ECS GTX 460 Black Series (NBGTX460-1GPI-F) Video Card Review
By Gabriel Torres on September 21, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The ECS GTX 460 Black Series (NBGTX460-1GPI-F) comes with 1 GB GDDR5, pre-overclocked, and with a high-end cooling solution from Arctic Cooling. Let’s check it out.

The GeForce GTX 460 comes with higher core and shader clock rates (675 MHz and 1,350 MHz) than the GeForce GTX 465 and GeForce GTX 470 (607 MHz and 1,215 MHz for both of them). The memory clock used on the GeForce GTX 460 is actually higher than the one used on the more expensive models (3,600 MHz against 3,206 MHz on GeForce GTX 465 and 3,348 MHz on GeForce GTX 470), but the memory bus width depends on the GTX 460 model you have: the 768 MB model uses a 192-bit memory interface (translating into a 86.4 GB/s maximum theoretical transfer rate), while the 1 GB model uses a 256-bit interface (115.2 GB/s maximum theoretical transfer rate). The GeForce GTX 465 has a 256-bit memory interface (102.5 GB/s), and the GeForce GTX 470 has a 320-bit memory interface (133.92 GB/s). The main difference among the GTX 460, GTX 465 and GTX 470 is the number of graphics engines (a.k.a. “shaders” or “CUDA cores”): 336, 352, and 448, respectively. On the table below we compare the main specifications of the six video cards we included in our review. The GTX 460 Black Series model from ECS comes with a 13.3% overclocking.

Video Card

Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock (Real)

Memory Clock (Effective)

Memory Interface

Memory Transfer Rate

Memory

Shaders

DirectX

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

675 MHz

1,350 MHz

900 MHz

3,600 MHz

192-bit

86.4 GB/s

768 GB GDDR5

336

11

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

675 MHz

1,350 MHz

900 MHz

3,600 MHz

256-bit

115.2 GB/s

1 GB GDDR5

336

11

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

765 MHz

1,530 MHz

925 MHz

3,700 MHz

256-bit

118.4 GB/s

1 GB GDDR5

336

11

GeForce GTX 465

607 MHz

1,215 MHz

801.5 MHz

3,206 MHz

256-bit

102.6 GB/s

1 GB GDDR5

352

11

Radeon HD 5830

800 MHz

800 MHz

1 GHz

4 GHz

256-bit

128 GB/s

1 GB GDDR5

1,120

11

Radeon HD 5850

725 MHz

725 MHz

1 GHz

4 GHz

256-bit

128 GB/s

1 GB GDDR5

1,440

11

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table and NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table tutorials.

Now let’s take a complete look at this model from ECS.

The ECS GTX 460 Black Edition

The difference between the ECS GTX 460 Black Edition and the NVIDIA reference model is not only the factory-overclocking, but also the use of a different cooling solution. ECS decided to ship its video card with an Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro, which we have already reviewed and proved to deliver very good performance.

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
click to enlarge
Figure 1: ECS GTX 460 Black Edition

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
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Figure 2: ECS GTX 460 Black Edition

This video card has three video outputs, two DVI-D and one HDMI.

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
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Figure 3: Video connectors

The ECS GTX 460 Black Edition (Contíd)

In Figure 4, you can see the video card with its cooler removed. Note how it requires two six-pin auxiliary power connectors. In Figures 5 and 6, you can see the cooler by itself. As already mentioned, we’ve already posted a complete review of this cooler, where you can read about it in more detail.

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
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Figure 4: Video card with the cooler removed

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
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Figure 5: Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro cooler

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
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Figure 6: Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro cooler

The reviewed card uses eight 1 Gbit GDDR5 chips, making its 1 GB video memory (1 Gbit x 8 = 1 GB). Each chip is connected to the GPU using a 32-bit data lane, making the video card’s 256-bit memory interface (32 bits x 8 = 256).

The chips used are K4G10325FE-HC05 parts from Samsung, which support up to 1 GHz (4 GHz QDR) and since on this video card memory is accessed at 925 MHz (3,700 MHz QDR), there is a good margin for you to increase the memory clock rate while keeping the chips inside the maximum they support.

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
click to enlarge
Figure 7: Memory chips

In Figure 8, you can see the accessories that come with the reviewed card: one power adapter, one DVI-to-VGA adapter, one DVI-to-HDMI adapter, and one SLI bridge. The product doesn’t come with any games.

ECS GTX 460 Black Edition
click to enlarge
Figure 8: Accessories

Before seeing the performance results, let’s recap the main features of this video card.

