ASUS ENGTX465 Reviewccokeman - June 3, 2010
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The GTX 465 is built using the same PCB as the reference GTX 470, so the component selection does not change, just the GPU core and the amount of memory on board. The ENGTX465 is equipped with the reference cooling solution and measures seven inches in length, allowing this card to fit easily in most cases. Being what looks like a reference card, the ENGTX465 has decal on the front showing this card is distributed by ASUS. Instead of having the graphic from the box carry over onto the graphics card, the decal is designed to look like carbon fiber. The rear face of the black PCB has a series of holes where the cooling fan is located to help with cooling the hot running core down when run in multiple card situations. The reference cooling solution used on this card makes it a two-slot cooling solution, much like just about every high performance video card in the past few years. This rendition of the Fermi architecture is built using a 40nm process. Inside the core, you have three GPU clusters that house 11 streaming multi-processors, 352 CUDA cores, 44 texture units, 32 ROP's and 1 GB of GDDR5 memory running through a 256 bit memory interface.
Connectivity options on the ENGTX465 include two dual link DVI ports and a mini HDMI port that support up to two monitors. The yellow port is color coded to use when outputting the signal via the DVI to HDMI adapter included in the accessory bundle. The rear end of the card is open to help increase airflow through the card when run in an SLI configuration.
Speaking of SLI configurations, this card can be combined with up to three more to form a QUAD SLI setup for increased graphics performance. That is if you have the motherboard and power supplies to support the configuration. Power is supplied to the card with two 6 pin PCIe connections. The recommended power supply for a single GTX 465 is 550 watts. The GTX 465 has seen the TDP drop to 200watts based on the lower clock speeds and hardware not included on the chip. However, add in more cards and this requirement is going to escalate.
You always have to wonder what under the hood of a video card. Sometimes you get a simple aluminum block or sometimes you get something a bit more elaborate with a heatpipe cooler drawing the heat from the GPU. The cover is held in place with a few strategically placed clips that allow the cover to lift right off so you can see the heatpipe cooling assembly and full coverage aluminum block underneath to cool the rest of the on board components.
The heatsink used on the ENGTX465 uses heatpipe direct contact cooling to maximize the heat removed from the core. This heat sink uses 5 heatpipes to wick away the thermal energy to the aluminum fin array for removal outside the chassis. The surface of the heatsink is not as smooth as one would hope. This means that you will need extra thermal compound to fill the gaps between the heatpipes and aluminum block if you choose to remove and replace the thermal compound.
The ENGTX465 is built on Nvidias latest 40nm GF100 Compute architecture. To get to 352 CUDA cores, Nvidia had to do some stripping down of the core. Each GPU cluster has four streaming multiprocessor that houses 32 CUDA cores. The GTX 480 had a total of four GPU clusters and 15 Streaming Multi-processors while the GTX 465 has 2.75 GPU cores and 11 SM's. Basic math, but it brings it into perspective. The memory used on this card is from Samsung and is rated for operation at 1000MHz. It could be run at this level for screen shots, but was far from stable at that point. The default clock speeds on the ENGTX465 are the same as the GTX 470 at 607MHz on the fixed function units,1215MHz for the processor clocks and 802MHz on the GDDR5 memory that travels through a 256bit bus.
Looking at the card is nice, but what really counts is the performance it delivers.