View Full Version : Official: nV News Reviews the EVGA Geforce GTX 460 Superclocked
Review by NV News Technical Writer
Monday, July 12, 2010
Are you noticing that your current video card isnít totally cutting it for gaming any more like it once did? Are you being required to drop detail levels down to medium or low to achieve playable framerates? Are you on your third ďoven tricked" Geforce 8800 GT, with a fourth on the horizon? ... Or do you have an interest in the newest tech, but canít quite afford costly GPUs such as the GTX 480 and HD 5870? Would something in the $199-$229 price point get your attention, and if so, what would a video card have to show you at this point in PC gamingís evolution to make a compelling case?
(Obviously, since this is a hardware review, on a PC gaming hardware-based website, itís probably already apparent to you that I, the reviewer (and terrible humorist/hopeless wordsmith) am going to evaluate that value proposition to you through a review of a new piece of hardware, namely NVIDIAís newest tech, the Geforce GTX 460. Once again, EVGA and NVIDIA have called on me of all people to deliver my impressions of a new video card and accompanying technologies so that the PC gaming community can make informed purchase decisions.
The internet has known that the GTX 460 was coming soon for a while now. Rumors floated around, postulating on whether it would utilize the GF100 GPU albeit in neutered fashion, or something slightly different and new called GF104. SM/CUDA core numbers floated around, as did memory bandwidth amounts. All of the discussions did center around a few key wants and desires of the gaming community, so I traveled far and wide, across many a hardware site, and took an informal survey asking these PC hardware enthusiasts and gamers what they wanted to see in this new technology (not in graphics cards in general, but specifically the GTX 460).
The results were clear-cut and consistent, which gave me a real glimpse into what people are hoping for with GF104. Out of the 60+ responses I got, a full third of those that responded listed price to performance ratio as their number one purchase influence. The next most important things to the respondents was heat, followed by power consumption and featureset (tessellation, audio pass-through, PhysX, 3D Vision etc.). Oddly enough, noise level was next on the list, tied with the hopes that GF104 would help foster competition in the market, helping bring prices down for other GPUs. Overclocking capabilities got a few votes as well. SLI scaling performance, PhysX performance, build quality and Folding performance got the least number of votes. What this told me is that PC gamers who purchaser video cards at the $199-$250 price point seem to be begging for a GPU of the new generation that delivers a better price to performance ratio that whatís currently available. This review will investigate as to whether or not EVGAís Geforce GTX 460 Superclocked can deliver the goods.
Chip on its Shoulder - the Geforce GTX 460
With the release of the Fermi architecture earlier this year, NVIDIA brought some amazing new features to high end gamers. Although it arrived late to the party (by some six months) and did not deliver the projected specifications (TSMCís 40nm yield problems contributed to NVIDIA not being able to deliver a 512 SP part), the 480 CUDA Core-equipped and very high-bandwidth GTX 480 has proven to be more than a worthwhile competitor to ATIís high-end Radeon 5000 series cards.
However, while ATI has since completed their top-down product release, giving gamers DirectX 11 video card options at all price points, NVIDIA has continued to soldier on with older technology, namely the Geforce 9 series, 200 series, and 300 series (for OEMs). While the NVIDIA lineup as a whole is definitely competent at each respective duty per price point, it is leaving gamers wishing for more, hoping for more inexpensive Fermi-based gaming options.
After the release of the GTX 470 and 480, NVIDIA did address this with the GTX 465, which provided all of the features of the higher-end GF100 cards, albeit with a lower price (and lower performance). This card was placed at the bottom of NVIDIAs enthusiast category with an introductory price of $279, placing it just slightly out of reach for performance-segment gamers who generally spend $199-$229 for a gaming video card.
NVIDIA is now ready to address the performance segment with the GTX 460, being released in two variations at a $199-$229 price point. Although its name may suggest that it is architecturally almost identical to the same as the 352 CUDA core-equipped GTX 465, this is not the case. The GTX 460 is based on an updated architecture NVIDIA calls GF104.
As you can see, the GTX 460 isnít just a GTX 480 cut in half. NVIDIA very carefully tweaked the Fermi architecture in an effort to make the GPUís performance more efficient, so that a loss of CUDA cores would not simply result in a lower performing ship with similar TDP characteristics and a linear loss of performance. Even the SM units are a bit different.