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the ECS GTX 460 Black Series video card include:

How We Tested

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Driver Versions

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

3DMark Vantage Professional

3DMark Vantage measures Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supports PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Note that since we are considering only the GPU score provided by this program, physics calculations are not taken into account.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600. First we used the “Performance” profile, and then we used the “Extreme” profile (basically enabling anti-aliasing at 4x, anisotropic filtering at 16x, and putting all detail settings at their maximum or “extreme” values). The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3DMark Vantage - Performance

1680x1050

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

12764

 

Radeon HD 5850

12747

-0.1%

Radeon HD 5830

10481

-17.9%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

9660

-24.3%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

9008

-29.4%

GeForce GTX 465

8926

-30.1%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3DMark Vantage – Performance

1920x1200

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

10184

33.2%

Radeon HD 5830

8302

8.6%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

7645

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

7608

-0.5%

GeForce GTX 465

7043

-7.9%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

7021

-8.2%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3DMark Vantage – Performance

2560x1600

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

5998

36.7%

Radeon HD 5830

4859

10.7%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

4389

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

4216

-3.9%

GeForce GTX 465

3974

-9.5%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

3466

-21.0%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3DMark Vantage – Extreme

1680x1050

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

9547

19.9%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

7964

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

7894

-0.9%

Radeon HD 5830

7480

-6.1%

GeForce GTX 465

7479

-6.1%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

7412

-6.9%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3DMark Vantage – Extreme

1920x1200

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

7573

19.7%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

6327

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

6289

-0.6%

Radeon HD 5830

5986

-5.4%

GeForce GTX 465

5868

-7.3%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

5811

-8.2%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3DMark Vantage – Extreme

2560x1600

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

4571

24.9%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

3659

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

3641

-0.5%

Radeon HD 5830

3596

-1.7%

GeForce GTX 465

3362

-8.1%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

3177

-13.2%

Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, exactly what will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

To get accurate results we had to disable the 80 FPS limit in the game. To do this, input the command, “/seta com_maxfps 1000” (minus the quotes) into the console (` key). It can be set to any number greater than 200.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was set to the maximum values in the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the internal game benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo here for downloading if you want to run your own benchmarks. We ran the demo five times, and the results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each video card.

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Call of Duty 4 – Maximum

1680x1050

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

144.8

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

141.4

-2.3%

Radeon HD 5850

141.3

-2.4%

GeForce GTX 465

120.6

-16.7%

Radeon HD 5830

116.8

-19.3%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

114.3

-21.1%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Call of Duty 4 – Maximum

1920x1200

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

124.4

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

121.2

-2.6%

Radeon HD 5850

119.6

-3.9%

Radeon HD 5830

102.6

-17.6%

GeForce GTX 465

102.3

-17.8%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

96.1

-22.7%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Call of Duty 4 – Maximum

2560x1600

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

84.6

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

83.2

-1.7%

Radeon HD 5850

82.5

-2.5%

GeForce GTX 465

70.4

-16.8%

Radeon HD 5830

69.7

-17.6%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

62.8

-25.8%

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead is a DirectX 10 game based on the same engine as the original Crysis, but optimized (it runs under DirectX 9.0c when installed on Windows XP).

We used the HardwareOC Crysis Warhead Benchmark Tool to collect the data for this test. We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, all at medium image quality (16x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering) and using the Airfield demo. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Crysis Warhead – Medium

1680x1050

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

69

11.3%

GeForce GTX 465

63

1.6%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

62

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

61

-1.6%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

57

-8.1%

Radeon HD 5830

49

-21.0%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Crysis Warhead – Medium

1920x1200

Difference

Radeon HD 5850

59

1.7%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

58

 

GeForce GTX 465

57

-1.7%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

56

-3.4%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

50

-13.8%

Radeon HD 5830

44

-24.1%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Crysis Warhead – Medium

2560x1600

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

50

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

49

-2.0%

Radeon HD 5850

43

-14.0%

GeForce GTX 465

41

-18.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

36

-28.0%

Radeon HD 5830

34

-32.0%

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2 is based on an entirely new game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10 when played under Windows Vista with a DirectX 10 compatible video card.

We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game, setting image quality to High (x8 anti-aliasing) and running the “Ranch Long” demo three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

FarCry 2 – Maximum

1680x1050

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

76.6

 

Radeon HD 5850

75.8

-1.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

75.3

-1.7%

GeForce GTX 465

72.5

-5.3%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

70.0

-8.6%

Radeon HD 5830

65.6

-14.3%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

FarCry 2 – Maximum

1920x1200

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

64.5

 

Radeon HD 5850

63.2

-2.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

61.0

-5.4%

GeForce GTX 465

60.4

-6.4%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

58.0

-10.0%

Radeon HD 5830

53.5

-17.0%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

FarCry 2 – Maximum

2560x1600

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

46.1

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

44.9

-2.6%

Radeon HD 5850

42.7

-7.2%

GeForce GTX 465

38.2

-17.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

26.4

-42.6%

Radeon HD 5830

23.8

-48.4%

Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator is a DirectX 11 game that makes full use of tessellation and advanced shadow rendering. We used the Aliens vs. Predator Benchmark Tool developed by Rebellion. This program reads its configuration from a text file (our configuration files can be found here). We ran this program at 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600 resolutions, with low texture settings, x8 anisotropic filtering and x4 anti-aliasing.

