When NVIDIA launched its long delayed Fermi GPU architecture early this year it did so with two high end graphics cards. The GeForce GTX 480 and 470 performed respectably but couldn't compete with ATI's equivalent products in the all important price stakes.
This price disparity has lessened, but still the NVIDIA offerings cost more than the equivalent ATI ones. Even the launch of the disappointing GeForce GTX 465 card hasn't made NVIDIA's products price-competitive.
This is set to change with the launch of the GeForce GTX 460. Unlike the GTX 465, which is a drastically cut-down version of the high end GPU, the 460 is a 1.95 billion transistor chip specifically designed for the mainstream. It comes in two varieties based on memory bandwidth and capacity - a 192-bit 768MB version priced at $US 199 and a 256-bit 1GB one that costs $US 229.
Apart from memory the specs are the same between the two versions of the 460. On both variants the GPU is clocked at 675 MHz while the GDDR5 RAM runs at 1359MHz. The GPU has 338 CUDA cores, 7 polymorph engines and 56 texture units. It is packed onto a board that is 21cm long and needs two 6-pin power connectors to operate. NVIDIA quote the GTX 460's TDP as 160W. These specs are a big improvement from the high end offerings, which are notoriously power hungry heat generators.
|The GeForce GTX 460 is smaller in size than the other 400 series cards, and also draws less power.
NVIDIA is pitching the GeForce GTX 460 against the RADEON HD 5830, which is similarly priced. It will continue to pitch the GTX 465 against the highly popular RADEON HD 5850, while the high end GTX 470 and GTX 480 cards will compete against ATI's high end offerings.
According to NVIDIA the 768MB versions of the card should be onsale from today, with the 1GB versions coming in a couple of weeks. A quick check of online prices show several Australian stores selling the 768MB version of the card already, with most prices falling into the $270-290 price range.
We have a card winging its way to the PC Authority labs and are keen to see if NVIDIA can live up to promises of massive performance increases over the RADEON HD 5830. If it can, we may well see a new hero GPU for mainstream users.