ASUS ENGTX460 TOP Review

gotdamojo06 - 2010-07-30 16:50:23 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: August 23, 2010
Price: $229.99

Introduction:

Are you looking to upgrade your system's video card? Maybe you are looking for a card that is going to give you a great graphics experience for your money and which has support for the latest features such as DirectX 11 and Shader Model 5.0. Well, you may just be in luck with the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP which is based on the GTX 460 GPU. However, ASUS has pushed the clock speeds of the core up to 775MHz and the memory up to 1000MHz. ASUS has also put a better cooler on the card for lower temperatures and increased the voltages to give it better stability. ASUS has also installed their DirectCU cooler on the card which puts the base of the cooler directly on the core to give the card extra cooling performance. I am curious to see exactly how this card is going to be able to compare to the other cards in its class.

 

Closer Look:

When you take a look at the packaging for the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP, you are going to see the ASUS logo printed in the top left hand corner with the slogan "Inspiring Innovation * Persistent Perfection" printed below it. There is a large image of a mythical creature on the front of the package. This creature looks to be strong and ready to fight, giving me the impression that the card is also ready for battle against the other cards. Under the ASUS logo, you are going to find "115% Speed Overclocked" letting you know that the video card is going to be overclocked right out of the box. This is always an advantage for the average consumer who does not want to get into overclocking their video cards and just want something that will work. You will find the ENGTX460 TOP logo printed above the badges that are found along the bottom of the package. The badges that you are going to find are the DirectCU, 1GB DDR5, 775MHz Overclocked, Full DirectX 11 Support and GeForce GTX 460. When you take a look at the back of the package, you are going to find an image of the card in the middle and this is going to provide you with the advantages of the TOP edition over the regular edition such as the Voltage tweak and DirectCU. You are also going to get a list of the "Powerful Features" across the top of the package and a list of Recommended System Requirements off to the right side. At the top, you are going to see NVIDIA SLI and NVIDIA 3D VISION Ready tags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open up the package you are going to find an elegant looking black box with the ASUS logo printed in gold in the center. This is where everything is enclosed to keep it in place and safe during shipping. When you open up the lid, you will find smaller boxes inside to keep everything organized. The smaller box to the right is where your accessories are located and the larger box is where the documentation is found. Under the larger box is where you are going to find the card itself, wrapped up in plastic and placed in a foam bed to keep it from moving around and getting damaged while being transported.

 

 

When it comes to accessories, you are going to be getting a 2 x 4pin molex to PCI-E power adapter, a DVI to D-Sub dongle, DVI to HDMI dongle, a CD wallet, as well as the installation documentation. There were no drivers CD included in the package. This is because by the time that you purchase the card and get it to your doorstep, there will usually be updated versions of the drivers that you will have to download anyways.

 

Now that we know how the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP is packaged and what accessories come with it, its time to take a look at the card itself.

Closer Look:

The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP has an upgraded cooling system installed on the card. The casing around the heat sink and the fan are a blue color with the ASUS logo in the bottom right hand corner. When you look at the back of the card, you will see there are six holes in the PCB that will allow you to install an aftermarket cooling solution such as a water block (if you are looking for extreme cooling performance). The card is just wide enough to take up two slots in your chassis. This is always a good thing for your card as it is going to get better cooling with more space to move out the hot air. The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP card is based on the NVIDIA GF104 Fermi GPU. This is going to give you DirectX 11 support as well as Shader Model 5.0. The ASUS ENGTX460 has 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256 bit bus giving you a bandwidth of 128.0 GB/s, which is going to help you out with your higher resolutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing to look at the card, you will see there are two 6 pin PCI-E power adapters at the back top corner of the card. The front of the card is where you are going to find your Display Port adapter as well as two DVI display adapters. The ENGTX460 connects to your motherboard using the PCI-E slot and you are able to add a second card in your system and connect the two cards for extra performance using the SLI Bridge at the top of the card.