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Aliens vs. Predator

1680x1050

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

66.2

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

63.9

-3.5%

Radeon HD 5850

59.7

-9.8%

GeForce GTX 465

55.8

-15.7%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

46

-30.5%

Radeon HD 5830

43.4

-34.4%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Aliens vs. Predator

1920x1200

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

55.2

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

53.3

-3.4%

Radeon HD 5850

51.3

-7.1%

GeForce GTX 465

44.7

-19.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

36.6

-33.7%

Radeon HD 5830

34.5

-37.5%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Aliens vs. Predator

2560x1600

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

32.4

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

30.4

-6.2%

Radeon HD 5850

27.9

-13.9%

GeForce GTX 465

26.8

-17.3%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

21.3

-34.3%

Radeon HD 5830

20.5

-36.7%

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is a DirectX 11 game. To benchmark this game we used FRAPS to record the average FPS while playing part way through the Chase level (the save file we used can be downloaded here). We ran this program at 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600 resolutions, setting texture quality at “Low,” anti-aliasing at “AAA,” anisotropic filtering at 4x, tessellation “on,” and DoF “off.”

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Metro 2033

1680x1050

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

86.91

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

84.68

-2.6%

Radeon HD 5850

82.37

-5.2%

GeForce GTX 465

78.56

-9.6%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

66.37

-23.6%

Radeon HD 5830

63.13

-27.4%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Metro 2033

1920x1200

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

75.27

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

74.33

-1.2%

Radeon HD 5850

71.02

-5.6%

GeForce GTX 465

66.57

-11.6%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

55.55

-26.2%

Radeon HD 5830

52.53

-30.2%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Metro 2033

2560x1600

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

55.99

 

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

53.60

-4.3%

Radeon HD 5850

49.76

-11.1%

GeForce GTX 465

42.57

-24.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

37.94

-32.2%

Radeon HD 5830

34.48

-38.4%

Darkest of Days

Darkest of days is a DirectX 9 game that implements a PhysX engine, moving physics calculations from the CPU to the GPU. Although it’s not very popular, we added this game because of its PhysX benchmarking feature. We ran this game at 1680x1050 with details set at “very high,” and both anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering disabled. We ran three tests, first with PhysX set at “low,” where the game makes all physics calculations using the system CPU, then increasing it to “medium” (which adds leaves, wind and weapons impact effects due to bullets and grenades), and finally increasing it to “high” (which adds fog and smoke effects). The medium and high PhysX levels move physics calculations from the CPU to the GPU. Keep in mind that only NVIDIA-based cards support PhysX.

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Darkest of Days - 1680x1050

Low Phys X

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

99.25

 

GeForce GTX 465

99.25

0.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

94.43

-4.9%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

94.49

-4.8%

Radeon HD 5850

59.43

-40.1%

Radeon HD 5830

51.69

-47.9%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Darkest of Days - 1680x1050

Medium PhysX

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

79.23

 

GeForce GTX 465

78.09

-1.4%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

76.87

-3.0%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

69.41

-12.4%

Radeon HD 5850

2.96

-96.3%

Radeon HD 5830

1.44

-98.2%

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

Darkest of Days - 1680x1050

High PhysX

Difference

ECS GTX 460 Black Series

47.62

 

GeForce GTX 465

46.92

-1.5%

GeForce GTX 460 (1 GB)

45.83

-3.7%

GeForce GTX 460 (768 MB)

42.78

-10.2%

Radeon HD 5830

1.44

-97.0%

Radeon HD 5850

1.36

-97.2%

Conclusions

The ECS GTX 460 Black Series comes as a good competitor to Radeon HD 5850. In most games and simulations we ran, both achieve similar performance. The only exceptions were on Aliens vs. Predator, where the ECS GTX 460 Black Series was faster, and on Crysis Warhead at 1680x1050 and 3DMark Vantage (except at 1680x1050 with image quality settings disabled), where the Radeon HD 5850 was faster.

Therefore we have to declare a technical tie between the two. This model from ECS comes with two main advantages, the cooler from Arctic Cooling, which we’ve reviewed separately and proved to be a very good product, and price. If you plan to run PhysX games you will of course be better off with this video card from ECS, since PhysX is only supported by NVIDIA-based products.

The only problem with the ECS GTX 460 Black Series is finding it. If you have USD 240 to spend on a video card and are able to buy this product, go for it.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/ECS-GTX-460-Black-Series-NBGTX460-1GPI-F-Video-Card-Review/1092


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