The release of NVIDIA’s graphics cards based on the Fermi architecture was a long time coming. Suffering delay after delay, they missed the dawn of the DirectX 11 era by more than 6 months. Following the September launch of the Radeon HD 5800 series, AMD/ATI celebrated with champagne and caviar as their products were harder to find than a Wii in December of ’06. Meanwhile, the Big Green was forced to sit idly by and subsist on little more than a dwindling supply of outdated GeForce GTX 200 GPUs.
With the release of the GTX 480 in April, however, NVIDIA took back the performance crown, if only a little less fantastically than many were hoping they would. Though gains over ATI’s flagship GPU ranged anywhere from 5% to 20%, the cost was equal or greater increases in both power consumption and heat production. Nevertheless, GeForce was back on top, and that was enough for some people.
But not NVIDIA.
They didn’t want to merely reclaim their position as the top of the enthusiast heap and rest easy knowing that people with more money than they know what to do with had something new to brag about. Nay! They wanted to engineer a DX11 product specifically for the mainstream gamer – something that offered much of that world-class Fermi performance found in their flagship GeForce GTX 480 without putting a hole in your budget two miles wide. That product, my friends, is the GeForce GTX 460.
Custom-designed from the ground up to bullseye that perfect combination of value and performance, a GTX 460 has more than half the horsepower of a GTX 480 at less than half the price. NVIDIA compares it to a “Hunter” class unit – though lighter and less powerful than the “Tank” (GTX 480), it’s less costly, more agile, and potentially just as deadly. That’s bad news for its rival, the Radeon HD 5830…