ECS GTX 460 Black Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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The GF 104 based GTX 460 is the card that has really, really saved the mid range for NVIDIA. These cards are typically priced in the $200 to $250 range that is the meat and potatoes of the GPU market. It's the card the GTX 465 should have been! The release of new games that leverage NVIDIA's Fermi Architecture are coming fast and furious of late with Mafia II, Starcraft II and Lost Planet 2. With these games, the GTX 460 fits right into the high value price point and delivers performance above expectations and above its price point in the 1280 x 1024 to 1680 x 1050 market. Usually in the case of video cards, the overclocked and non-factory cooled cards come out well after the initial introduction. However, the time frame for tweaked GTX 460s was well.... fast! At launch we saw the Palit GTX 460 Sonic Platinum. ECS as well has now brought out their factory hot rod, the Black Series GTX 460. This card comes with a pretty substantial 90Mhz speed bump over the reference clocks on the CUDA cores and a 25Mhz bump on the 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocks to 925Mhz. If that's not enough, ECS has installed a massive heat pipe cooling solution from Arctic Cooling on the Black Series card to make sure heat is not going to be the limiting factor when it comes time to put the screws to it and work some overclocking magic. Let's see how this new addition to ECS's ELITEGROUP Black Series lineup performs and see if the good looks and massive cooling are just for show or if it really helps in the "Go" department.
The packaging of the ECS ELITEGROUP Black Series GTX 460 has a dark theme with a large battle axe on the front panel of the box. The front panel also has a wealth of information about the capabilities of this video card. Starting on the right hand side you have all the NVIDIA technologies this card comes equipped with (or are able to be used) including CUDA, 3D Vision readiness, PhysX and SLI. Under this is a disk that lists the amount of GDDR5 (1024MB) memory and the 256 bit interface while along the bottom, additional capabilities are listed including PCIe 2.0 , DirectX 11, Open GL 4.0, mini HDMI and Dual Link DVI connectivity and HDCP support. The back panel goes into some detail as to why technologies like PhysX, 3D Vision and CUDA are the way to go for your gaming needs. The side lists key features such as NVIDIA PureVideo HD and 3D Vision Surround technology as well as some minimum system requirements.
Inside the outer sleeve is a plain cardboard box that houses the ECS Black GTX 460 and its accessory package. The accessories are housed in a slim box on top of the dedicated packaging for the video card. The first glimpse of this video card suggests that the cooling solution is much more than what comes from the factory on a reference card.
The accessory bundle is a little slim but does however include something that you normally do not see with an NVIDIA based video card. The SLI bridge connection. If you pay attention to details you will notice that this bridge connection cable is slightly longer than this piece is traditionally. When you pull the card out of the box you immediately see why, this card is three inches thick with the custom cooling solution. In addition to that you get an eight pin PCIe to six pin PCIe power adapter, driver disk and DVI to d-sub adapter. Unfortunately there is not a mini HDMI to HDMI adapter with the Black GTX 460.
The first glimpse of the video card suggests that the Arctic Cooling based cooling solution will be much better than the reference design. Hopefully this will lead to some serious overclocking.