ASUS ENGTX465 Review

ccokeman - 2010-05-28 21:05:48 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: June 3, 2010
Price: $279

Introduction:

When the GF100 architecture was originally announced at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference in November of last year, one of the promises was that the architecture was scalable. Due to its modular design, you can take away GPU clusters to scale the performance down to fill out the product line. Looks good on paper right? Of course it does! So far the GTX 480 is a card scaled down to 480 CUDA cores (down from the original 512) with the GTX 470 coming in at 448 and now the GTX 465 that comes to market with 352. To get to 352 CUDA cores you have to do more than pull a single GPU cluster that houses 128 CUDA cores in four steaming multiprocessors. You have to pull an additional streaming multiprocessor that holds 32 CUDA cores to drop you down to the magic number. With a modular design, you can do that in order to position a card into a specific performance band. Hence we now have the GTX 465.

The DirectX 11 video card market has been pretty well saturated with everything from the top of the line cards, all the way down to the discrete card for OEM use. Just about every price and performance point has been covered by ATI with scant few openings left to capitalize on. One such gap was the area between the HD 5830 and HD 5850 that was left wide open, both on price and on performance. This is where the GTX465 is supposed to earn its keep. Priced at $279, the pricing point is covered so all that is left is the question of how will it perform? Well lets find out.

Closer Look:

The packaging of the ENGTX465 from ASUS looks much like that which housed the ENGTX285 TOP card I looked at a while back,with a medieval knight perched upon a large stallion on a stormy night. The green background of course subliminally lets you know this is an Nvidia-based card. The front panel highlights some of the features of this card such as the 1GB of GDDR5 memory, Direct X 11 support, Nvidia PhysX capabilities and that this card is ready for overclocking via Voltage Tweak technology. The rear panel lists the features of this card, recommended system requirements and the inclusion of several Nvidia specific applications, Design Garage and the Supersonic Sled demo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the box you have a black box with the ASUS logo embossed on it. This is more aesthetically pleasing than seeing just a plain cardboard box. Opening up the inner packaging you have the ENGTX465 and the accessory bundle segregated in three compartments. To the right you have the connectivity hardware, front and center is the software, manual and underneath the ENGTX465.

 

 

The bundled accessories that come with this card includes the manual and software disk that has the latest driver at the time of the cards build that fully supports the GTX 465, two applications from Nvidia (Supersonic Sled and Design Garage) and ASUS Smart Doctor software you can use to implement your voltage tweaking. For hardware accessories you get a DVI to dsub adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter and a dual 4 pin molex to PCIe power adapter to bring in the additional juice to the card

 

Let's see how this scaled down version of the GF100 architecture performs.


 

Closer Look:

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.


 

Specifications:

 

 
Graphics Card
GeForce GTX 465
Processing Units
 
Graphics Processing Clusters
3
Streaming Multiprocessors
11
CUDA Cores
352
Texture Units
44
ROP Units
32
Clock Speeds
 
Graphics Clock (Fixed Function Units)
607MHz
Processor Clock (CUDA Cores)
1215 MHz
Memory Clock (Clock rate / Data rate)
802MHz / 3206MHz
Memory
 
Total Video Memory
1024 MB
Memory Interface
256-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth
102.6 GB/s
Fillrate
 
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)
26.7 GigaTexels/sec
Physical & Thermal
Fabrication Process
40 nm
Connectors
2 x Dual-Link DVI-I
1 x Mini HDMI
Form Factor
Dual Slot
Power Connectors
2 x 6-pin
Recommended Power Supply
550 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP)1
200 Watts
Thermal Threshold2
105° C

Features:

Testing:

Testing of the ASUS GTX 465 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. 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:

You can overclock the ASUS ENGTX465 in a couple different ways using both ASUS' own Smart Doctor Utility as well as a few aftermarket utilities. The Smart Doctor utility was able to give the needed juice, but was capped at 707Mhz (1414Mhz) on the core/shader domain clock. This was easily completed without even bumping the voltages. To get to the final clock speeds, I went ahead and used one of my favorite utilities that is not vendor specific, MSI's Afterburner. I started out by increasing the voltage by two notches to 1075 vgpu and then started upping the clock speeds to a point where the card was no longer stable and then bumped up the voltage to the maximum level of 1087vgpu to get the maximum clock speed form the core. This netted a clock speed of 821Mhz (1642Mhz) on the core. For the memory overclocking, there was not an increase in voltage available, so the memory speeds reached were not all that high, but fall in between what I could achieve with the 470 and 480 at 941Mhz. The overclock on the core is a bit better than 200Mhz which equates to about a 33% increase in core clock speed, while the memory increase is not as dramatic at 141Mhz or 17.5%. Both pretty healthy increases. If this card responds even half as well as the GTX 480, overclocking should pay handsome dividends.

 

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 1920x1200 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 50km2 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 ENGTX465 keeps up with the HD 5850 Toxic from the smallest to the largest resolution.The difference at 2560 x 1600 is only 4 FPS. When overclocked, it soundly beats the HD 5850 in three out of four tests and just barely eclipses it in the last test at 2560x1600.


 

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

 

Metro 2033 is just brutal when you start cranking up the settings, bringing even the top end cards down to reality. The results with the GTX465 are nothing to sneeze at, keeping it interesting when compared to the HD 5850... Considering when it is overclocked it delivers performance right on par with the 5850.