The bottom line is that an optimized and lower-heat/lower noise tweak to Fermiís marchitecture is now available with the two GTX 460, which also had design goals to be a very solid performer in DirectX titles that utilize tessellation. By now most graphics card enthusiasts know that tessellation is not easy for a GPU to do; it comes at quite the cost. Given that many performance-class gamers play a mix of older and newer titles, NVIDIA could have allowed the tessellation capabilities of Fermi to decrease dramatically in order to focus on DX9/DX10 performance, but it appears that they have done everything they could to preserve, and possibly enhance GF104ís clock-for-clock tessellation capabilities. Also, by increasing the Special Function Unit count per SM from 4 on GF100 to 8 on GF104, rendering procedural shaders such as moss, slime, blood, frost and wear & tear should be made easier. So despite the fact that the new GTX 460 runs on cut-down memory bus and features (in one variant) less video RAM, at least on paper it looks like it could be quite a solid performer for the money, which as I spoke of earlier, is quite important to the $200 segment of potential buyers. I could go on, and wax technical about GF104 for a few more paragraphs, but honestly I don't have the best handle on that kind of stuff, and I think that this review is best left to focusing more on the tangibles brought forth by the release of this GPU, in the style that I normally use in my reviews and forum posts (not the spam, the actual worthwhile posts... look hard enough and you'll find them).
NVIDIA's Take on GF104
Here are some examples of slides from NVIDIA's recent presentation to review partners regarding the GTX 460. As you can see, they're excited in many ways about various features of this new member of the Fermi generation (Images courtesy of NVIDIA):
NVIDIA stresses that they built the GTX 460 from the ground up to be a great performer in DirectX11 games. This is a bit different than how it's usually done, as in most cases the first performance cards of a new generation often have new functionality, but cannot fully utilize it because they are not fast enough.
I don't think they'd say this if they didn't mean it. I will investigate this heady claim later in the review.
This should be a given, right? Usually the top-end of the performance segment of a new-generation GPU offers performance similar to that of the enthusiast segment from the previous generation. Again, we will look into this later in the review.
Surely this isn't an across-the-board claim, but even if one game performs this much better on a new-generation GPU, it's usually an indicator that other games may benefit as well. The spread between 9800 GT and GTX 460 is quite enticing.
While on a conference call with Bryan Del Rizzo, head of NVIDIA's PR department, the conversation focused on what NVIDIA saw as stagnation in GPU development since the Geforce 5800 series. Apparently geometry performance has only increased threefold from FX 5800U to GTX 260, while other aspects have exponentially increased. Apparently geometry performance is now a top priority at NVIDIA, and is evidenced by the data in this graph.
With the HD 5830 as a control and Unigine Heaven 2.1 as a test environment, it's apparent that NVIDIA is serious about DX11 performance. But, can we expect a similar spread on performance-segment PCs and not just top-end Core i7 setups?
As I do not have a 3D monitor, I can not evaluate this claim. Just the possibility of a $200 video card rendering Far Cry 2 in 3D at ANY resolution would be nice, but 1920x1080, 4xAA, 16xAF? Wow. I'm still waiting for NVIDIA to send me some glasses and a 3D TV to test them out with. Something tells me that's not going to happen. Hey, a guy can wish!
NVIDIA is still very proud of the PhysX capabilities of its GPUs, and apparently the GTX 460 is no different. Bryan Del Rizzo expressed a lot of excitement about the PhysX effects in upcoming games, especially the soon-to-be-released Mafia II.
This graph along with some early review data indicates that the GTX 460 can often perform the same as a GTX 275 + an 8800GT for PhysX, making single-card PhysX much more of a reality than a pipe dream.
Review partners were heavily encouraged to ENJOY overclocking the GTX 460. NVIDIA is seriously proud of the overclocking capabilities of this new GPU, and this review will explore what GF104's performance ceiling is.
As an owner of an HD 5830 and a GTX 465, I can personally attest to the fact that while the 465 is LOUD (yes, the emphasis is intended), the HD 5830 is a really quiet video card. It would be wonderful if the GTX 460 proves to indeed be quieter still.
This price range is the "sweet spot". NVIDIA says it is, and so do gamers and hardware enthusiasts. If this really delivers, then once again it'll be a great time to be a "performance" gamer.
