Inno3D GTX 460 1GB OC Review

RHKCommander959 - 2010-07-12 13:34:18 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: July 13, 2010
Price: $210

Introduction:

The GTX 460 GF104 line is the second version of the Fermi GF100 cores and is created to target the midrange mainstream market for NVIDIA. When NVIDIA tried to chop the original Fermi core up into the GTX 470 and GTX 465 especially, performance dropped while power consumption remained high. As such, a new chip had to be designed, the GF104. Usually, in the video card industry, companies will take a product and then improve it as they go along by building upon what works and cutting out what doesn’t. The new core has been redesigned to be more efficient with less fluff than its predecessor, having over a billion less transistors than the GF100 core. What this means is that the new core design is more specialized toward gaming (and video editing). The lowered transistor count also means less heat and core size, making it cheaper for NVIDIA to build and more importantly sell. Texture units have been increased while render units have remained the same in comparison to the GTX 465, and an increase of 48 shader processors (over 32 of the first implementation) per 7 streaming multiprocessors, giving a total of 336 shader processors. One SM has been disabled, but depending on if it was laser-cut out or not, it might be possible to re-enable to give a total of 384 SP! Not everything is better over the first Fermi iteration; there are some losses, such as being able to only use two in SLI, and lowered tessellation performance than the original. By having less heat output and complexity, the speeds were ramped up compared to the GTX 465 and should bring the performance even higher. Inno3D has taken the liberty of overclocking the new graphics card coupled with 1GB of memory. Time to see how it compares to the GTX 465!

 

Closer Look:

Inno3D uses similar packaging on its other 400 series graphics cards, but the box has some differences. The packaging has a reflective metallic look to it that refracts rainbows in the light. The top left, in capitalized gold lettering, states that this card is overclocked from the factory, while the bottom right, in silver, shows that a GTX 460 with 1GB of GDDR5 is inside. The main NVIDIA features are listed at the bottom, while the company logo is centered. Flipping over to the back, we find some game images pitching features through dialogue, and near the bottom, in nine different languages, are a paragraph each on some of the basic specifications, such as DirectX 11 support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The packaging is smooth and set up nicely in design, but does scratch easily during shipping. Each word in chrome also refracts and adds to the display. Opening the package reveals the typical corrugated cardboard box inside. This design uses two containers to separate and protect the pieces inside. The top container contains the accessories while the second one, supported with foam blocks, houses the video card safely away from all sides of the main package.

 

 

The supplied accessories are sparse, as the same disk insert is used for both the drivers and applications disks. Each insert has rough instructions on how to install a graphics card. A DVI to VGA adapter is included, as well as a dual female Molex to male 6-pin PCIe adapter (the card requires dual 6-pin connection to run, so possible customers should make sure they have at least one 6-pin connection on their power supply). The GTX 460 is protected in the standard translucent anti-static bag with a sticker warning against the dangers of static and proper handling, while also sealing the bag.

 

 

 

Time to get a good look at the Inno3D GTX 460!

Closer Look:

The Inno3D GTX 460 is built around the GF104 core that is made on the same 40nm fabrication process as the earlier GF100 Fermi cores. Since the transistor count has dropped nearly a billion, the core size has also decreased significantly, which means increased yields per wafer for NVIDIA and a less expensive video card for consumers. Size also plays a role with power consumption, heat output, and number of yields during creation since the larger a core, the harder it is to make reliably. 48 CUDA cores are paired per streaming multiprocessor and the GF104 has eight SMs, but on the GTX 460, only seven are enabled. Depending on if they were physically disabled or not, they may be unlocked, and likely points to a future card with all eight enabled with a total of 384 cores. The GTX 460s come with either 192-bit or 256-bit memory buses combined with 768MB (6x128MB) or 1GB (8x128MB) of memory, respectively. Reference clocks put the GTX 460s at 675MHz core, 1350MHz shader, and 900MHz memory speeds, while the Inno3D is factory overclocked to 750MHz core, 1500MHz shader, and 950MHz memory.

The artwork on the plastic shroud is very similar to that on the packaging, but without the refracting. The impeller is translucent in a smoky color, while the shroud is black and opaque. Only four screws with springs and plastic washers are used to mount the heat sink to the core - other holes are empty, but are placed around the card and should make it easy to water cool. One important thing for interested consumers is that the GTX 460 is only capable of 2-card SLI since each GTX 460 has only one SLI connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inno3D GTX 460’s size is much smaller (at 8.25" length) than many of the behemoths of late, such as the ATI 5800s and first generation NVIDIA Fermi cards. The sides of the card are blank and clean, and the whole shroud allows air to escape into the case and through the expansion slot grilles. The thickness is only two slots worth - typical for most mainstream solutions - so fitting this inside most cases shouldn’t be difficult at all. This card should be installed into a PCI Express x16 slot for it to be able to take advantage of full bandwidth.

 

 

The GTX 460 provides digital output through two Dual Link DVI outputs and an HDMI port. The back of the graphics card is open enough for air to escape and even to catch another glimpse of the heat sink fins. Both of the 6-pin PCIe power connections are located on the back furthest away from the PCI Express slot. The fan used is a PWM-style, four-wired fan.

 

 

The single SLI connector means that only two GTX 460s may be used in SLI together in normal settings. The pins look like they may be gold or gold-plated, which would help keep them from oxidizing. Dual 6-pin PCIe connectors are installed on the GTX 460s to ensure that there is more than enough energy even after overclocking. Both connectors are near the top of the graphics card, away from the PCI Express slot.

 

 

On to the testing after a quick jump through the features page!

