On Monday, Nvidia released the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460, a graphics chip that encapsulates most of the power of the high-end Nvidia GTX 480 at a fraction of the price.
Nvidia has aimed the card squarely at the ATI Radeon HD 5830 which was released earlier this year, and also currently lists for about $199. Nvidia released its GTX 460 in two configurations: a 768-Mbyte version for $199, and a 1-Gbyte version for $229.
"When I brought the cards back to the lab, one of our summer interns asked me when our next Fermi GPU, the GeForce GTX 460, was going to be available," Justin Walker, a product manager for Nvidia, said in a blog post announcing the new GPU. "He was a big PC gamer and had been saving up all summer for a new graphics card but didn't think he would be able to save enough for a GTX 480. Instead, he knew from testing out an early version of the GTX 460 that he loved its performance, and of course, its price. When a gamer with access to all the latest graphics cards on the market tells you that he's waiting for the GTX 460 – you know you have something special on your hands."
The 768MB version of the GTX 460 contains three 64-bit memory controllers that use a 192-bit interface. The 1-GB version instead uses a 256-bit memory interface. Both cards use GDDR5 graphics memory, and are otherwise identical, with clock speeds of 675 MHz, the CUDA cores running at 1,350 MHz, and memory speed of 3,600 MHz.
Technically, the GTX480 splits its 336 CUDA cores between seven Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs) in its two Graphics Processor Clusters (GPCs), resulting in 48 in each SM. (Just as in the original GF100, one SM has been disabled.) There's still one Polymorph Engine per SM as well, but now each Engine serves more cores, which has the potential to reduce tessellation performance somewhat.
The combination earned Nvidia an Editor's Choice award from ExtremeTech.
"Nvidia's done it again: released a 400-series video card that just—just—steals AMD's thunder," reviewer Matthew Murray wrote in his review. "The company's smarter move this time, though, came from its pricing: With the 768MB GTX 460 exactly the same price as the ATI Radeon HD 5830, there's no question you want Nvidia if you want the faster card. True, you'll miss out on AMD's Eyefinity multimonitor technology, but Nvidia's own Surround option, which the company tells us is to be activated in an upcoming driver, should make up for that."
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