About EVGA and their GTX 460 Superclocked
As the best-selling GPU vendor in the US, EVGA has a reputation for delivering what gamers truly want. From innovative cooling solutions to overclocking software to great warranty coverage, EVGA is often the top choice when shopping for a graphics card. At first glimpse, the new GTX 460 Superclocked that they are selling (the review unit is model 768-P3-1362-AR) for $219.99 is no different from any of their other recent choices.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the physical package, let's talk about service. I think that EVGA stands above other graphics card vendors for several reasons. Number one is the three-year warranty which they really honor. Second is the step-up program, which allows the user to upgrade by sending the old card back to EVGA and get back something newer and better at a lower premium than an outright upgrade purchase. EVGA also actively develops software for their video cards to assist in tweaking/overclocking and temperature awareness.
New feathers in EVGA's cap incluse the following two "items":
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Between forums, Twitter, Flikr, Facebook, YouTube, Steam and podcasts, there's sure to be a way for you to interact with the EVGA community that best appeals to you. This extremely robust online presence makes an EVGA GPU owner a member of a large, diverse and easy-to-access online community.
Other GPU vendors are still playing catch-up to EVGA, and with these two recent additions they have further distanced themselves. I dare not think what EVGA would be nowadays if they hadn't decided to create a custom cooling solution for a Geforce 4 MX all those years ago.
Package and Card
It's a video card with accessories in a box. I'm not going to bore you with too many unboxing details. What I can say is that the packaging was solid and I appreciate that the packaging carrying the card is a more hand/finger/environment friendly cardboard. Inside is the usual suspects (manual, driver disc, adapters etc.) but a nice added bonus is a case badge and Geforce GTX 4-series bumper sticker. Sure it's not the ever-tasteful Calvin relieving himself on an ATI logo bumper sticker (note: sarcasm), but it is pretty cool looking.
EVGA GTX 460 Graphics Card
EVGA Driver/Software Disc with EVGA Precision Tuning Utility
Mini-HDMI to HDMI Adapter
DVI to VGA Adapter
(2) 6-pin PCI-E Power Adapters
Box and package shots:
Also included with the purchase of an EVGA Geforce GTX 4-series card are the overclocking utilities EVGA Precision and EVGA OC Scanner.
At 8.25" EVGA's GTX 460 appears to be quite compact. It is also a good deal lighter than the GTX 465 and HD 5830. It's likely to fit into some cases that the larger video cards can't.
Upon removal from the anti-static bag, the cooler is coated withe a couple layers of protective tape. That's right, I said a "couple". Initially I thought there was only one layer, but there was a red "remove protective film before use" sticker that I thought was accidentally attached to the sticker on the cooler itself. It took and email to EVGA and a facepalm to realize that there was a SECOND layer. That's right, dumb reviewers do in fact exist, folks.
The cooler is a no-nonsense design, featuring heatpipes, an aluminum fan-shaped finned heatsink, a very low-noise fan, and a shroud for helping guide the exhaust outside the case.
EDIT: This cooler is more complex, and possibly better than I originally thought. Below is a photo of the GTX 460 without its shroud:
I knew that there were aluminum fans and heatpipes, but I didn't realize that there were also stamped aluminum fins on the heatpipes as well. They do not come in direct contact with the GPU as is the trend with heat sinks these days; they sit on a thin copper plate. Overall it's a good looking solution, and almost makes me want to run it without the shroud, although I'm sure it aids in warm air dispersion.
It does not look like the GTX 460 will be able to accept any existing third-party cooling solutions, so if you've bought a GTX 460 and you want something better than what EVGA provides, chances are you'll have to wait a little while. However if you read on to the temperatures section you may see that at stock voltage, the stock cooler does a more than adequate job.
One thing I would have liked to see (which is present on the EVA GTX 465) is the PCI-E power connectors mounted on the top of the card instead of the end. Having the on the top made for much easier connection. However, the short length and subsequent easier connecting almost makes up for "this little oversight".
Below is a size comparison vs the two compare cards, an EVGA Geforce GTX 465 and a Sapphire Radeon HD 5830. As you can see, the GTX 460 is positively tiny in comparison.
