Asus GTX 460 TOP 768MB £195
20th Jul 2010 | 10:15
Can the overclocked 768MB card beat its 1GB older brother?
Asus GTX 460 768MB TOP - Overview
We've already seen the stock GTX 460 768MB, and now it's the turn of the overclocked cards in the shape of Asus' GTX 460 768MB TOP edition.
The GTX 460 looks set to be the most successful iteration of the Fermi architecture that Nvidia has released to date. That's mainly thanks to a redesigned chip, still based on the same technology that made the GTX 480 such a blisteringly fast, and hot, card.
This new GF104 GPU is a far more streamlined chip compared to the fairly bestial GF100.
It still has the same basic premise running through it, but more cores have been squeezed into fewer streaming microprocessors (SMs) and more texture and special funtion units have been jammed in there too.
Nvidia has also created two versions of the card; a full-fat 1GB version, like Zotac's, and a cut-down 768MB version.
It's not just the memory that's been cut for these cheaper cards; the memory bus has been changed from 256-bit to 192-bit, the L2 cache has been dropped down to 384kb and the ROP count has been cut from 32 to 24.
We've already looked in depth at the GTX 460's GF104 chip architecture.
Asus GTX 460 768MB TOP - Benchmarks
The out of the box performance of Asus' TOP edition is only marginally faster than a stock GTX 460 768MB.
Obviously with the overclocking headroom in the chip and with that improved cooler design you can hit the same speeds as the stock 1GB card, but then that card can be pushed even further again.
With a simple overclock the 1GB card can be pushed to the sort of speeds the GTX 470 can achieve.
DirectX 11 Performance (2560x1600)
DirectX 11 Performance
DirectX 10 Performance
Asus GTX 460 768MB TOP - Verdict
Compared to the original GTX 460 768MB version the clocks haven't really been upped that much for Asus' overclocked TOP edition.
The 670MHz core speed has had a fairly minimal boost up to a rounded 700MHz with a 1,400MHz shader clock up from 1,350MHz. The memory, too, has had a wee boost up to an effective 3,680MHz.
This factory overclock alone doesn't really garner much in the way of performance improvements over the stock GTX 460 768MB card.
You're talking at most a boost of only a couple of frames per second, which is hardly earth-shattering.
Compared with EVGA's Superclocked GTX 460 768MB card the factory overclock really doesn't deliver much, and out of the box the EVGA card gives another 5fps over Asus' card.
It's a shame Asus hasn't had more confidence in its TOP edition's ability to overclock, so you're not getting much for the extra cash bar a different cooler and a picked GPU that should be capable of a healthy overclock.
As it turns out the TOP edition can deliver on that overclocking promise. We managed a hefty 150MHz overclock on the core speed and another 120MHz on the memory.
This gave us benchmarking results that were almost on par with a stock-clocked 1GB GTX 460. Granted a stock-clocked 1GB GTX 460 is only another £5 on top of this TOP edition, so that kind of nullifies these gains.
It's a shame then for these lower memory cards that the superior 1GB card exists at all, especially at the same price.
If the 768MB cards were significantly cheaper than their more well-endowed brethren then they could gain some traction in the market-place. As it is though they're little more than also-rans.
There is a significant amount of overclocking headroom in the chip, and that re-designed GPU cooler should help you maintain a hefty overclock for longer.
The minimal factory overclock on these cards compared to the competition means you're really not getting a lot extra in the TOP edition. It also means there's little warranty protection as you're more likely to overclock them further to justify your purchase.
Despite the hefty overclocking headroom the GTX 460 768MB TOP is not the card you're looking for. Out of the box it's not much faster than a stock 768MB card and is another £20 more expensive.