In mountain climbing going down is almost as hard as climbing up in the first place, sometimes even harder. The same is true in regards to the graphics cards market. Thanks to high diversification and price segmentation, both AMD and Nvidia have to design numerous chips to satisfy as many market niches as possible.
Back in summer, we reviewed Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 1GB graphics card. Not only did it manage to outperform its more pricy older brother - GeForce GTX 465, but in some cases it was able to pick a fight with a vastly more complex GeForce GTX 470. The only major disappointment about GeForce GTX 460 1GB was the price of $229, which was still above the psychological sub-$200 mark. This is where our hero, GeForce GTX 460 768 MB, steps in with a launch MSRP price of $199. A seemingly perfect candidate for your gaming rig, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, the price is not the only thing that is subject to change. Since we reviewed GeForce GTX 460 1GB, opposition has grown stronger. With the latest introduction of Radeon HD 6850 graphics card Nvidia has a real fight on its hands. Fortunately for them, we have chosen one of the best representatives – a Gigabyte trained fighter. For many years Gigabyte has been one of the forefront leaders in computer hardware and managed to establish quite a name for itself among PC enthusiasts around the world. Let’s see if its finest GV-N460OC-768I can hold the ground before advancing AMD.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768MB vs. Nvidia GTX 460 1GB
Architecture & Positioning
The initial launch of GF104 based graphics cards proved quite successful for Nvidia. The Santa Clara based company finally managed to offer Fermi based solution at an affordable price. The new chip came out relatively compact with a transistor count of 1.95 billion and a die size of 320 square millimeters. It proved to be on par with AMD's RV870 Cypress in the above mentioned aspects, but significantly bigger than the latest Bartz chips.
The GF104 itself is a full-featured representative of the Fermi architecture and does not differ from the GF100 except for some minor tweaks and scale. However, it is very interesting to see what kind of tradeoffs GeForce GTX 460 768 MB model has in comparison to the previously reviewed 1 GB model. Surely it's not just the amount of onboard memory Nvidia is talking about.
At first glance it seems that GeForce GTX 460 768 MB is powered by the same GF104 core that we saw in our original review. It features 336 stream processors and is clocked at exactly the same 675/1350 MHz. Only when you take a closer look you see that the real difference lies in the memory department. The biggest distinction is in the configuration of the memory controller and related RBE subsystem. Due to architectural specifics the whole memory subsystem has to scale accordingly in order to take 256 MB of onboard memory. This leaves us with lower peak memory bandwidth as well as fill rate which should have a negative impact on the overall performance.
So it seems that Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 768 MB joins this fight with one arm tied behind its back. And it is probably not so good since after the recent price drops the junior GF104 has to compete against a very impressive Radeon HD 5830 and Radeon HD 6850.
The first GeForce GTX 460 768 MB to come to our test lab is Gigabyte’s GV-N460OC-768I, so let’s check out its packaging and accessories first.