Up Next - Test System
AMD Phenom X3 720 Black Edition at 3.6ghz (200x18, 1.5v)
Cooled by Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 64
Asus M3A Motherboard (Socket AM2+) with 1105 BIOS
EVGA Geforce GTX 260 SC 1 GB
EVGA Geforce GTX 265 SC 1 GB
Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 1 GB
4 GB (2 GB x2) G-Skill DDR2-800 RAM at stock timings
Western Digital Caviar Blue 250 GB hard drive
Memorex 16x DL DVD-RW drive
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
Antec Earthwatts 650 W Power Supply
Sunbeam Tuniq 3 case
Samsung B2430H 24" 1080p LCD Monitor
Windows Vista X64
NVIDIA Forceware Driver version 258.80 BETA
ATI Catalyst Driver version 10.6
Unlike most recent reviews, I am NOT equipped with a crazily-overclocked Core 2 Quad or i7 system. I represent the performance and entry-level enthusiast segment with my system. It may be nice to know what a GPU can do wiht zero CPU limitation, but that does NOT translate properly into real usable performance information for people with Athlon II x3/x4's, the Phenom and Phenom II x3, x4 and x6 users, and those with Core 2 Duo or non-overclocked Core 2 Quad and i3/i5 systems. These systems are not bleeding edge (except for the x6, although its gaming performance isn't bleeding edge), but thy have the capability to allow great performance from the video cards installed in them. I'd have to say that the minimum system you'd want to put the EVGA GTX 460 in would be an older Phenom x3 8600 (2.3ghz). With anything slower, a better price to performance ratio can be met with a less expensive card due to the CPU limitation.
The EVGA Geforce GTX 460 Superclocked comes from the factory pre-overclocked:
Stock Processor speed: 675mhz/1350mhz
EVGA Superclocked Processor speed: 763mhz/1526mhz
Stock Memory speed: 1800mhz/3600mhz
EVGA Superclocked Memory speed: 1900mhz/3800mhz
This is an increase of 13% on the core, and 5% on the memory. Definitely a nice stock overclock which should help the EVGA GTX 460 in its battle against the GTX 465 and HD 5830.
Unigine Heaven 2.0 (DX11)
Stone Giant (DX11 + Tessellation)
3DMark Vantage (DX9/DX10)
DirectX 11 SDK Test "Detail Tessellation" (DX11 + Tesellation)
DirectX 11 SDK Test "SubD11" (DX11 +Tessellation)
NVIDIA Demo "Human Hair" (DX11 + Tessellation)
Metro 2033 (DX11)
DIRT 2 (DX11)
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (DX11)
Dark Void (DX10)
Far Cry 2 (DX10)
Resident Evil 5
Lost Planet Extreme Condition
NOTE: Any time AA is mentioned in this review, ordinary Multi-Sample AA was used. It incurs a lighter performance penalty than more complex AA modes but still really helps image quality out. This was a good choice for slightly less-than-high-end video cards to help them retain frames per second. Also, NVIDIA's texture Filtering option was left at Quality, while the Radeon utilized High Quality, with Catalyst AI off.
Next - Benchmark Results
DX11, shaders at high
Tessellation at Moderate
Tessellation at Normal
This is an unexpected result. It would have seemed at first glance that the GTX 465's 256-bit memory bus would have out-tessellated the GTX 460, but the little 768mb card actually beat its larger sibling in the moderate test, and stayed within 1 fps in the normal test. The HD 5830 tried to keep pace but ran out of gas once a little more tessellation was used.
Tessellation at Medium
Tessellation at High
Once again, the EVGA GTX 460 SC keeps pace with the 465, while outclassing the Radeon. The reconfiguration of the core and optimization of the SM units must be playing a role here.
Performance Preset (1280x1024)
1920x1080, 4xAA/16xAF, Extreme textures, shadow shaders, shadows and shader quality, post processing scale at 1:5
Traditionally the Radeons have done better in this benchmark. It is interesting to see the 460 eclipsing the 465, again, especially in the GPU score for the 1920x1080 benchmark, as it also beats the HD 5830.
I don't understand why Radeons do so well in Feature Test 6. If someone can enlighten me, please do.
3DMark with PhysX Enabled Performance
It appears that although the GTX 460 is strong at PhysX, the 465 is a little bit stronger for the most part.
D3D11 SDK Detail Tessellation Demo
Tessellation Factor (edges): 11.00
Tessellation Factor (inside): 11.0
Link Tess. factors selected
Rotating camera selected
In this test, things line up a little closer to how the specs line up, with the GTX 460 lining up firmly in between the GTX 465 and HD 5830.
D311 SDK SubD11 Demo
Patch Division: 10
This demo makes heavy use of tessellation as well. The bump height adjustment adjusts the amount of displacement mapping (no real effect on performance), and the patch divisions setting adjusts tessellation. Worth noting is that on both the GTX 460 and 465, adjusting tessellation all the way up to setting 31.0 only brings performance down into the thirties, whereas the Radeon is already in the thirties at 0.15.