 

 

 

When you take off the heat sink and fan setup, you are left with a naked card, the GPU, memory, voltage regulators, as well as the other components. The ASUS ENGTX460 is based around the GF104 GPU, this chip is the newer Fermi core. The GPU itself is covered by a large heat spreader to give the core even more cooling performance. When it comes to the memory installed on the card, you have a total of 1GB of GDDR5. The chips are manufactured by Samsung and they are the K4G10325FE-HC05 model. Looking up these chips on Samsung's website lets you know that they have a latency of 0.33ns and a refresh speed of 8K/32ms.

 

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Looking at the cooler while it's off of the card, you can see that there are three heat pipes that go from the base of the cooler to the massive fin array for optimal cooling performance. You will notice that the heat pipes are copper and have been flattened out to actually make up the base of the cooler giving them direct contact with the GPU on the card, which is one less thing that the heat needs to pass through to be moved away from the card.

 

 

 

Now that we know how the card is designed, lets take a look at the specifications and different features of the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP.

Specifications:

GPU

GTX460

ROPs

32

Shaders

224 Unified

DirectX Support

11.0

Shader Model

5.0

Memory Type

GDDR5

Memory Size

1024MB

Bus Width

256 Bit

Bandwidth

128.0 GB/s

Pixel Fillrate

24.8 GPixel/s

Texture Fillrate

43.4 GTexel/s

GPU Clock

775 MHz

Memory Clock

1000 MHz

Shader Clock

1550 MHz

Features:

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Information courtesy of ASUS @ http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=UATIvdWePp9oPSIk

Testing:

Testing of the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. The drivers used in this test will be the 10.4 Catalyst drivers for ATI and 257.15 Forceware drivers from NVIDIA for the GTX 480, 470 and 465 while the GTX 460 gets the 258.96. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

When it came down to overclocking the ASUS ENGTX460, it was pretty straight forward as far as overclocking video cards go. I used the MSI Afterburner utility to manipulate my clock speeds. I started off by increasing the core clock by 50 MHz then running the Kombuster stress test to check for stability. Once the clock speeds passed, I then bumped the clock up by another 50 MHz. I continued this process until I reached 900MHz on the core, after that it became unstable. Once the core was stable, I started up on the memory clocks and I was able to get that all the way up to 2095MHz. These clocks were fully stable using the Kombuster stress test. However, once I began running some of the benchmarks, a few of them caused crashes. That problem was solved by raising the voltage by 75mV and I did not have a single problem from that point on. The core was able to get an additional 16% overclock and a 5% increase on the memory! These overclocked speeds are going to be an increase of 33% on the core and 16% on the memory over the standard GTX460 clock speeds.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each card has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using MSI's Kombuster utility. So far my testing has shown that higher clock speeds may be stable in games where GPU usage does not reach 100%, but will crash within a few minutes using this utility. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a 15 minute test at 1920 x 1200 and 8x AA.

 

 

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Darkest of Days
  6. Bioshock 2
  7. Just Cause 2
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0
  9. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  10. Resident Evil 5
  11. 3DMark 06 Professional
  12. 3DMark Vantage
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

Testing:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation first person shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50 square kilometers of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP and the Palit GTX 460 Sonlic Platinum ran pretty neck and neck throughout the Far Cry 2 Benchmark.

Testing:

Part first person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA Physx and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied - in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses - chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP scores right around the Sapphire HD5850 Toxic and Sapphire HD5870 cards. It does come in neck and neck with the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum as well.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The performance that the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP was able to deliver in the Crysis Warhead benchmark was in most cases slightly higher than the performance that the ASUS ENGTX465 card was able to generate.


 

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

When the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP was overclocked, the performance that it was able to produce is just under the scores that the Inno 3D GTX 470 Hawk was giving when it was overclocked.

Testing:

What would testing be if we did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

The only card that the ASUS ENGTX460 was able to beat in the Darkest of Days benchmark was the ASUS ENGTX465.

