ASUS GTX 460 TOP 768MB
ASUS allows voltage tweaking with the GTX 460 TOP through Smart Doctor as previously discussed. This is key to higher overclocks, as reference cards will only go so far until they become unstable due to additional voltage required but lack of ability to provide it. Well, no such problems here, as this card is an enthusiast’s dream with the ability to crank up the juice and really push this card.
As you increase the voltage the slider moves into the "caution" zone, noted by the change in colour from yellow to orange, and then ultimately to red if you continue to push higher. If you have water cooling (or more exotic) then the sky’s the limit and good luck to you.
A couple critical notes before we proceed: as always, mileage will vary when overclocking, so be vigilant in monitoring temperatures and be sure to always test for stability after each incremental change. We recommend FurMark or MSI Kombustor for stability testing as they’ll drawing more power and cause higher temperatures than your favourite game or 3DMark benchmark, so it is a worst-case scenario. Otherwise, run 3DMark Vantage or OCCT and see if it can pass a few looped tests for stability, but be sure to log and monitor the resulting temperatures.
With that out of the way, we settled in for some overclocking of the core and memory clocks and achieved the following result:
As we mentioned earlier, Smart Doctor unfortunately only allows the core clocks to top out at 800MHz, and we easily hit that without breaking a sweat. Then we tried MSI Afterburner which allows even higher core clocks and we maxed that out as well. So in the end, the ASUS GTX 460 TOP topped out with a final stable overclock of 895MHz Core, 1042MHz Memory, and 1790MHz Shader. This represents an increase of about 28% and 13%, respectively. We have no doubt the card could have gone even higher. We were mildly disappointed with the memory results, but we weren’t expecting much to begin with since we’ve seen these chips have minimal headroom on other cards as well. However, the core and shader results are excellent, and this GTX 460 TOP has plenty of gas left in the tank for overclocking.
It should be mentioned a couple effects of this overclock beyond improved performance: heat and noise. Obviously with higher voltage comes higher temperatures, and higher fans speeds the result. As we saw earlier, the temperatures (and noise) are fine when running at stock speeds. However, as you increase the voltage and clocks, so does the temperature go as well. The actual temperature will depend on your voltage and clock settings, as well as the airflow in your case, so be diligent about monitoring the temperatures when overclocking. The fan will run faster as well, creating a bit more noise. ASUS has done a good job, however, of balancing temperatures and noise levels against gaming performance at regular settings. If you plan on highly overclocking this card, however, then you’re a person who is used to noise because additional high output fans are usually used.