ASUS GTX 460 TOP 768MB
Nvidia has really made a splash with the GeForce GTX 460, and we’ll state that bottom line right up front. It avoids the pitfalls of the GF100 card release, such as high power consumption, high temperatures, and high noise levels we saw in the GTX 480. Frankly, if you put these two cards side by side, you wouldn’t know they’re part of the same series lineup. The 460, as we expected, effectively neuters the 465 since they trade blows in terms of performance but the 460 runs cooler and cheaper. Nvidia normally isn’t one to cannibalize its own product lineup, but in this instance the 460 is just that good, there’s no way around it.
Perhaps even more alluring is the fact the reference card hits the $200 price segment, and expect non-reference designs such as this ASUS TOP version to be about $25 more or so, which is really a great value when you consider what is being offered in return: lower temperatures, lower noise, voltage tweaking, and higher overclocks. Nvidia is really setting its sights squarely on the Radeon 5830 for competition; in fact, Nvidia has really pounced on the weakness of the Radeon 5830 and made mincemeat of it in just about every facet, including performance and temperatures. For essentially the same price, you get a card in the GTX 460 that offers more horsepower, lower temperatures, and CUDA capabilities that are blatantly lacking in the ATI camp.
The story gets better when manufacturers venture beyond the reference design; special things can happen with a card like that’s already impressive. The ASUS GTX 460 TOP is a card that does just that, going that extra mile by offering enthusiasts voltage tweaking abilities in their Smart Doctor software, available exclusively to this ASUS card. Not only that, but the Direct CU heatsink is killer in terms of keeping temperatures impressively cool, and therefore resulting in lower fan speeds and quieter operation.
So is there a downside to all of this? Well, sort of. With only 768MB of memory, this card is slightly hampered at higher resolutions when turning up the antialiasing. As previously mentioned, Nvidia has also released a 1GB version of the GTX 460, which would help at higher resolutions. However, with the impressive overclocking capabilities of the 768MB card, you can hit the performance of the 1GB card and save some cash in the process. If you’re not into GPU overclocking, however, then splash for the beefier card and it won’t cost much more money anyways. Regardless of your choice, the GTX 460 should put Nvidia (and ASUS, by extension in this case) in the thick of things in this large market segment.
With the reference GeForce GTX 460 design a huge improvement from what we saw in the GF100 launch, the ASUS GTX 460 TOP 768MB takes that even further, bringing a host of features to the table. The ability to tweak the voltages brings the potential to see this card jump in performance, but the icing on the cake is that this card runs wonderfully cool and quiet while packing some formidable horsepower at a great price. Nvidia has made a big splash with the GTX 460 and ASUS is riding the wave with its TOP version.
ASUS GTX 460 TOP 768MB