Specifications:

 

 
Graphics Card
GeForce GTX 460
Processing Units
 
Graphics Processing Clusters
2
Streaming Multiprocessors
8 (7 enabled)
CUDA Cores
336
Texture Units
56
ROP Units
32
Clock Speeds
 
Graphics Clock (Fixed Function Units)
675MHz
Processor Clock (CUDA Cores)
1350 MHz
Memory Clock (Clock rate / Data rate)
900MHz / 3600MHz
Memory
 
Total Video Memory
1024 MB
Memory Interface
256-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth
115.2 GB/s
Fillrate
 
Texture Fill Rate (Billion/sec)
38.7
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
450 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP)1
160 Watts
Thermal Threshold2
105° C

Features:

Testing:

To test the Inno3D GTX 460, it will be run through a volley of games and benchmarks. After completing the trials at stock, the tests will then be repeated at stable overclocked speeds. The results will then be compared to similar products on graphs that show what performs the best and worst for that bracket. Testing is conducted on a test system running Microsoft Windows 7 with several recently released games to give a good coverage of results. Settings do not change during the testing, and PhysX is disabled for testing 3DMark Vantage.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

Overclocking the Inno3D GTX 460 was simply trial and error to find where it became unstable with the core/shader speed (they are locked together). The card ran up to 940MHz core unstable - higher would cause freezing. Stability was gained around 917MHz. The core overclock was 22% over the already factory-overclocked core speed, and 36% over the reference clock speed! MSI Afterburner 1.6.1 was able to change the core/memory speeds, but not the fan. I used Ntune to change the fan speed, but it was not linear, as 100% equated to 70% real speed as reported by GPU-Z and MSI Afterburner. Software voltage control is not supported by this video card, and I cannot confirm if it is the hardware or if the software available now just doesn't support it.

 

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

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 story line 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

 

With Far Cry 2, the Inno3D GTX 460 firmly planted itself between the GTX 465 from ASUS and the Inno3D GTX 470. Hower, the single core AMD cards couldn't stand up to it.

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 GTX 460 again wedges itself between the GTX 465 and GTX 470 while playing tug of war with the 5870. Not bad for a mainstream video card!

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

 

Crysis Warhead is the same story for the NVIDIA side of things, but the AMD team pulls ahead several frames and brings the fight to the GTX 470 and GTX 480.

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

 

This time the GTX 460 skips right over to the GTX 465 - all other single-GPU cards battle back and forth. The frames are playable all the way to the highest resolution, although there is some choppy spots where the rate dips down.

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

 

Depending on the resolution, the GTX 460 and GTX 465 battle back and forth for lowest in the bunch. The GTX 480 is top dog with Darkest of Days.

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 had some interesting results for the all of the 400-series cards - looks like drivers are still being ironed out for Bioshock 2, as 1920x1200 results are the only normal looking scores for the green team.

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

 

With Just Cause 2 the Inno3D GTX 460 beats the single core AMD cards in all but the highest resolution at stock speeds. In all of the resolutions it also tied with or exceeded the GTX 465, usually fitting right in between both the GTX 465 and GTX 470.

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

 

Unigine shows the lessened tessellation capabilities - when overclocked, the GTX 465 left the GTX 460 in the dust. However, the Inno3D GTX 460 did score in the region of the single core ATI 5800s.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter rivals, 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 become the Dark Knight.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Batman: Arkham Asylum allowed the GTX 460 to perform better than the red crew, and slightly better than the GTX 470. The 5970s still win by a fair margin.

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 co-op multiplayer.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The GTX 460 and GTX 465 do battle again, but most of the time the Inno3D GTX 460 comes out ahead. Scores weren't quite to the Sapphire 5850 Toxic level.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest begins. 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

 

The lower resolutions bring the GTX 460 and 5850 close in score, but as resolutions climb, the gap broadens.

Testing:

FFeaturing 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

 

Vantage shows the same story again,with the Inno3D GTX 460 besting the Asus GTX465. However, it cannot catch up to the others.

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 1920x1200 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

 

With a TDP of 160 watts and a solid heat sink, this card is able to pull out good temperatures, especially when compared to the other Fermi cards, while performing as well as it did. Scoring in the lowest groups three out of four times is a good testament to the efficiency of this video card, especially if it really was only 70% fan speed. And if the BIOS wasn't set for quiet fan noise, the load test could have been colder.

Conclusion:

The new GF104 core design proved to run cool and efficiently in the reference design - loading under 60°C even when overclocked is great, especially for a reference design with a solid factory overclock. 11% core and 5% memory is better than most factory video card overclocks. Overclocking yielded 36% faster core speeds than reference specifications, but since time was an issue, the memory couldn’t reliably be tested due to error detection. The memory easily went past 1100, but there wasn’t enough time to verify if gains were being made or lost since overclocking the memory isn’t as simple as going until it artifacts. Core voltage was displayed, but no current software was capable of changing the voltage either. Nonetheless, the core pushed very high, even up to 940MHz core, although unstable.

The overall design of this graphics card spells a win for NVIDIA - a cool running and more cost effective core that operates more efficiently per clock for the mainstream gamers should be very popular. Inno3D tapped into the potential of the GTX 460 by releasing a pre-overclocked video card, while leaving plenty of headroom for more adventurous crowds. The performance suggests that a pair of these in SLI would be the smarter choice over spending all that money on a GTX 480 or something similar. The fact that the GTX 460 is a two-slot solution measuring 8.25" long means that almost all systems can accommodate this video card and installation would be far easier than trying to maneuver some of the larger cards.

When giving praise, it is usually a good practice to provide some criticism to give boths sides of the fence. The GTX 460 performed amazingly, and there wasn’t anything wrong with the card at all.

NVIDIA is pushing back hard at AMD with the GTX 460 and the pre-overclocked Inno3D offering pushes harder. With performance around the 5850, but with a lower price tag, the mainstream market is about to get spiced up a bit!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: