February 21, 2013

MSI GEFORCE N460GTX CYCLONE 1GB DDR5 OVERCLOCKED VIDEO CARD REVIEW

The MSI N460GTX Cyclone Video Card

MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Box Front
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 video card has proven itself to be one of the best bang for your buck video cards this summer and we have yet another one for you to take a closer look at.  The GTX460 that we are looking at today is the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card. This video card comes from the factory overclocked for an extra performance boost and also features MSI's much improved Cyclone GPU cooler. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 was designed by NVIDIA to run at 675MHz on the core, but MSI put a rather nice 50MHz overclock on this card as it was delivered to us with the 336 CUDA cores inside the GF100 'Fermi' core running at 725MHz. That puts the card right in the middle of the ASUS ENGTX460 Top as it came factory overclocked at 700MHz and the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 SuperClocked that came in at a rocking 763MHz on the core.  The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 is easy to overclock, but we'll talk more on that in the overclocking section. This is the sixth GeForce GTX 460 video card that we have tested, so if you need any background information on the GeForce GTX 460 be sure to take a look at any of our previous reviews: 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card 
    The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card looks tough with the large beefy cooler on it and the black PCB. This fan design won't exhaust all the hot air from the inside of your case since the card doesn't have a fan shroud to direct the airflow to the exhaust bracket. The card measures 9.5" in length and stands at 5.0" tall (200.61x110.1x38mm). 

    ASUS ENGTX460 TOP GeForce GTX 460 Video Card back
    Flipping the MSI GeForce GTX 460 video card over we don't find anything too interesting as it looks like it is using the NVIDIA reference design PCB. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card

    The MSI GeForce GTX 460 graphics card does support SLI and has a single SLI bridge located along the top edge of the graphics card. The NVIDIA GTX 460 series supports two-way SLI configurations and can run NVIDIA Surround (2D) multi-panel gaming technologies. That means you can buy two of these and run games like Bad Company 2 at a resolution of 5760 x 1200 across three monitors for example. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC DVI
    The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 graphics card has a pair of dual-link DVI-I outputs along with a mini-HDMI output header. MSI does not include a mini-HDMI adapter with their bundle, but they do include a DVI-to-HDMI adapter. Both the Dual-link DVI and HDMI outputs can be used to send high-definition video to an HDTV via single cable (including audio if running HDMI). A regular sized HDMI header was not used since it couldn't fit next to the pair of DVI outputs. MSI placed their name in the exhaust bracket, which looks like it would reduce airflow at the cost of product branding. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Power Connectors
    The MSI GeForce GTX 460 video card requires a 450 Watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 24 Amps on the +12 volt rail. It also requires that the power supply has two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors for proper connection. It should be noted that the NVIDIA minimum system power requirement is based on a PC configured with an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz CPU. If you want to run SLI we have been told that a 600 Watt or greater power supply is suggested by NVIDIA. NVIDIA refuses to give +12V requirements for SLI, which is strange since they give ratings for single card solutions.
    Let's see what is under the heat sink and then take a look at the bundle. 

    A Closer Look at the N460GTX Cyclone

    When we first got the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card we for some reason assumed that it used a custom designed PCB and has a unique GPU cooler on it.  We were right on the GPU cooler, but the PCB was based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB reference design.

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB Video Card
    Pictured above is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 reference card and below is the MSI N460GTX. 

    ASUS GeForce GTX 460 Top Video Card HSF
    As you can see, the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 graphics card is based off the NVIDIA reference design! This came as a complete shock to us as MSI touts the card as having 'Military Class' components on it. 

    "MSI graphics cards adopt the high quality components (Highly-Conductive Capacitors, Solid State Chokes, Solid Capacitors) that meet the Military Class standard, ensuring the best stability, longest life span, and no buzz noise under full load."  - MSI PR
    The components on the card had slightly different markings on them, but looked and were rated identically to the NVIDIA reference design.

