Nvidia Back In The Game With GeForce GTX 460


Nvidia is taking a swing at rival Advanced Micro Devices with the release of the GeForce GTX 460, the first sub-$200 video card based on the graphic chip maker’s next-generation, DirectX 11-ready Fermi architecture.

The 768MB version of the GeForce GTX 460, released Monday, has a 192-bit memory interface and is listed by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia at $199. A 1GB version of the new video card with a 256-bit memory interface is priced at $229 and will be available on July 26, according to Nvidia.

Several months ago, Nvidia kickstarted its Fermi era, referencing the code name for its GF100 generation of graphics processors, with the release of its high-end GeForce GTX 480 card. That card prices out at about $500, and even the more affordable GTX 470 and GTX 465 are still priced well north of $200.

Now Nvidia is claiming “monster tessellation performance” in the sub-$200 “sweet spot” of the enthusiast market with the new GTX 460. What’s more, the graphics chip maker boasts that its new mainstream gaming card provides four times the performance of “competing processors.”

Nvidia is almost certainly referring to Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 5830, which is available from video card makers like Gigabyte, Sapphire and HIS for as low as $199 as well. That card has 1GB of GDDR5 memory with a 256-bit memory interface and 1,120 stream processing units.

The $199 GeForce GTX 460 has less memory than the Radeon HD 5830, as mentioned, but it does fully support Nvidia’s PhysX engine and 3D Vision technology, while boasting 336 CUDA cores and 56 texture units.

The new GTX 460 boards are also surprisingly short as compared to competitive products. Nvidia is billing the relatively compact new cards as a good space and power saver in custom desktop systems.

Most importantly for Nvidia, the new card puts the company squarely back in the battle for hearts and boards in the desktop PC enthusiast market. AMD has turned a lot of heads in the discrete graphics market since releasing its acclaimed ATI Radeon HD 4000 series of products a couple of years ago, and following on with last year’s debut of the 5000 series.

Nvidia’s focus of late has seemed more concentrated on products around the edge of mainstream and enthusiast desktop computing, and AMD has had the richer mix of video cards from top to bottom in that space for some time.

Video cards sporting the GeForce GTX 460 GPU were available Monday from such board makers as ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, PNY, Zotac and more.