MSI. the company based in Taiwan is as if not ever run out of ideas to continue to innovate to provide the best in the world of hardware products for PCs.
NVIDIA’s latest member of their DirectX 11 lineup is the GeForce GTX 460. It is based on the all new 40 nm GF104 GPU which is based on the Fermi architecture introduced earlier this year. The GTX 460 is positioned at the lower end of the mid-range performance segment around the $200 price bracket. NVIDIA offers two variants of the GeForce GTX 460, one with 768 MB of GDDR5 memory and one with 1 GB.
Due to the GPU architecture this change in memory size not only affects the actual memory but also other performance relevant figures.
The reduction of memory size is achieved by installing less memory chips on the card which reduces the bus width of the GPU from 256-bit to 192-bit on the 768 MB version. Since the ROPs are coupled to the memory interface this also results in less ROP units. Combined all those changes reduce the fillrates and memory performance of the card by 25%.
MSI’s GTX 460 HAWK is the company’s flagship GeForce GTX 460 model, and the equivalent of the “Lightning” series which is used on high-end cards like the HD 5870. As thermal solution, MSI’s well established Twin Frozr II cooler is working on top of a fully custom designed PCB.
MSI has selected clock speeds of 781 MHz core and 900 MHz memory for their card, which is in the upper half of the available out-of-the-box overclocks from all board partners (some go as high as 850 MHz). But the feature list does not end here. Instead of only GPU voltage you can change three voltages on the MSI GTX 460 HAWK, which is a first.
Another voltmodder-friendly feature is the addition of voltage measure points for the three voltages that can be modded. A little slower than some other vendors, MSI graphics card directly reduce weight class, GTX 460 HAWK. MSI claims that this card is designed specifically to produce optimal overclocking performance.
This can be achieved thanks to the use of military grade components that have this card. Physical MSI GTX 460 HAWK gives first impression that the card is ready to be driven to the limit of optimal. Sales package looks complete and luxurious. In addition to supporting components, such as driver discs and mini-HDMI converter cable to HDMI, MSI also includes three cable V-check point that can be used to measure the state of the GPU, memory clock, and PLL voltage directly through the multimeter. This will assist you in monitoring the state of graphics card directly.
Just like the MSI graphics card previously HAWX this time, MSI also uses the heatsink fan Twinfrozr II with dual fan. Four heatpipes can reduce heat perfectly. Proven at the highest temperature of testing that found only 48 ° C. In addition, MSI GTX460 also has a core clock and memory clock for having had pre-overclocked from the factory.
Increasing core clock and memory clock range from 15% higher than the reference.
In addition to the application of artificial Afterburner MSI, you can increase your core clock and memory clock higher. You also can increase the GPU voltage PLL with the help of technology triple over voltage of the MSI. In accordance with MSI’s claim that the core clock HAWK GTX 460 core clock can be driven up to 1 GHz, this achieved by the addition of GPU voltage of 0.1 V.
The card is capable of completing various gaming benchmarks with ease. For the record benchmark results are obtained by default condition GPU clock. Imagine the score and performance that is able to produce this
card when running with the GPU clocked higher, up to 1 GHz as claimed MSI. The MSI GTX 460 HAWK is already listed online for $249.99.
• Overclocked out of the box
• Similar price/performance ratio as 1 GB reference card
• Support for changing three voltages
• Voltage monitoring headers on the card
• Good additional OC potential
• Low power consumption
• GDDR5 memory
• 1 GB of memory
• Support for DirectX 11
• Support for NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround
• Support for CUDA, PhysX and 3D Vision
• Very limited voltage ranges (<10%)
• PLL voltage tweaking has limited or no effect for overclocking
• No memory overclock
• 1 GB VRAM does not make a substantial difference over 768 MB
• Memory chips and VRM area not directly cooled
• DirectX 11 relevance very limited at this time
9.4MSI’s GeForce GTX 460 HAWK is rock solid version of a factory overclocked GTX 460 card. Thanks to MSI’s clock speeds of 781 MHz GPU and 900 Memory memory, the card delivers about 10% more performance
than a reference design GTX 460 with 1 GB of memory. If this is not enough for you, then you can engage in some manual overclocking to get the last out of the card. MSI has added a couple of extra features here. Instead of only GPU voltage control like on the reference designs, MSI lets you change GPU voltage, memory voltage and PLL voltage. While this sounds great on paper, the actual ranges you can adjust are fairly small and I could not see any gains from adjusting PLL voltage. However, every available option to change something can help and considering the reasonable price of the card it is a welcome addition.
We have seen the Twin Frozr II cooler on other MSI cards before and generally liked it – when the fan settings in the BIOS were optimized for it. This is the case on the MSI GTX 460 HAWK too. The card is quiet in both idle and load which makes it a worthy choice if you are looking for something that can power your media PC without much noise and still have enough power to play all current titles at HD resolutions with decent settings.
As mentioned before, the MSI N460GTX Hawk comes at a fair $249 which is in line with a 10% performance improvement over the reference design which costs $229. If you are after the best bang for the back, then the 768 MB version of the GTX 460 should be worth checking out.
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