MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB
In order to capitalize on the lucrative mainstream market, Nvidia had to look at changes for the GF104 architecture in order to better compete. Simple down-scaling wouldn’t work in this case because as you decrease the streaming processors, the texture units would drop considerably, leaving us with a neutered card. Instead, Nvidia enhanced the stream processors in a reorganized architecture, leaving us with two Graphics Processing Clusters with four Simultaneous Multiprocessors each, along with 48 CUDA cores each.
When we look a bit closer at the SM in this revamped GF104, it becomes apparent that this increased CUDA cores also has double the number of dispatch units (now four), and double the number of texture units. So the original concern of having too few texture units if the stream processors were reduced are now alleviated, giving us a more compact design that packs in more texture units.
Lastly, we know that Nvidia has been publicizing tessellation performance as a key advantage in their products over the competition. What we see here now is that the PolyMorph Engines have changed as well, leaving us with 41.5 cores per tessellation engine, up from the 30 we saw in the GTX 480. What this means is that even though the GTX 460 is a few rungs down on the performance ladder, it should be surprisingly adept at DX11 games which predominantly feature tessellation effects.
It must also be mentioned that there are two versions of the GTX 460: a 1GB card as well as a 768MB card. The GTX 460 1GB most notably has 56 Texture Units and 32 ROPs, whereas the the 768MB version has (24 ROPs. Further, the 768MB has a 192-bit bus while the bigger card gets the full 256-bit treatment. The clock speeds are the same, and the TDP is almost identical as well.
Let’s now take a closer look at today’s variant of this GeForce card, the MSI GTX 460 HAWK 1GB.