GeForce GTX 460 reference design
The GTX 460’s appearance is much more modest than that of the GTX 480. A clean, shiny black finish adorns the dual-slot cooling apparatus that covers the length of the card, subtly accented with signature green. Definitely leaves plenty of space for third-party board makers to paint their logo and/or mascots without the heatsink showing…
Probably the biggest difference, though, is the board length – the GTX 460 is only 8.25 inches long! Compare that to the GTX 480 and Radeon 5830, which are both around 10.5”, pushing the dimensional limits of most mid-tower cases.
As a result of this more compact board size, the two 6-pin power connectors were able to be placed at the rear end of the GTX 460. On longer graphics cards, the connectors must be placed on the side, or else it would be difficult to hook them up inside all but the largest of chassis.
There are three outputs on the GTX 460: two DVI and one mini-HDMI. The latter accommodates compatibility with Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. There is only one SLI connector, which means you can’t do 3-way SLI with these. That may not be a bad thing, considering a pair of GTX 470s may serve you better if your graphics budget is upwards of $600+. Keep in mind that you can’t mix the 768MB and 1GB version of the GTX 460 for SLI; it has to be a pair of one or the other.
At first glance, the GTX 460 reference cooler doesn’t appear to be particularly efficient. The entire second slot is a vent for improved air flow, but since the enclosure is incomplete, there are gaps along all sides of the circuit board where warm air will be able to leak out into the case. A plain 75mm blade fan situated in the middle of the card blows straight down on the GPU, which itself is covered by a copper core with dual-heatpipes leading up into a large aluminum heatsink.
However, it does succeed in keeping the board sufficiently cool while remaining practically inaudible at all times. Even under load, neither the 768MB nor 1GB version of the GTX 460 reached higher than 70 degrees C. On top of that, they don’t make enough noise to be heard over a few quiet case fans. Clearly this video card’s energy efficiency and deceptively effective cooling solution are a winning combination.
|Sample GTX 460 Temperatures|
|Idle Temp.||Load Temp.|
|768MB (Stock)||34° C||65° C|
|768MB (860/1115)||35° C||68° C|
|1GB (Stock)||32° C||68° C|
|1GB (840/1090)||34° C||70° C|
The 768MB version of the GTX 460 will retail for $199, while the 1GB version will cost a bit more, carrying an MSRP of $229. NVIDIA is making a point to have these available immediately at launch (July 12th), so you should be able to find at least the 768MB model in stores now. The 1GB variant will follow as closely behind as possible, definitely within the next two weeks. Actually, if you check Newegg right now, you ought to see several SKUs already available.
Following the supply issues that plagued high-end graphics cards around the end of last year, you can bet NVIDIA will be doing whatever they can to ensure they meet the demand for their new mainstream offering. The GTX 460 represents the next step in rounding out the 400 series product line, which intends to slowly but surely usurp the performance crown at every price point.
|GeForce GTX 400 Series|
|Pricing as of GTX 460 launch|
|GTX 460 768MB||GTX 460 1GB||GTX 465||GTX 470||GTX 480|
|Price in USD||$199||$229||$249||$329||$499|