A few days ago, Nvidia launched its GF104-based GTX 460 card. This means that second generation Fermi is here but we’re talking about a mid-range, performance oriented product rather than a high-end chip. Gamers and the general public who’ve been waiting for a more affordable Nvidia DX11 offering will probably find the new GTX 460 to be a nice deal. Thermals, consumption and noise were the GF100’s three main flaws, but Nvidia made sure that this is not the case with the GTX 460.
GTX 460 768MB's recommended pricing is $200/€200 whereas 1GB versions are about €30 more. So, there are currently two versions of GF104-based Geforce GTX 460, with the differences being memory, bandwidth and TDP, which on the 1GB version stands at 160W (idle TDP is 22W). The clocks are identical – 675MHz GPU, shaders (CUDA cores) at 1350Mhz and the memory at 3600MHz (effectively).
We'll refer to the GTX 460 with 1024MB of GDDR5 as the „faster“ one, as it comes with 256-bit memory bus, whereas the „slower“ card comes with 768MB of GDDR5 memory on a 192-bit bus. The GTX 460 768MB's memory subsystem is made of three 64-bit memory controllers (192-bit), whereas the GTX 460 1024MB has four 64-bit memory controllers (256-bit). Although operating clocks are the same, the 1GB version still has a performance advantage as erasing 256MB of memory took a piece of the ROP engine as well. GTX 460 1GB card comes with 32 ROPs whereas the 768MB version has 24 ROPs.
GF104 is not mere GF100 with a few disabled components, but rather a new chip built in 40nm but still based on Fermi architecture. GF104 packs 1.95 billion transistors whereas the GF100 has 3 billion. Compared to the GF100, the new GPU is smaller and much cooler.
GTX 460's graphics processor has 336 CUDA cores and 56 texture units at its disposal. By regrouping resources within the chip that's aimed at mid-range markets, Nvidia got some nice performance and the GTX 460 manages to beat the GTX 465 in many tests, despite the fact that it has less shader cores.
Almost all Nvidia partners were ready with their GTX 460 cards on launch day, many of which come pre-overclocked. As far as we know, Gainward took the biggest step in overclocking and managed to push the GPU from the reference 675MHz to 800MHz. Nvidia has said that the majority of GTX 460 cards will run at 800MHz with no trouble, and it seems like Gainward found the exact source of this “majority” and now sells them branded as GTX 460 1024MB Golden Sample Goes Like Hell.