Home / Computing / PC Component / Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB Fermi / Performance Analysis & Conclusions

Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB Fermi - Performance Analysis & Conclusions

By Edward Chester



  • Recommended by TR
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 1GB Fermi


Our Score:


We started out testing with that perennial graphics card torturer, Crysis. Here the GTX 460 1GB puts in an impressive performance, easily providing playable framerates at 1,920 x 1,200 with 2xAA. It also comfortably beats its most direct rival, the HD 5830 and giving the more expensive HD 5850 and GTX 470 a run their money.

Moving onto a more modern title, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and the GTX 460 looks even more impressive, opening up a comfortable lead over competing cards from ATI and maintaining playable framerates again at 1,920 x 1,200 with 4xAA. At a push you could probably even play at 30in monitor resolutions of 2,560 x 1,600.

It's a complete role reversal when it comes to Just Cause 2. This title clearly favours ATI's cards and the GTX 460 1GB loses out badly, struggling even to maintain playable framrates at 1,680 x 1,050.

Finishing up with Colin McCrae: DIRT 2, all cards on test could comfortably play at 1,920 x 1,200 with 4xAA, and you could again probably stretch to 2,560 x 1,600. There's not much in it between the cards either, but the GTX 460 does consistently stay ahead of ATI's competing cards.

As for noise and power consumption, we've already mentioned this particular Zotac card isn't the quietest but it's still within the realms of acceptability. It also does well when it comes to power consumption, keeping toe to toe with ATI's competing cards. Most notably, it' clear the tweaks made to the GF104 chip have paid dividends as it consumes vastly less power than the GF100 powered GTX 470.

All told, then, the GTX 460 1GB is an impressive beast. On average throughout our tests, it performed better than ATI's competing cards at this price range, it's not too noisy and power consumption is as competitive as anything else. Once you factor in Nvidia's exclusive extras like PhysX and 3D gaming, you have a clear winner in this sector.


After the disaster that was the GTX 480 and GTX 470 launch, you'd be forgiven for thinking Nvidia was going to be left high and dry for this 1st round of DirectX 11 graphics cards. However, the company has gone away, done its homework, and comeback with a seriously compelling mid-range graphics card in the shape of the GTX 460. It's still a fair chunk of money at around £200 but for that money, it's the best choice out there.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 8
  • Value 9
  • Features 8


July 13, 2010, 8:14 pm

It's good to see Nvidia are back, this is serious competition for AMD/ATI.

Sometimes less can be more :)

The only problem is console gameing is more fun at the moment.


July 13, 2010, 8:51 pm

Will be interesting to see if ATI (yes i'm calling them ATI) will drop prices to counter this. Either way I think I will give this generation a miss completely. Only reason I bought my 260GTX late last year was because it came with batman and only cost £125, which if you ask me was a freaking bargain. Another deal like that would interest me i'm sure. Crysis 2 anyone?

I am interested in eyefinity (and whatever Nvidia's equivalent is) but other than that there's no real reason to make a jump. Hopefully the next dieshrink will sort out these thermals and 2 pin connectors once and for all, at least for the mid-range cards.

ps Glad to see Nvidia make a smaller card.


July 13, 2010, 9:27 pm

Odd that Just Cause 2 runs so much better on ATI cards when the game has Nvidia branding all over it.


July 13, 2010, 9:29 pm

Apologies for the noob question but I am looking for a video card to output to 3 x 1080p displays simultaneously (displaying different data on each ). The configuration would be a 1080p LCD tv via hdmi and then 2 x 1080p monitors via dvi. I noticed this card has a plethora of connections but will it be able to manage the above? Thanks for any assistance you can offer.


July 13, 2010, 9:42 pm

@LetsGo: "The only problem is console gaming is more fun at the moment."

Unless you're a hardcore FPS or RTS gamer :) Modern consoles have everything going for them except a mouse and keyboard IMHO, but then you can't use a mouse while lounging on the sofa which is why it'll never happen.

(Sorry, it's like a red rag to a bull...</rant>)


July 13, 2010, 10:00 pm

@Technobits: Actually that's a pretty good question. If I'm reading this correctly, you'd need to use two NVidia 4xx cards in SLI to output to 3 monitors:


It's also fussy about mixing resolutions and refresh rates.