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC HSF
    Nothing is wrong with the NVIDIA reference design, but for some reason MSI touts their card as having 'Military Class' components and we thought it would be a bit different looking than stock. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC HSF
    MSI provided us with this handy marketing slide that shows you the general differences between the two cards. We don't really agree with it all as the NVIDIA reference design has two copper heatpipes on it and the components might be from a different company, but the overall ratings are the same. You can also adjust the voltage on a reference card with software utilities! You have to love slick marketing!

    MSI GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone Video Card HSF
    Here you can see the custom GPU cooler that MSI is using on the N460GTC Cyclone 1GD5 video card; this is what really makes the card stand out from the crowd.

    MSI GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone Video Card HSF
    This 90mm (9cm) fan is said to have 40% more airflow, but is also 15.7% quieter than the NVIDIA reference design.

    MSI GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone Video Card HSF
    MSI says that the base plate is nickel-plated copper for better heat dissipation and that the cooling fins feature rounded edges that prevent dust from sticking on them. The Cyclone cooler also uses two separated heatpipes, but so does the reference design. 

    MSI GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone Video Card HSF
    At the end of the day the MSI Cyclone cooling fan helps lower temperatures and noise levels. According to the MSI marketing materials, at full load the graphics card will be 15.7% quieter and 7.6% cooler. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC HSF
    The MSI GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone 1GB video card doesn't use the GF100 'Fermi' core like on the GTX 480/470/465, but rather the new GF104 'Fermi' based derivative. The core is covered with a heat spreader that is rather large as you can see from the image above.  The markings on the GF104 core read 'GF104-325-A1' on our video card. This is different from all of the other GeForce GTX 460 video cards that we have gotten in for review! 

    • NVIDIA Reference Design Core - GF104-300-KB-A1 (Week 12 of 2010)
    • ASUS ENGTX460 Top 768MB - GF104-300-KA-A1 (Week 22 of 2010)
    • MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB - GF104-325-A1 (Week 24 of 2010)



    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC GDDR5


    The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB reference card used eight Samsung GDDR5 memory ICs that were part number K4G10325FE-HC05. Each one of the ICs is 128MB in size and that is how the card reaches its 1024MB frame buffer.  

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC GDDR5
    As you can see in the image above, MSI uses the same exact GDDR5 memory IC's on their factory overclocked card. The solid state capacitors, chokes and Hi-C capacitors also look nearly identical, but there are slight differences in the finish and labeling on some of the components. For example the solid capacitors on the reference card read a0 820 2.5Z and on the MSI card they read E06E 820 2.5V. Is one better than the other? Your guess is as good as mine, but both are rated at the same general voltage. 



    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC GDDR5

    The same goes for the solid state chokes. The reference card doesn't use a ring choke and doesn't have a buzzing issue that we have ever seen. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC GDDR5
    MSI uses what looks to be a solid state R60 ferrite choke as well, and other than the different font used on it the choke looks just like the NVIDIA reference design. The other three R30 SMD type chokes also look nearly the same. It looks like MSI is using a slightly newer revision of the NVIDIA reference design PCB and has sourced their components from a different company. The overall PCB and the quality of it looks to be the same as the NVIDIA reference design with a nicer GPU cooler installed on it. 
    Shortly after this review was posted MSI contacted Legit Reviews and wanted us to make it clear that the GeForce GTX 460 reference design is already using the same class of components that make up the basics of the MSI Military Class line of products. This is the reason that we didn't see the changes that we expected to see. Not all video cards or motherboards are like this though to be honest and fair. You can see the official response from MSI to this page here: 
    "The focus on the MSI 460GTX Cyclone is on the enhanced cooling solution, but because of the inclusion of higher quality components on the reference design (like the Hi-C Cap, ferrite chokes, and solid caps) makes it fall directly in line with MSI’s Military Class line of products. This higher grade is included on a wide range of motherboards and video cards to press on the idea of stability, reliability, and efficiency. Future revisions of the GeForce GTX 460, including the Hawk edition, will add significant component changes..." - MSI PR USA

    Retail Box and Bundle



    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Box Front
    The retail box for the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card lists the main features that the card comes with and the feature that really catches your eye is the sticker that says the card is 15.7% quieter than the NVIDIA reference cooler that is used by NVIDIA on the GeForce GTX460 video card. If you flip the front cover of the retail box open you'll find two more pages of information that highlight the MSI Cyclone Thermal Design. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Box Back

    Turning the retail box over, we see even more marketing text in 29 different languages. The back of the box also features bullet lists on the left hand side for the card features and minimum system requirements. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Box Inside
    When you open the box the presentation was very nice as you'll find the video card and accessory bundle behind a piece of plastic.  The card ships in a static bag, but it was removed so it would look better in a picture for the review. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Bundle
    With the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card bundle removed from the box we see that MSI included a pair of DVI-to-VGA and DVI-to-HDMI adapters, a quick installation guide, a dual 4-pin molex to single 6-pin PCIe power adapter and a drivers CD with the multi-language manual CD.

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Bundle
    When you fire up the driver CD that comes with the card you'll see this GUI that has not several, but nine tabs for you to check out. You'll find the usual things like the user manual and drives, but also a ton of software demos and NVIDIA demos.

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Bundle

    MSI AfterBurner was also included on the CD and this is a nice little overclocking software utility that was co-developed by MSI and Rivatuner to get the most from your MSI graphics card. What makes this utility nice is the fact that it has voltage adjustment included, which is something other companies fail to offer with their overclocking utility. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC Video Card Retail Bundle
    The AfterBurner utility also allows you to adjust the fan speed, monitor temperatures and even save up to five individual profiles! If you haven't tried MSI AfterBurner then you really should as it ranks up there with the very best GPU overclocking utilities made by anyone. 



    GeForce GTX 460 Test Settings

    All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with all the latest updates installed. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. The Corsair DOMINATOR memory modules were run in triple-channel mode at 1866MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings. The ATI Radeon HD 5000 series cards were all tested using CATALYST 10.6 drivers and the NVIDIA GeForce cards all used Forceware 258.80. The ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard was run using BIOS 1003 with the processor running stock settings and Turbo enabled. 

    Windows 7 Drivers Used: 
    Intel Chipset Inf Update Program V9.1.1.1014
    SoundMAX 2000B Audio Driver V6.10.2.6585 for Windows 64bit Windows 7.(WHQL)
    Marvell Yukon Gigabit Ethernet Driver V11.10.5.3 for 32/64bit Windows 7.(WHQL) 

    The Test System
    Here is the Intel LGA 1366 Test platform:


    Intel Test Platform

    Component

    Brand/Model



     Processor
    Intel Core i7 975


     Motherboard
    ASUS P6T Deluxe V2


    Memory
    6GB Kingston DDR3 1866MHz


     Video Card

     See Below


     Hard Drive

     Western Digital VelociRaptor


     Cooling

     Titan Finrar


     Power Supply
    Corsair HX850W


     Chassis

     None (Open Bench)


     Operating System


     Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit 



    Video Cards Tested:

    • ASUS ARES 4GB - 850MHz Core / 1200MHz Memory
    • ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB - 850MHz Core / 1200MHz Memory
    • ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB - 700MHz Core / 1000MHz Memory
    • ATI Radeon HD 5830 1GB - 800MHz Core / 1000MHz Memory
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 - 700MHz Core/1401MHz Shader/1848MHz Memory
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 - 608MHz Core/1215MHz Shader/1674MHz Memory
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465 - 608MHz Core/1215MHz Shader/1608MHz Memory
    • ASUS GeForce GTX 460 768MB TOP  - 700MHz Core/1400MHz Shader/920MHz Memory
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB SuperClocked  - 763MHz Core/1526MHz Shader/950MHz Memory
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB- 675MHz Core/1350MHz Shader/900MHz Memory
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB- 675MHz Core/1350MHz Shader/900MHz Memory
    • MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Cyclone - 726MHz Core/11451MHz Shader/900MHz Memory
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 - 626MHz Core/1350MHz Shader/1053MHz Memory
    MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Cyclone GPU-Z 0.4.4 SLI Details:



    MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Cyclone GPU-Z 0.4.4 Details

    MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Cyclone GPU-Z 0.4.4 SLI Details



    Batman: Arkham Asylum


    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Batman: Arkham Asylum is an action-adventure stealth video game based on DC Comics' Batman for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros.