NVIDIA Human Hair Demo
Curly Hair, shadows, HW tessellation, Dynamic LOD selected
LOD rate at default
Add wind force, wind strength at max, wind randomness at max
Smoothing interval at default
Compute shader and simulationLOD selected
Show floor, show face, show floor shadows selected
... Another tessellation-heavy demo that is just too much for the Radeon. The GTX 460 and 465 run this test almost identically.
Gameplay Benchmarks -
SP Mission: "Bridge"
"High" Preset, 1280x720, 4xAA/16xAF, DX11 on, Advanced DOF off
"High" Preset, 1920x1080, 4xAA/16xAF, DX11 on, Advanced DOF off
This game shows tessellation in action, amongst a host of other system-taxing effects. What's VERY surprising is that the EVGA GTX 460 SC manages to perform on-par with the GTX 465 in this game, sometimes beating it. It's reasonable to infer that at these settings the game would be very fluid at 1920x1080with no AA and a little bit of AF. Predictably the Radeon falls short in this game.
"Ultra" Preset, 1280x720, 4xAA/16xAF
Custom track run without AI opponents
This game uses a little bit of tessellation as well, not enough to over-tax the Radeon. All three cards remain competitive in all tests, but surprisingly the GTX 460 pulls a solid win in both resolutions.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Single player mission 1
All settings at highest, DX11, HBAO on
The only DirectX 11 feature used in this game is soft shadow, which aren't very system-intensive. Since the release of this game, however, Radeon cards have always run this game quite a bit better. NVIDIA has told me that they are currently working on performance improvements for this game.
Jetpack jungle runthrough
All settings at highest, Physx OFF
I have tested and retested this with all cards, getting the same result every time. This could just be a matter of where I'm at in the game; it might be a spot where the Radeon has an edge somehow. I may just drop this benchmark, or find another gameplay example that doesn't show such disparate performance.
Far Cry 2
Demo(Ranch Medium), 1280x720 (60Hz), D3D10, Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(Yes), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(4x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Custom), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Ultra High), Terrain(Ultra High), Geometry(Ultra High), Post FX(High), Texture(Ultra High), Shadow(Ultra High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)
Demo(Ranch Medium), 1920x1080 (60Hz), D3D10, Fixed Time Step(No), Disable Artificial Intelligence(Yes), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(4x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Custom), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Ultra High), Terrain(Ultra High), Geometry(Ultra High), Post FX(High), Texture(Ultra High), Shadow(Ultra High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High)
All of the cards remain competitive through all the tests for this game, with (surprise!) the GTX 460 coming out on top.
Resident Evil 5
RE5 Variable Benchmark, all settings at highest
64-bit HDR (ARGB16F) tweak
This MT Framework-engined game looks great, runs wonderfully on the NVIDIA hardware, and runs adequately on the ATI card. Once again the GTX 460 is right at the heels of the GTX 465.
DX10, all settings at highest
Using the same engine as Resident Evil 5, I thought this game would show a similar result with ATI bringing up the rear. That didn't happen, and all three cards ran the game exceptionally well in most spots except for some serious choppiness in some of the snow areas at 19x10. This game is still quite taxing even to a newer PC.
I did not expect the EVGA GTX 460 to do so well vs the GTX 465. In almost every game and benchmark it either comes close to matching it, or it wins altogether. Being the least expensive card of the group, the GTX 460 represents the best value. NVIDIA claimed that the GTX 460 was powerful in DirectX 9/10 games, and that it could play the toughest DirectX 11 titles. They made good on their word.
NOTE: I will be looking into the Dark Void issue over the following week, and despite being a total PhysX noob, I'm going to try to look into some of the PhysX aspects of some of the games I have (Dark Void, Mirror's Edge, Metro 2033) and see if I can add anything worthwhile to this review regarding this API.
Temperatures, Overclocking & Conclusion
Compared to the GTX 465, the EVGA GTX 460 runs very cool. Putting m hand near the card in the case during benchmarkng, I felt heat rising from the card but nothing like the radiant blast coming from the GTX 465. It actually felt cooler than the HD 5830 as well, although the temperature charts don't reflect that. All in all, however, with its relatively low TDP, the EVGA GTX 460 is a cool-running card that doesn't appear to draw too much power, making it a possibly good choice for some heavier-duty HTPCs.
