Articles: Graphics

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In our GeForce GTX 465 preview we had to admit that that graphics card could not make a worthy opponent to the Radeon HD 5850 but we did have some hopes about the new driver. Besides, we limited our preview to a very small number of gaming tests which might have been not representative enough. And what do we see now that the GeForce GTX 465 is announced officially? Alas, the picture is far from bright despite our using the new version of the GeForce driver and increasing the number of tests from 6 to 18. The GeForce GTX 465 has only improved its performance but slightly whereas it is still inferior to its market opponent in most of the tests and cannot justify the small difference in price.

To be specific, the GeForce GTX 465 loses 13 out of 19 tests to the Radeon HD 5850 at a resolution of 1600x900, including both gaming tests from 3DMark Vantage. And it only wins six tests, enjoying an advantage of over 15% in one test only, namely Mass Effect 2. The GeForce GTX 465 is an average 7% slower than the Radeon HD 5850 and 22% slower than the more advanced GeForce series model. What makes things even more depressing, the GeForce GTX 465 is inferior to the old GeForce GTX 275 in some tests. The overclocking boost varies from 9 to 17%, being 13% on average. This is a good result considering the small increase in the card’s frequencies, but it cannot save the day for the GTX 465.

The number of lost tests grows to 15 at the resolution of 1920x1080, the Radeon HD 5850 winning this round with a score of 15 to 4. This time the new card enjoys a considerable advantage in two tests, namely Aliens vs. Predator and Unigine Heaven. Both these tests run on rendering engines that belong to the new generation that can make use of advanced DirectX 11 features. This is a point in favor of the GF100 architecture at large, but the GeForce GTX 465 in particular has nothing to be proud of. The Radeon HD 5850 looks a much more appealing option for a fast, yet affordable, gaming platform. You can of course achieve a similar performance from the GeForce GTX 465 by means of overclocking because the average performance boost is 10 to 12%, which is the difference between the new card and the Radeon HD 5850, but your success at overclocking depends on the particular sample of the card. Besides, our sample of the GeForce GTX 465 was prone to overheat even working at its default clock rates. We are not sure if other versions of the new card from Nvidia will be free from this problem.

At the resolution of 2560x1600 the GeForce GTX 465 feels a lack of graphics memory bandwidth as well as of texture processors (it has only 44 of them on board). The card is obviously not meant for such a resource-consuming operation mode, but this is a lame excuse considering that the Radeon HD 5850 costs a mere $20 more and delivers a playable frame rate in quite a lot of tests at that resolution. The Nvidia card loses to its opponent everywhere save for Street Fighter IV where the difference between them is only 0.1%, so it looks more like a draw rather than a win. The GeForce GTX 465 is an average 17% slower than the Radeon HD 5850 here. The gap is smaller at 9% when the GeForce is overclocked. These results are not so poor by themselves, but a real catastrophe considering the recommended price of the new card. To make it a really appealing buy, we guess it should cost no more than $200-220, but such a drastic reduction in price is likely to make the card unprofitable to manufacture.

As we already noted in our preview, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 has a few strong points, owing them to the natural talents of the GF100 architecture in geometry processing. For example, it is very fast at doing tessellation. AMD’s position in this field is rather weak as yet, but there are also rather few games that can make use of such capabilities today. And turning on the appropriate options in some of those games does not really lead to a serious increase in the quality of the visuals or realism. People at AMD are not idle, either. By the time such games become widespread, they may release a new solution that would be superior to the existing products from Nvidia in this respect. The history of discrete graphics products shows that developing revolutionary solutions that are far ahead of their own time is but seldom rewarding. Besides, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 400 series does not offer any exclusive features. It can only perform some operations faster than the Radeon HD 5800 series. Thus, the GeForce GTX 465 may be called a future-oriented product but the irony of the situation is that this new card from Nvidia may never live to see that future as it may be replaced with a more balanced product based on a specially developed mainstream GPU which is more economical and affordable. As for the current market situation, there is no reason why you may want to buy a GeForce GTX 465. If you don’t have much more money, you can add $20 and purchase a Radeon HD 5850 which is faster. Or, if you are into Nvidia products, you should prefer the GeForce GTX 470 which offers good performance and the same capabilities as its junior cousin.

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