    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    For our testing we set everything as high as it would go, except for Physx and NVIDIA Multi Sample Anti-Aliasing.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum Benchmark Results

    Benchmark Results: The MSI GeForce GTX 460 N460GTX Cyclone 1GB video card was 6.3% faster than the NVIDIA 1GB reference design in Batman at 1920x1200. 


    For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running the OpenGL benchmark FurMark 1.8.2 at 1920x1200 resolution.

    Total System Power Consumption Results

    Power Consumption Results: The total board power for the GeForce GTX 460 1GB video card is 160W, while the 768MB model is 150W. The MSI N460GTX used slightly more power than the GeForce GTX 460 768MB cards that we compared it to here, but as you can see all of the cards have performance numbers that are close. The load power consumptions numbers are significantly different, but that is due to the overclock that the cards have on them and as the overclock gets higher the power consumption goes up at load. 

    Temperature Testing

    Since video card temperatures and the heat generated by next-generation cards have become an area of concern among enthusiasts and gamers, we want to take a closer look at how the MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB graphics card does at idle and under a full load.

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 Video Card Idle Temperature Results:

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB video card GPU-Z 0.4.4 Details

    As you can see from the screen shot above, the idle state of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 drops the GPU core clock frequency down to 50.6MHz and the memory clock down to 67.5MHz to help conserve power and lower temperatures.  At idle on an open test bench the MSI N460GTC Cyclone 1GB video card temperature was observed at 29C. The fan speed on the card was running at 40% and it was silent. This is around the same temperature that we see on reference cards, but it is summer time and the room temperature has been hard to keep constant when it's 100F outside and you have a number of computers running benchmarks in a single room. 

    MSI N460GTX GeForce GTX 460 Cyclone 1GB Video Card Load Temperature:


    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB video card Load Temperature Testing Results

    We fired up FurMark and ran the stability at 640x480, which was enough to put both of the GPUs at 100% load in order to get the highest load temperature possible. This application also charts the temperature results so you can see how the temperature rises and levels off, which is very nice. The fan on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB video card was left on auto during temperature testing and the fan speed is dynamic. This means that it will increase/decrease depending on the GPU temp and GPU load. When we hit the space bar to stop the rendering the temperature dropped. The peak temperature reported on the open air test bench was 61C. Compared to the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 design the idle temperature is about the same, but the load temperature was 10C lower thanks to the MSI Cyclone cooling solution.  This is a 14% drop in the GPU temperature of the GF104 core, which is great to see. 

    MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Overclocking

    Overclocking the MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card was easily done with the included MSI AfterBurner v1.6.1 software. 

    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB video card AfterBurner Utility
    The MSI AfterBurner overclocking utility will do everything you want when it comes to gamer and enthusiast overclocking. By default the ability to adjust voltages is turned off, but you can go into settings and enable the feature if you want to throw some more voltage at the GF104 core. With a great cooler like the Cyclone it only makes sense to do this, but first let's see how far we can push the card with no voltage adjustment. We'll use 3DMark Vantage on Extreme mode as the benchmark to see how the overclock helps system performance. 
    The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card Stock 726MHz/900MHz (3600MHz effective): 



    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card Overclocking

    The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card Max OC w/ stock Volts875MHz/975MHz (3900MHz effective):


    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card Overclocking


    Running 3DMark Vantage with the Extreme preset we got a score of X7137.  The score went up X8461 3DMarks when overclocked with AfterBurner, which was an improvement of 18.5%. If we went up to 880MHz or higher on the core the video card would start to show artifacts and was unstable as it would also cause the system to freeze up. 
    The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card w/ Max Volts900MHz/975MHz (3900MHz effective):
    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card
    With the voltage bumped up we were able to reach 900MHz on the core with ease! This pushed our 3DMark score up another 200 points!  
    The MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card w/ Max Volts915MHz/980MHz (3920MHz effective):


    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Video Card Overclocking
    Our final overclock was 915MHz on the core clock with the shaders running at an impressive 1830MHz and the memory running at 980MHz. Our 3DMark Vantage Extreme score was just shy of 8800 3DMarks and was 23% higher than what we started with on our already overclocked card from MSI. 
    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB video card
    This card is a monster as you can see from out overclocking results. When overclocked the MSI NGTX460 Cyclone 1GB performed better than both the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 465 and GTX 470 graphics cards. It was also just behind the ATI Radeon HD 5870! When it comes to having fun with overclocking this card will certainly leave a big smile on your face!

    Final Thoughts and Conclusions


    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC
    The MSI N4600GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card was found to be about 6% faster than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB reference card. The MSI N4600GTX Cyclone 1GD5 features a 50MHz boost on the GPU core clock and that was enough to give it the performance boost needed to beat out the reference card in the performance tests that we ran. It was interesting that MSI didn't overclock the 1GB GDDR5 memory chips at all, as other companies are putting slight overclocks on the memory. It really doesn't matter, though, as we were able to overclock the MSI N4600GTX Cyclone 1GD5 video card all the way up to 915MHz on the core! This is a 240MHz overclock from NVIDIA's reference design and that is rather massive. When overclocked this high the MSI N4600GTX Cyclone 1GD5 is performing faster than a stock clocked GeForce GTX 470 and just behind the Radeon HD 5870 in benchmarks like 3DMark Vantage! The performance you get from a mainstream card like this is amazing to say the least. 



    MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GB GDDR5 OC 
    The MSI 'Cyclone' GPU cooler was a nice touch as it did help reduce both heat and noise at a full load. At idle we really couldn't tell a difference in noise or the GPU temperature. Interestingly enough, the official MSI reviewers guide that was sent over to use didn't mention anything about idle temperature or noise performance with the 'Cyclone' cooler, but now we know why.  It really only makes a notable difference when the video card is at full load. The MSI 'Military Class' components on this card looked like nothing more than some nifty marketing by MSI as the card is based on the NVIDIA reference design and uses the same general class of components from what we could tell. 
    When it comes to availability of GeForce GTX 460 video cards there is absolutely no shortage of them on the market right now.  In fact, a quick look at Newegg shows that 26 different cards are available for you to pick from in this series. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 pricing starts at $189 and goes all the way up to $259 and Newegg is doing a promotion where you get a free Starcraft2 trial coupon with all of the cards. If you want a 1GB card like the one we reviewed here today, then pricing starts at $219 and goes to $259. The MSI N460GTX CYCLONE 1GD5/OC costs $234.99 shipped at Newegg.com or $238.99 shipped at Buy.com. This puts the MSI N460GTX Cyclone right in the middle of the pack for 1GB cards and we'd say the slight premium is worth it. You get a card with a very nice cooler on it and it overclocks perfectly with the MSI AfterBurner software utility. 
    All MSI video cards are warranted by a 3 year limited warranty. MSI informed us that you do not need to register the card to get the three year warranty, but they highly advise registering the video card as soon as you get it. They also said that you must pay the shipping and handling fees for the video card to reach them, but they will ship it back to you free of charge if it is under warranty. This is better than some other brands like Palit and Galaxy as they only offer one and two-year warranties, respectively. 





    Tech2in Bottom Line: The MSI N460GTX Cyclone graphics card comes factory overclocked and has tons more headroom left in it that can be easily unlocked with the MSI AfterBurner overclocking software utility.  

    2 comments:

    mahasiswa teladan said...

    hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

    Blogger said...

    Using RentalCars you can discover cheap car rentals at over 49000 locations globally.

     

    TECHS2IN Copyright © 2013Terms & Condtions -- Powered by Techs2In