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Conclusion

What can we say about the new graphics processor from Nvidia after checking it out in our tests? First off, we can repeat our thought that this GPU is what the GF100 should have been. A relatively inexpensive but comparable to the ATI RV870 Cypress in both functionality and performance. The GF104 is indeed Nvidia’s triumph and revenge. The company has finally got a GPU that can compete with AMD’s solutions in the sector of mainstream graphics cards priced at about $200. The GF104 is just as functional as the RV870 except for the latter’s rarely used ability to support more than two monitors simultaneously (but you can connect more than two monitors if you run two GF104-based cards in SLI mode). The senior GeForce GTX 460 series model also makes the GeForce GTX 465 outdated, delivering a higher performance at a lower price.

Now let’s see what we have in our tests.

The new card enjoys an average 6% advantage over the GeForce GTX 465 at 1600x900, the maximum gap being as large as 25%. It is only in three tests that the new GeForce GTX 460 1 GB card is inferior, namely Mass Effect 2, Unigine Heaven and BattleForge. And it is only in the last of these tests that the gap is over 5%. As for Radeon HD 5830, it barely has any chances to compete successfully against a slightly more expensive GeForce GTX 460 1 GB considering its significant defeat in a number of gaming benchmarks. In one of our upcoming reviews we are going to see how AMD/ATI solutions manage to compete against GeForce GTX 460 768 MB priced at the same level.  At this point, we can only state that GeForce GTX 460 1 GB is an indisputable winner.

As for the competition against the Radeon HD 5850, the new card loses eight out of the 18 tests but wins another eight while being much cheaper. Moreover, the factory overclocking adds an average 15% to its performance! AMD has got something to worry about as the GF104 may change the market situation in the sector of mainstream DirectX 11 solutions. We want to note the results in Aliens vs. Predator and Crysis Warhead where the factory overclocking helped the Gainward GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH achieve a playable frame rate.

The GeForce GTX 460 1GB is very confident at 1920x1200, too. Of course, it is slower than the GeForce GTX 465 in some tests, but the gap is only large (15%) in one game, BattleForge. The new card is an overall winner, enjoying an average advantage of 8% and a maximum advantage of 43%. The GeForce GTX 460 1GB also routs the Radeon HD 5830, winning in every test except for Final Fantasy XIV Official Benchmark and enjoying an average advantage of 34%. If compared to the Radeon HD 5850, the GeForce GTX 460 has 6 wins, 11 losses and 1 draw, which is good considering the difference in pricing. Overclocking improves the performance of the GeForce GTX 460 1GB by an average 15%, the maximum performance boost being 20%. The factory overclocking helps the card deliver a playable frame rate in Just Cause 2.

The resolution of 2560x1600 is not really meant for graphics cards priced at $200, yet the GeForce GTX 460 1GB has good results, outperforming the GeForce GTX 465 as well as the Radeon HD 5830 although the average advantage over these cards lowers to 4 and 19%, respectively. It is harder to compete with the Radeon HD 5850 at that resolution. The latter has better texture-mapping resources, so the new card is an average 9% slower. That’s not a big gap, though, considering the difference in price. Overclocking is as rewarding as at the lower resolutions, improving the new card’s performance by 9 to 33%. After all, this resolution is meant for more advanced products such as Radeon HD 5870 or GeForce GTX 480 even though the new GeForce GTX 460 1GB can make some games playable, especially when pre-overclocked. Mass Effect 2 is a good example.

Besides excellent gaming performance, Nvidia GeForce GTX proved to be a great choice for HTPCs. The new card can decode all major contemporary video codecs on the hardware level and has a dual 1080p MPEG4-AVC and Blu-ray 3D decoder. Moreover, GF104 based solution proved the most efficient during HD video decoding out of all today’s testing participants, which means that it will be able to play very smoothly even the most complex scenes on not very powerful computer systems. Just like its predecessors and competitors, GeForce GTX 460 1 GB didn’t reach the maximum score in HQV 2.0 benchmarking suites, but it demonstrated the best DVD playback quality and very decent (although lower than by ATI Radeon HD) high-definition content playback quality.

So, without any doubt, the new graphics processor from Nvidia and at least one of graphics cards based on it are a success. The only downside we can see about it is its rather low texture-mapping performance, but this is also a downside of the GF100 chip. Moreover, the 56 TMUs of the GeForce GTX 460 1GB do not look such a nasty bottleneck as in the GeForce GTX 470. The senior model of the new series is so good that it can be viewed as an opponent to the Radeon HD 5850 rather than to the Radeon HD 5830. The latter may attract a potential customer due to its lower price, which is currently at $199, but we don’t know yet how good it is going to look compared against GeForce GTX 460 768 MB, which is selling for the same price.

With the arrival of the new card the GeForce GTX 465 becomes outdated, being slower and costing more. Anyway, we have no doubts about a bright market future of the GeForce GTX 460 1GB because it lacks serious shortcomings and is competitive against AMD solutions.

Gainward GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH Summary

As for the specific graphics card, the Gainward GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH is an impressive product. It is compact, quiet and fast due to its pre-overclocked frequencies. In fact, its performance is an average 15% higher than that of the reference card from Nvidia. As we said above, the higher frequencies (800/1600 MHz for the GPU and 1000 (4000) MHz for the graphics memory) help increase the frame rate to a comfortable level in some games. We can’t find any fault with this product except for its scanty accessories. The Gainward GeForce GTX 460 1GB GS GLH is also going to cost more than $229 (as recommended by Nvidia for such cards), but this money will buy you a fast and quiet GF104-based device which can often compete with the more expensive Radeon HD 5850. So, we recommend the Gainward GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH to every gamer. It won’t disappoint you.

Highs:

  • High performance for its price range;
  • High minimal performance;
  • High performance with enabled tessellation;
  • Significantly faster than Radeon HD 5830;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Improved CSAA/TMAA quality;
  • Minimal effect of FSAA on performance;
  • DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0 and DirectCompute 11 support;
  • CUDA and PhysX support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support;
  • Acceptable power consumption and heat dissipation;
  • Low noise;
  • Compact size.

 Lows:

  • No serious drawbacks.
 
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