Legit Video Card Reviews
MSI GeForce N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 Overclocked Video Card Review
|Product:||N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5 OC|
|Date:||Wed, Aug 04, 2010 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Nathan Kirsch -|
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.
Pictured above is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 reference card and below is the MSI N460GTX.
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.
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 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!
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.
This 90mm (9cm) fan is said to have 40% more airflow, but is also 15.7% quieter than the NVIDIA reference design.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 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
Next Page - Retail Box and Bundle
Page 1 - The MSI N460GTX Cyclone Video Card
Page 2 - A Closer Look at the N460GTX Cyclone
Page 3 - Retail Box and Bundle
Page 4 - GeForce GTX 460 Test Settings
Page 5 - Batman: Arkham Asylum
Page 6 - Resident Evil 5
Page 7 - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Page 8 - 3DMark Vantage
Page 9 - Unigine 'Heaven' DX11
Page 10 - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Page 11 - Aliens vs. Predator
Page 12 - FurMark 1.8.2
Page 13 - Power Consumption
Page 14 - Temperature Testing
Page 15 - MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Overclocking
Page 16 - Final Thoughts and Conclusions