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Conclusion

The Palit GeForce GTX 460 Sonic Platinum graphics card we have discussed in this review is the same as the Gainward GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH except for the shape of the cooler’s casing, the color of the fan, and the missing heatsink on the power transistors. So, our impressions about it are just as positive as about the Gainward card we tested earlier. The card is compact and rather quiet. The factory overclocking to GPU frequencies of 800/1600 MHz and to a memory frequency of 1000 (4000) MHz makes it competitive in some applications to the more expensive Radeon HD 5850. So, we can recommend the Palit GeForce GTX 460 Sonic Platinum to any gamer who wants an affordable yet fast graphics card supporting all modern technologies including DirectX 11, PhysX and CUDA.

We also achieved quite impressive results by overclocking the GPU at an increased core voltage, even though the card’s power consumption grew up considerably. Let’s take a look at the results.

Overclocking a GeForce GTX 460 1GB from its reference frequencies to 900/1800 MHz for the GPU and 1000 (4000) MHz for the memory ensures a performance growth of 14-36%, depending on the particular game, at 1600x900. The average performance growth is about 28%. This is enough to compete with the GeForce GTX 470 as well as with the Radeon HD 5870 which are both much more expensive. The overclocked Palit is an average 8% ahead of the GeForce GTX 470 and 13% ahead of the Radeon HD 5870, losing to them in two and six tests, respectively (and never losing by more than 10%).

The average performance growth at overclocking is 30% now, the maximum being as high as 43%. The gap between the overclocked Palit and the Radeon HD 5870 shrinks to 7.5%, though. The Palit card wins most of our tests, demonstrating the huge potential of the GF104 core. Of course, not all samples of GeForce GTX 460 1GB are going to overclock that well, yet this card is indeed a very good choice for every gamer who is into overclocking. You can get the performance of a GeForce GTX 470 or even higher at a much lower cost!

The overclocked Palit has almost no advantage over the Radeon HD 5870 at 2560x1600. This might be expected as the Fermi architecture always feels a lack of texture-mapping resources at such high resolutions. The AMD card wins 11 out of the total of 19 tests. On the other hand, the Palit enjoys a higher advantage over the GeForce GTX 470 (9%) as well as over the reference GeForce GTX 460 1GB (33%). But we must confess that the only game where our extreme overclocking was indeed useful was Mass Effect 2. We also enjoyed a larger reserve of bottom speed in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

In all the other games there was no practical need for overclocking the GPU at an increased voltage: the card was already fast enough or could not accelerate to a playable frame rate even when overclocked. So, extreme overclocking is still more like an exciting sport rather than a practically valuable means of making your gaming experience more comfortable. Anyway, the Palit GeForce GTX 460 Sonic Platinum (and its counterpart - Gainward GeForce GTX 460 GS GLH) is one of the best choices if you want to buy a GeForce GTX 460 1GB.

Highs:

  • High performance for its price range;
  • When overclocked using voltmodding can outperform Radeon HD 5870;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Improved CSAA/TMAA quality;
  • Minimal effect of FSAA on performance;
  • CUDA and PhysX support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support;
  • Acceptable power consumption and heat dissipation;
  • Low noise;
  • Compact size.

 Lows:

  • Doesn’t support more than two monitors;
  • TMU is lacking in some cases;
  • Worse HD video playback quality compared with the competitors.
 
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