As we wrote above, the GeForce GTX 465 was based on the GF100 processor originally designed for more advanced solutions. As a result, that graphics card had a lot of inherent drawbacks including a high power draw. Nvidia was absolutely aware of the sheer squandering of GF100 chips applied in such a wasteful way, and the GF104 is going to put an end to this. The new chip has nothing redundant in it and the company has announced two GeForce GTX 460 versions that differ in their technical specs.
The biggest difference can be seen in the configuration of the memory controller and related RBE subsystem. Thus, the junior model, called GeForce GTX 460 768MB, is inferior to the senior one not only in terms of peak memory bandwidth but also in terms of fill rate because it has only 24 active RBEs out of the GF104’s total 32 RBEs. This positions the junior GeForce GTX 460 above the Radeon HD 5770 but below the Radeon HD 5830, which agrees with its recommended price: $199 as compared to $159 and $239, respectively. The GF104 has inherited the main shortcoming of its cousin, though. We mean the rather low speed of processing textures. Yes, it is higher than that of the entry-level Radeon HD 5770 but the junior RV870-based product from AMD is already ahead of both GeForce GTX 460 models in this respect. Alas, Nvidia could not improve the clock rates much even in the GF104. The GPU frequency of 675 MHz is not impressive at all compared to that of the ATI Radeon HD series. It must also be noted that the multi-GPU capabilities are greatly limited in the GeForce GTX 460. The new cards have only one MIO connector and thus do not support 3- and 4-way configurations although even the Radeon HD 5770, let alone the RV870-based solutions, can work in CrossFire configurations built out of four graphics cards.
The senior model of the series, GeForce GTX 460 1GB, looks good compared to the Radeon HD 5830 1 GB. Yes, it is somewhat inferior in terms of texture-mapping speed and peak memory bandwidth, but its RBE subsystem is as good as that of the Radeon HD 5850 which is $70 more expensive. Oddly enough, Nvidia did not raise the memory frequency even to 4000 MHz. The 256-bit bus and the clock rate of 3600 MHz don’t look serious compared to the parameters of the Radeon HD s5830. However, this GeForce GTX 460 version is arguably the best offer among affordable gaming graphics cards. Of course, we have to benchmark it in our tests first, but the Radeon HD 5850 seems to have got a dangerous opponent and AMD may have to drop its prices to get more competitive. As for the GeForce GTX 465, it doesn’t make any sense, now that the GeForce GTX 460 series has arrived, as it costs more to manufacture and has a higher retail price while its performance is going to be lower than that of the GeForce GTX 460 1GB. That’s why we called it a temporary solution that served only to fill in a gap in Nvidia’s product line-up for a while, in order to stop ATI’s invasion at any rate. However, you should remember that GeForce GTX 460 1 GB is a pretty unique solution that has no direct competitors: a week before the new products were scheduled to come out ATI lowered the MSRP of its Radeon HD 5830 1 GB to $199. As a result, the HD 5830 model is now competing against a simpler solution – Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 768 MB.
The first GeForce GTX 460 1 GB to come to our test labs is Gainward’s GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH which differs greatly from Nvidia’s reference sample. Let’s check out its packaging and accessories first.