An ATI equivalent like the 5850 might be what you're looking for:


(Take a look at the last paragraph on 'Eyefinity')

You have to use the DisplayPort connector for one of your monitors, but if your monitors don't have one this might work:


If you're lucky, your card might even come with one in the box.


July 13, 2010, 10:22 pm

Firstly - although I currently own a 5850 its important to note I am not an ATI fanboi. My history goes ATi (9800XT), Nvidia (6800GT), Nvidia (8800GT), Ati (5850)

Im not sure I agree with the conclusions drawn here. Its great to see Nvidia back in the game absolutely, competition is always good dont get me wrong, but I bought my 5850 for £195 many months ago, although after the initial supply problems. Whilst prices have generally risen since then, Aria currently have a generic 5850 for 199+(admitadly high) delivery.

Most benchmarks I have seen have the 5850 still ahead. Whilst the 460 is far superior to the previously released Fermi cards, I'm still not convinced it has overtaken the 5850 as a value proposition - which is worrying for Nvidia when you consider the age of the 5850 now. I think ATI have room for a price cut accross the range (the 5000 series is cheaper to produce than Nvidias cards AFAIK), but I'm not even sure they need to resort to that.


July 14, 2010, 12:07 am

@Chris Yeah I miss PC RTS Games if StarCratft 2 gets good reviews I will have to put down the control pads for a while:)

But when it comes to FPS I prefer consoles for the following reasons.

1. The controls are harder but at least everyone is using the same interface.

2. Less cheating, not having to install tools like punkbuster.

3. wider range of players (nothing beats putting down loud mouthed little kids;)

4. like 1. knowing that fellow players are using similar equipment.

5, You have to use proper tatics and not rely on twitching.


July 14, 2010, 12:27 am

@technobits as chris said ATI is the way to go at the moment for multiple displays. Sapphire made this how to video http://www.youtube.com/watc...

I spent around an hour a while back going through a bunch of eyefinity videos. Left4Dead 2 looks great on it! I just don't know if I have the room but oh it looks so good.

Hans Gruber

July 14, 2010, 1:17 am

@Malderon - I agree completely. What is striking about game performance is just how differently games will fare using either equivalent ATI/AMD vs nVidia cards from the same range/rank.

The nVidia 460 and ATI 5850 are pretty close in graphics performance. Out of the games benchmarked I have Crysis, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Just Cause 2 so a minor win, lose and another win for the ATI (albeit 5870) card I'm running.

Yes, JC2's significantly improved performance is ironic seeing how nVidia sponsor the title. That must be a little embarrassing.

My own gaming history starts with a series 3 Geforce ti200 card, then when the fan failed I got it replaced for a GF (titanium) 4400, then a switch for a long time to an ATI Radeon Pro 9800 which I soft modded (bios flash) to an XT.

Then after finally switching from socket A (AMD) to 775 (intel) I got a 7950GT followed by a 9800GTX and today I'm on socket 1366 with some serious firepower in the shape of an AMD/ATI 5870.

nVidia are back in the game with the 460 though, nice to see them tackle the ridiculous power usage requirements and heat output (not to mention price!) What will ATI's next play be I wonder? Definitely time to drop the prices.


July 14, 2010, 2:14 am

@Runadumb and Chris - many thanks for the pointers - the Eyefinity setup looks like it will git the bill and the youtube links are great. Cheers


July 14, 2010, 5:11 pm

Great article, I actually want to replace my 8800GTS512mb for one of these. Of course, this is a feeling I have after reading any graphics card review normally but despite being time to upgrade, I was thinking I might just skip this generation after reading horrendous reviews of the 400series so far


July 14, 2010, 9:22 pm

hmm - bought a 470 3 weeks ago, should have waited for this.


July 22, 2010, 3:40 pm

Is this card a worth successor to a 8800gts512? I just want to clarify, after-all, the 9 series was practically a rebadged 8 series


February 22, 2011, 7:41 am

I would love a review of the GTX560!

I was just about to buy a 460, then I saw the 5 series is out... How on earth did I miss that.. maybe because it diddnt make any waves on here!

So is a 560 worth the extra cost over a 460?

comments powered by Disqus