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

 

In three benchmarks so far, the ENGTX465 is running just behind the HD 5850. At 1920x1200, the card is right on the edge of what is considered playable at these settings.


 

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

 

The performance gap between the ENGTX465 and the HD 5850 ranges from 4 FPS to 14 FPS as the resolution increases. When overclocked, the scores are within 3 FPS through 1920x1200. After this, the ENGTX465 trails off to a 10 FPS differential.

Testing:

What would testing be if you 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

 

At 12 FPS, the performance differential between the GTX 465 and HD 5850 is consistent from top to bottom .


 

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 a first-person shooter 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

 

Bioshock 2 delivers some decidedly different results with the Nvidia based graphics cards. The results are better with the 256 series drivers than the 197.15 drivers, but not quite there with the inconsistent performance. The ENGTX465 does well until you get to 2560x1600. When overclocked, the results are skewed decidedly downwards with the ENGTX465.

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 storyline, 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

 

From 1280 x 1024 to 1920 x 1200, the ENGTX465 delivers a higher level of performance than the HD 5850, but falls short at 2560 x 1600 without the grunt to muscle ahead.


 

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

 

One of the strengths of the GF100 architecture is its tessellation performance. Throughout the resolutions, the GTX 465 kept pace with the HD 5850, two resolutions it gave a higher level of performance higher and two in which it performed lower. When both the HD 5850 and GTX 465 are overclocked, the strengths of the GF100 architecture are clear.


 

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 the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

In Batman the ENGTX465 performs right on par with the HD 5850.


 

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 gen6sis 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 ENGTX465 falls right below the HD 5850 in RE5. Right where it is supposed to perform.

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

 

What you see here is a recurring theme in how the performance of the ENGTX465 stacks up against the competition.

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 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. 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

 

When you compare the performance of these cards, the product positioning is pretty obvious with the ENGTX465 at slightly below that of the HD5850 yet again.

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 cards 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

 

Even with the lower TDP of 200 watts, the ENGTX465 has a hard time keeping the temperatures anywhere close to what the GTX 470 Hawk does with its aftermarket cooling and more closely resembles the thermal profile of the GTX 480.

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 an 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

 

In stock trim, the ENGTX465 consumes 209 watts, lower than the HD 5850 and GTX470.


 

Conclusion:

The ASUS ENGTX465 is a card that looks like it has been scaled to fit right into a specific performance target. This target is right between the HD 5850 and HD 5830 from ATI. When it comes to a comparison between the GTX 465 and the HD 5850, the green offering is behind in most categories. but does at times step up the performance when the game or benchmark plays to its strengths. A fine example of this is the Unigine 2.0 benchmark in which the tessellation performance of the GF100 architecture carries the 465 ahead of the 5850. Overclocking this card helps narrow the performance gap between it and the HD 5850 in many of the games tested, not enough to beat it at every test, but to at least make it interesting.

ASUS has thought of the enthusiast community with the ENGTX465 by including its Smart Doctor software to allow the end user to reach the highest possible overclock they can by using all of the tools that are available. The phrase on the box shouts loudly that you can go up to 50% faster by using the voltage tweaking options. I did not get to 50%, but at 33%, I was close. This 33% increase is a bump of 214MHz on the 352 CUDA cores. Not shabby by any stretch. The memory on the other hand did not benefit from any voltage tweaking and was a bit stingier when it came time to push the clock speeds, only garnering a 17.5% increase or 141MHz. Both of these clock speed increases help drive performance higher. This means just about every game in the benchmark suite is playable with high end settings. Of course Crysis and Metro 2033 are notable exceptions at 2560x1600. However the pricing and market that this card is targeting most people will be running at 1920x1200.

The reference cooling solution does a decent job of keeping the thermals in check if you take the time to bump the fan speed up a notch. When you leave the fan on auto, you get temperatures that follow the profile of the GTX 480 with load temperatures at 46°C at idle and 87°C under load. Still hot by my standards, but it is an easy fix with a couple seconds of your time. There is a line you can cross (above 72%) that starts bringing the noise from the fan, but stay under that and you can enjoy a degree (no pun intended) of comfort in knowing your card is not going to go end up like Chernobyl. 

The GTX 465 is priced a bit awkwardly at $279 when you can find the HD 5850 for as low as $289. For a scant $10 more you can get greater performance in the HD 5850. By including Just Cause 2 with the card there is added value there that may put some downward pressure on the pricing once the initial promotion is over. This could put pricing closer to the $240 to $280 you get with the HD 5830 and give the card some added value. In addition to the game, you get a couple of applications that show off the performance of the GF100 architecture in Design Garage and the Supersonic Sled demo. Not to mention the slew of applications that use GPU acceleration and CUDA technology such a vReveal, Badaboom, Photoshop CS4, TMG Express4 and more. In the near future, Nvidia will have 3DVision Surround ready for prime time to compete with ATI's Eyefinity technology. A pair of GTX465's in SLI would make a nice entry into this world.

The GTX 465 from ASUS is a card that delivers good gaming performance up to 1920x1200 with high end settings, but struggles to find that performance for price mark while fitting snugly into the sub $300 market. Overclocking opens up another level of performance that brings the performance for price  factor a bit closer to where it should be. So what's the moral of the GTX465 story? Be sure to overclock it to get your moneys worth.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: