ASUS, EVGA, Zotac GeForce GTX 460 Cards Overclocked and Reviewedby Ryan Smith on July 12, 2010 8:00 AM EST
Zotac GeForce GTX 460 1GB
The second card in our GTX 460 roundup is Zotac’s GeForce GTX 460 1GB.
Whereas the EVGA card was a reference card in terms of hardware, the Zotac is our first non-reference GTX 460 hardware design. Starting with the PCB, it’s clearly based off of the reference NVIDIA PCB (including the rear-facing PCIe power plugs), but once you reach the output ports you quickly spot the difference.
Deviating from the NVIDIA reference design, Zotac has traded part of the ventilation space of the second slot for an additional port, very similar to AMD’s reference port configuration for the Radeon HD 5800 series. Instead of 2x DVI and a mini-HDMI port, Zotac has equipped their card with 2x DVI ports, a full-sized HDMI port, and a full-sized DisplayPort. In order to make room for the additional port, Zotac has moved the 2nd DVI port up to the second slot, partially obstructing the ventilation for the cooler. This marks the first DisplayPort-equipped GTX 400 series card that we’ve seen in our labs, although we need to remind our readers that even with a DisplayPort the GTX 460 can still only drive 2 monitors at once.
With the change in ports a change in the cooler is necessary. Zotac has forgone the NVIDIA reference cooler for a more compact version of the traditional blower and a suitable heatsink for this design. As a result the Zotac design is a fully shrouded and exhausting cooler, making it more suitable for use in cases with poor airflow. Unfortunately between the changes to the ports and the changes to the cooler, Zotac seems to have made a poor tradeoff – as we’ll see in our full GTX 460 review, the Zotac GTX 460 is both warmer and louder than a reference card. It makes for a very hard sale unless you need a GTX 460 with a DisplayPort.
Moving past the port and cooler changes, the card is otherwise reference. It’s clocked at 675MHz core, 900MHz (3.6GHz data rate) memory, offering the same level of performance as a reference 1GB GTX 460.
Rounding out the package is the usual collection of adapters, a driver CD, and a quick start manual. Zotac is also furnishing this card with some additional software. As is the case with most other 1GB GTX 460s, Zotac’s 1GB GTX 460 comes with a game: a full version of Prince of Persia - The Forgotten Sands. The other piece of pack-in software is Zotac’s Boost Premium software bundle, which contains a collection of software: vReaveal, a trial copy of Nero Vision Xtra, Cooliris, Kylo, and the (free) XMBC media center.
Finally, Zotac is issuing a limited lifetime warranty with this card. Surprisingly, despite the warranty and the non-reference modifications Zotac is not charging anything extra over NVIDIA’s MSRP, so the MSRP remains at $229. At this moment we expect the card to become available within the next 2 weeks just like the bulk of the other 1GB GTX 460 cards, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented for it to arrive earlier.