the replay which includes the final assault on the enemy base. MSAA was applied in the NVIDIA and ATI control panels for certain tests.


1680 x 1050





1920 x 1200



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Unigine: Heaven v2.0 (DX11)

Unigine: Heaven v2.0 (DX11)


Unigine’s Heaven benchmark is currently the de-facto standard when it comes to simple, straightforward DX11 performance estimates. While it is considered a synthetic benchmark by many, it is important to remember that no less than four games based on this engine will be released within the next year or so. In this test we will be using a standard benchmark run with and without tessellation enabled at three resolutions,


1680 x 1050





1920 x 1200



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
1920 x 1200, 8x MSAA Testing

1920 x 1200, 8x MSAA Testing


In this section we take a number of games we have tested previously in this review and bring things to the next level by pushing the in-game MSAA up to 8x. All other methodologies remain the same.


BattleField: Bad Company 2 (DX11)

Note that 8x MSAA is enabled via the game’s config file for the NVIDIA cards since it is not a selectable option within the game menu



Dirt 2 (DX11)



Just Cause 2 (DX10)

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Core Temperature & Acoustics & Power Consumption

Core Temperature & Acoustics


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at it highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



With Gigabyte’s custom dual fan heatsink, temperatures are kept well in check while the acoustics are kept lower than most other cards on the market. In short, this card is astonishingly quiet.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


The elimination of an SM along with its associated CUDA cores and TMUs naturally leads to lower power consumption which can only be counted as a positive thing for this architecture.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


Using EVGA’s Precision overclocking utility in addition to our usual stability checks, both the core and the memory of the Gigabyte GTX 460 SE 1GB were pushed as far as the default voltage would allow.

Final Clock Speeds

Graphics Clock: 851Mhz
Processor Clock: 1702Mhz
Memory Clock: 3980Mhz (QDR)

Hold onto your socks folks because it seems like NVIDIA hasn’t hobbled the “SE” cards in any way when it comes to increasing core and memory clocks. Indeed, Gigabyte uses the exact same memory on this card as they do on their reference GTX 460 1GB so the only thing that’s holding it back is the frankly ridiculous 3.4Ghz stock clock it is saddled with. Add to that a 200Mhz increase in core speeds over the stock version and this looks like it could give Gigabyte's unassuming card a whole new set of chops.

The performance increases we saw across the board were also jaw-dropping:

 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


NVIDIA’s launch of the GTX 460 SE didn't have anything like the usually loud and boisterous event GPU releases usually undergo. This has led to a great deal of questions surrounding this new product’s positioning in an extremely cluttered market. After pouring over the benchmark numbers over and over again, the reason behind its existence has become a bit clearer but there are still some lingering questions.

With the GTX 460 SE NVIDIA has basically given themselves a way to maximize yields from their GF104 wafers. To do this, any cores which have been deemed unsuitable for the higher-end cards have an extra SM disabled and sold as “SE” derivatives. Clock speeds have been cut as well just to make sure there is some performance separation remaining between different SKUs. The result is of course lower performance than a full-blown GTX 460 1GB but also a reduction in power consumption as well.


Performance numbers for this new SE card were interesting to say the least. At lower resolutions without AA enabled, it really doesn’t compare all that favorably to the similarly priced GTX 460 768MB. Once higher resolutions and image quality settings are used, the GTX 460 SE’s larger memory bandwidth can come into play and it begins to pull out ahead of the 768MB version – at times by significant amounts. It never does come close to matching the GTX 460 1GB but then again, it was never meant to.

One of the most redeeming qualities about this latest GF104 derivative is its ability to maintain consistent framerates when in-game detail settings are pushed to their limits. Unfortunately, the GTX 460 SE’s window of opportunity is extremely limited since its potential can only be fully realized in certain situations.

Gigabyte’s version does go a long way towards sealing this gap by upping the core clocks without a significant price increase. It's overclocking boundaries are absolutely phenomenal and when pushing the clock speeds the OC Edition can achieve, it simply goes like stink. As such, we would highly recommend Gigabyte's product if you are seriously considering the GTX 460 SE.

NVIDIA tried to thread a very fine performance needle here and nailed the target for the most part in terms of relative comparability to other products in their lineup. However, we still have to question the real use of this card. At $160 we just can’t see many people who sport 1080P or larger monitors choosing the SE over the $30 to $40 more expensive and much higher performing GTX 460 1GB. Even the HD 6850 (which can be found for under $190) proves to be more than NVIDIA’s newest card can handle. What we are seeing here is market saturation which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it can lead to aggressive pricing structures. On the other hand, too many products at the same price point can also result in confusion on the consumer’s part.

The GTX 460 SE 1GB is a good card but it is still quite baffling to us. With it you are more likely to get consistent framerates at higher image quality settings than a GTX 460 768MB and yet there are much better options out there for high resolution, high IQ situations if you are willing to spend a bit more. If anything, this card seems like a push to hit the largest cross section of the $150 to $200 price point by catering to a niche market. Will such a strategy translate into actual sales during the lucrative Christmas shopping season? We'll just have to wait and see...



 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top