As far as sound output (oh by the way, the audio out via HDMI works fine), the EVGA GTX 460 SC might be the quietest fan-equipped gaming video card I've ever used. You pretty much can't hear it. Even with the GPU temperature pegged and the fan hovering around 50%, it is just an almost inaudible video card. Another HTPC quality, check.
.... Wait, didn't NVIDIA say this thing could overclock like the dickens?
Reference Processor speed: 675/1350mhz
EVGA Superclocked speed: 763/1526mhz (+13%)
Overclocked speed: 835/1670mhz (+24%)
Reference Memory speed: 1800/3600mhz
EVGA Superclocked speed: 1900/3800mhz (+5%)
Overclocked speed: 1950/3900mhz (+8%)
They weren't kidding when they said this GPU could overclock, that's for sure. But how did those enhanced clocks affect gameplay?
... Not as big of an improvement as I would have liked, but this is probably due to a light CPU limitation. It's reasonable to assume that this GPU might be able to stretch its legs a little more if it were working together with, say, a Phenom x4 at 3.6ghz or a slightly overclocked Core 2 Quad. What the overclock did do, however was allow the GTX 460 to overtake the GTX 465 on some of the remaining tests that it had been beaten on.
Simply put, this is an amazing card. Even without knowledge of what performance-segment gamers want in a card of this price, it still impresses heavily. But if you factor in how the EVGA GTX 465 SC accurately and thoroughly addresses the wishes and wants of those who responded to my question on various hardware forums, then this star shines even brighter:
Performance vs. other cards near its price point (HD 4890, HD 5830, GTX 260, GTX 275, GTX 465)
The GTX 460 priced starting at $199 offers performance that is on par with the $250 GTX 465 and the $230 Radeon HD 5830. It's simply a GREAT bang-for-the-buck.
This card runs MUCH cooler than it's NVIDIA counterpart, the GTX 465, and boasts similar temperatures to the Radeon HD 5830. It also has a lower TDP than both of them.
With a 150W TDP, and requiring only a 450W Power Supply, the GTX 460 consumes the least amount of power of teh three cards tested in this review.
The GTX 460 CAN play modern DirectX 11 titles heavy on tessellation, it excels at handling Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering, its PhysX capabilities are impressive, and it can handle 3D Vision. What a weapon of a video card!
Quietest. Performance Segment. Video Card. Ever?
Inciting Price Wars
Sure, the GTX 460 is going to cause some other card's prices to come down. But maybe instead of worrying about those other cards you should just pick up one or two of these!
160mhz/24% over reference core overclock. 8% over reference memory overclock. Enough said.
BOTTOM OF THE BOTTOM LINE: The EVGA Geforce GTX 460 is quite possibly the most exciting video card release in years. Whether you pick one up for a midrange build, or two up for a low power-consumption, GTX-480-beating monster rig, the weapons at this video card's disposal make it a must-have for performance-segment gamers as well as enthusiasts. It is currently available from several online retailers such as HERE (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130564&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Video+Cards-_-EVGA-_-14130564).
I would like to thank EVGA for supplying this review sample, and I''d like to thank the various members of the hardware communities who supplied me with a great discussion point for this review.
Go HERE (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=2286742#post2286742).
2010-07-15: Page 5 - Added photo of GPU cooler + comments
2010-08-18: Added Postscript with Lost Planet 2 Benchmark data
2010-08-20: Added DX9 benchmark data to Lost Planet 2 Benchmark section; added commentary
... A Post Script
GTX 460 Performance using the Lost Planet 2 Benchmark
Keeping with the tradition of this review being heavy on MT Framework titles, I have decided to share current performance information for the EVGA GTX 460 SC 768MB and the Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 when running the new Lost Planet 2 Benchmark.
Set on the same fictional planet as the first game, Lost Planet 2 aims to please fans of the original with uniquely smooth gameplay and an imaginatively created environment featuring startlingly huge and odd-looking enemies. I personally remember the first couple times I played the first game, and the sheer scale and fearfulness of some enemies actually made my heart beat a little fast at times.
This benchmark is not a playable demo, but aims to show the viewer how their respective system can run the game. Like the first game, there are two separate code paths, and in this game's case it's DirectX 9 and DirectX 11. Upon first inspection it appears that this revision of the MT Framework Engine utilizes many of the same effects as Resident Evil 5, and the DirectX 11 code path adds user-adjustable degrees of hardware tessellation.