Testing:

BioShock 2 is the sequel to a game that won more than 50 game of the year awards and sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide. Though an FPS at its core, BioShock 2 blends that with RPG elements and drops you into an environment like no other - the underwater dystopian city of Rapture. Set approximately ten years after the events of the original, BioShock 2 allows the player to be one of the most iconic video game characters of recent years, a Big Daddy. Powered by the Unreal Engine 2.5 and featuring Havok Physics, BioShock 2 also adds multiplayer to the mix, filling in the one hole prevalent in the first game. There are seven different multiplayer game modes that take place in 1959, before the events of the original BioShock.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Once again, the ENGTX460 TOP was neck and neck with the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platnium card, the FPS at all resolutions are playable. However, you are by no means going to be beating out many of the other cards.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main story line, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to; crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The ASUS ENGTX465 has some pressure in the Just Cause 2 benchmark coming from the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP during both the overclocked and the stock testing.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes; Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

A lot of the cards are pretty consistent in the Unigine 2.1 benchmark, everyone was sitting around the mid 20s for FPS in the highest resolution. The ENGTX460 TOP was able to score the same as the ASUS ENGTX465.


 

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, The Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein in the Joker and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The Batman benchmark is another one where you can see how close the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP and the Palit GTX 460 Sonlic Platinum are in performance.


 

Testing:

Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield a survivor of the events at Raccoon City who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and a co-op gaming style.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The ENGTX460 TOP was able to perform quite similar to the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum throughout the Resident Evil 5 benchmarks.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

You can really see how neck and neck the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP and the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum cards are in performance, not only when overclocked but even at stock speeds.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024 x 768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920 x 1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

In the 3DMark Vantage testing, you are still going to see how close the performance is between the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP and the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum cards.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using MSI Kombuster which is paired with MSI's afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using the stability test set to a resolution of 1920 x 1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 15 minute time frame to run the test ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the first test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for overclocking. The idle test will be a 20 minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP runs on the warmer side compared to the other cards, now this may have something to do with the voltages and higher clock speeds. However, I would have thought that the heatsink using ASUS' DirectCU technology would have helped bring the temperatures down a little more than it did.

Testing:

Power Consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and load stated and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use MSI Kombuster to load the GPU for a 15 minute test and use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

During all testing, you are going to see that the ASUS ENGTX460 is giving you the just about the lowest power consumption in all four tests.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a card that is going to be able to give you great performance for a lower price point, you should check out the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP. You are going to get a card that has DirectX 11 support giving you the ability to play the newest game titles and allowing you to game with all of the features available with the new game engines. The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP also comes packed with some other good features such as the cooling solution that ASUS has decided to attach to the card. The large cooler installed on the ENGTX460 TOP has a large base that is made up of three heatpipes flattened out and polished down to the copper innards of the heatpipe giving them direct contact with the GPU core for maximum heat transfer from the GPU to the heatsink.

ASUS has overclocked the card 100MHz on the GPU core and 200MHz on the memory for a better gaming experience right out of the box. The overclocking does not stop there however. If you do decide to overclock the card, I was able to get an extra 225 MHz on the GPU core over NVIDIA's stock speeds and an extra 295MHz on the memory over the standard stock speeds, which is always a great boost to a graphics card performance. You are able to adjust the voltages of the card using MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility. However, I did not need much of a voltage increase to get an even higher overclock.

The performance of the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP was pretty comparable to the other cards in its class. When overclocked, it was giving the Inno3D GTX470 HAWK a run for its money in quite a few of the benchmarks. When it came down to the temperature of the card, it was only running at 68°C at a full load when it was overclocked, which is only 4° higher than the load testing done at the stock speeds. Power consumption is another big aspect of this card, I was very surprised to see that the card was coming in a heck of a lot lower than the other cards. Not only at stock speeds but even when it was overclocked. Overall, if you are looking for a card that is going to give your system a boost in performance in not only synthetic benchmarks, but in real world gaming situations, I would take a close look at the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP. The price is at a reasonable point for the performance that you are going to be getting, especially with the overclocking potential the card does offer.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: