Summary: If you're one of NVIDIA's board partners, how do you improve upon the GeForce GTX 460 GPU? If you're EVGA, you OC the board, add a lifetime warranty with their Trade Up program, and bundle the card with killer utilities for OC'ing and stress testing your graphics card...And don't forget a free game. See how the board fares in today's review!
With the release of the GeForce GTX 460, NVIDIA’s board partners are trying all sorts of things to make their product stand apart from the crowd. Between designs like the dual-fanned ECS Black edition, Galaxy’s removable fan, and MSI’s completely different cyclone cooler, there are a lot of creative ideas for you to check out. However, most of these are not yet available, with most of the dozen GTX 460s listed on Newegg being based on the reference design.
The products that EVGA currently has available are comprised of the latter, baseline models that retail for right around the $200 MSRP. Their GTX 460 768MB is a carbon copy of NVIDIA’s reference board and comes in two flavors, regular and Superclocked. They also have plans for both 768MB and 1GB versions with more efficient EE (external exhaust) coolers using turbine fans.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB SC comes from the factory at higher clock speeds than normal. At 763MHz core, 950MHz memory (3800MHz effective), and 1526MHz shader clocks by default, it’s 13-19% faster than a run-of-the-mill GTX 460 768MB. That’s great news for those who aren’t comfortable enough to do any overclocking themselves.
This pre-overclocking service does come at a premium, however, so the SC version will run you an extra $10. There is also a $220 version, and while the difference is very subtle, it could be considered very important by most people: a lifetime warranty. If you don’t make sure the part number is 768-P3-1362-AR, you will only get a 2-year warranty (TR model), though others may decide that that is enough.
Bundle and accessories
Included with all three EVGA SKUs (as well as some other GTX 460s) is a coupon code for a free copy of Just Cause 2. Beyond that, you’ll find the usual assortment of accessories included with your EVGA graphics card:
Exclusive to owners of EVGA products, Precision is a nifty little piece of software that allows you to easily tweak the speed of graphics clocks and fans, monitor temperatures and GPU usage, or even track FPS and take screenshots when you’re in-game. Save your settings as profiles that you can assign to hotkeys and change between them anytime, or simply have Precision automatically apply your OC whenever Windows starts up.
On one side of the main screen you have sliders and numbers indicating the current clocks of the core, shader, and memory, as well as the fan speed. There is a button that toggles synchronization of the shader and core clock speeds (keeping them at a 2:1 ratio) and another that can be used to synchronize settings among all of the GPUs in the system. Unlike previous versions of the software, you can set each of the cards to run at different speeds. So, if one card in your SLI setup can OC further than another, you can bump up its clocks a little more and get the added performance.
The other side depicts a compact view of the hardware monitoring graphs. Double-clicking it will detach the constantly-updating graphs as an always-on-top, resizable window. If you hover your mouse over any point on the graph, it shows specific numbers for that particular time. You can also configure Precision to display hardware data in the system tray, via an in-game on-screen display, or on your Logitech keyboard’s LCD display.
EVGA OC Scanner
EVGA released a new graphics utility earlier this year, this time exclusive to owners of a GeForce GTX 400 series video card. OC Scanner is a combination stress test, benchmark, and artifact scanner that is meant to be used in conjunction with Precision to push your graphics card to its limit.
Warranty and 24/7 Technical Support
Register your graphics card on EVGA.com within 30 days of purchase to take advantage of the 2-year or lifetime limited warranty available for the GTX 460 768MB SC. If anything goes wrong, you will be able to RMA it back to EVGA for free repair or replacement. If you have any questions concerning your graphics card or any related issue, you can contact EVGA by phone or online at any time of day or night.
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield @ 3.6GHz (Turbo Off)
EVGA X58 3-Way SLI
6 GB OCZ Gold Triple-Channel DDR3-1600 @ 1440 MHz
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB SC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 896MB
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB
ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
1 TB Western Digital Caviar Black
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Unigine Heaven 2.1
*Both the Bokeh Filter and GPU-Simulated Water settings were left off for these tests because Radeon cards do not support them.
A new class of Fermi. This video card brings you all of the performance characteristics of the brand new GF104 GPU.
Higher price for moderate factory overclocking. Paying extra for something you can easily do yourself won’t sit well with a lot of people. And it’s not like these are hand-picked to be better overclockers, either, so there is comparably less to gain from your own tweaking.
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Though there is nothing different about the EVGA GTX 460 768MB SC beyond some moderately increased clock speeds, that’s not a bad thing in any way. On top of that, it does have the advantage of immediate availability; In fact, it’s been for sale online since late last Saturday evening. Meanwhile, most of the fancier, custom GTX 460 SKUs have yet to reach the marketplace, including EVGA’s own 1GB and 768MB EE versions.
With the increased clocks out of the box (763MHz core, 1526MHz shader, 950MHz memory), the EVGA GTX 460 768MB SC performs about the same as or better than the stock GTX 460 1GB in most tests. Overclock it the rest of the way and you’ve absolutely saved yourself a bit of cash. Some of the higher resolution tests saw a drop in standing due to the 768MB of VRAM, but it’s still more than playable, even if you have to disable anti-aliasing.
Any of you reading this probably would not be willing to pay $10 to have EVGA overclock a graphics card for you, but some of you might consider the extra $20 for a lifetime warranty. Remember that, even if you go with the basic GTX 460 768MB for $200, their excellent customer service and free overclocking utilities will be available to you. That makes EVGA a great choice for anyone looking to buy GF104 without any additional bells or whistles.
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