Tessellation on (DirectX 11):
Tessellation off (DirectX 9 or DirectX 11 with DX11 Features turned to Off):
As you can see, at least in some areas of the game the difference is dramatic. The difference is visible in other areas of the game as well, like in rendered water which is also tessellated, and some other alien creatures have tessellated features of their bodies.
Now we're going to take a look at the performance of the EVGA GTX 460 SC 768MB when running this benchmark, as well as the performance of its ATI competitor, the Sapphire Radeon HD 5830. The system is the same as what was used in the review (Phenom II x3 at 3.5ghz, 4gb DDR2-800), but there are a few differences:
New Vista Ultimate Install
HD 5830 now uses Catalyst 10.7
GTX 460 is running at optimally overclocked frequency of 840/3900
HD 5830 is running at optimally overclocked frequency of 875/4800 (vs 800/4000)
Since this IS a demanding game I thought it best to test these cards in overclocked states to obtain the best possible framerate for the demanding resolution of 1920x1080. All settings are at their highest except where denoted in chart titles, and no AA or AF is used, as performance would be dragged down too far.
GTX 460 AND HD 5830 used highest quality texture filtering. Nvidia card used no optimization as it's not used by default (and most people don't use it), and the ATI card made use of the standard mode of Catalyst AI. I don't personally see Catalyst AI as any sort of "cheating" optimization, since in standard mode there's little to no image quality difference, and the PC hardware enthusiast community in general prefers using the standard mode. I didn't use the advanced mode due to image quality and over-optimization concerns, as well as suspicions of additional CPU usage. So am I not comparing apples to apples? It is such a slippery slope, so what I believe I'm doing is running both cards in the modes most preferred by their respective users.
The primary purpose of Test A is to give an indication of typical game play performance of the PC running Lost Planet 2. (i.e. if you can run Mode A smoothly, the game will be playable at a similar condition). In this test, the character�'s motion is randomized to give a slightly different outcome each time.
The primary purpose of Test B is to push the PC to its limits and to benchmark the maximum performance of the PC. It utilizes many functions of Direct X11 resulting in a very performance-orientated, very demanding benchmark mode.
Benchmark data: http://a.imageshack.us/img59/4492/lp2dx11off.jpg (http://img59.imageshack.us/i/lp2dx11off.jpg/)
Benchmark data: http://a.imageshack.us/img193/3050/lp2dx11low.jpg (http://img193.imageshack.us/i/lp2dx11low.jpg/)
Benchmark data: http://a.imageshack.us/img687/7662/lp2dx11med.jpg (http://img687.imageshack.us/i/lp2dx11med.jpg/)
Benchmark data: http://a.imageshack.us/img821/5686/lp2dx11high.jpg (http://img821.imageshack.us/i/lp2dx11high.jpg/)
(ADDED 8/20/10) DirectX 9 Performance:
I had inferred that DirectX 9 performance in this benchmark would basically be the same as running the DX11 codepath with DirectX11 features turned off. I recently ran the DX9 codepath to see if this was true:
Benchmark data: http://a.imageshack.us/img718/5083/lp2benchdx9.jpg (http://img718.imageshack.us/i/lp2benchdx9.jpg/)
Given the amount of activity and the sheer volume of visuals being shoved through the monitor at you, both cards don't seem to perform all that bad, especially given the fact that they're both not high-end, and the system they're in isn't really high-end either. But clearly, the win on this goes to the GTX 460 in DX11 mode. It has less of a problem delivering high amounts of tessellation, and overall (in this specific scenario) delivers performance around 10-40% better than the HD 5830.
It is worth mentioning that if you're not a fan of the tessellation effects in this benchmark/game, the DX9 path may be a viable alternative that will afford you some more FPS. It is interesting to note here that the HD 5830 takes the lead when running the benchmark in this path.
This benchmark is just another example of the GF100/GF104 doing what it does best - tessellation. It is clear that NVIDIA has put this feature high on their priority list, and as more and more games come out that use tessellation, ATI Radeon products will have a hard time keeping up in games that use full DX11 features until they develop something that can compete better on this specific feature.
It is worth mentioning, however, that this benchmark was originally made available at NVIDIA's website, which may indicate that while NVIDIA has been able to make optimizations for this upcoming game, ATI has not. Since this is a benchmark that has been released two months before the actual game release, there is a possibility that performance differences for the final product might be a little different.
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