Should I Upgrade My GeForce GTX 460 to a GeForce GTX 960 Video Card?

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Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.  There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we’ve always done our testing ‘hot’ since the site started back more than a decade ago. Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:

  • AMD CATALYST Omega (14.12)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 347.25

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix GPU Cooler

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard with BIOS 1501 that came out on 01/15/2014. We went with the Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E processor to power this platform as it is PCIe 3.0 certified, so all graphics cards are tested with PCI Express Gen 3 enabled. The Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary 16GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to XMP Profile #2. This profile defaults to 2133MHz with 1.65v and 11-12-12-30 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD was run with latest firmware available. A Corsair AX860i digital power supply provides clean power to the system and is also silent as the fan hardly ever spins up. This is critical to our testing as it lowers the ambient noise level of the room and gives us more accurate sound measurements than the old Corsair AX1200 power supply that we used from 2012 till this year had a loud fan that always ran. gpu-test-system-specs Here are the exact hardware components that we are using on our test system:

The Intel X79 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor Intel Core i7-4960X
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79-E WS
Memory
16GB Kingston 2133MHz
Video Card Various
Solid-State Drive OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
Cooling Intel TS13X (Asetek)
Power Supply Corsair AX860i
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
Monitor Sharp PN-K321 32″ 4K

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB Card GPU-Z Info: 460-gpuz gttx460-idle ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC 2GB Card GPU-Z Info: GTX 960 GPU-Z   gtx960-idle

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  • somesome11

    I have a GTX 460, but I swear I got a weird one or something, because that thing puts out enough heat to raise the temperature of the bedroom it is in by several degrees, so I’m looking to replace it. From the benchmarks it looks like the 970 gets even hotter?!

    My GTX 460 also says, according to the onboard sensors, that it gets up to around 65 degrees C, but after that it seems to crash so I have to have the fan on the thing at 100% all the time. I have no idea how you’re keeping them at 60 degrees F, I have a HAF 932 case so I don’t think there should be any significant buildup of heat going on.

    • Slade0113

      I have two Nvidia 460’s in SLI that were temping around 73C at load. Try blowing the dust out of your card(s) and applying new thermal compound. I did last year and reduced their avg. temps by more than ten degrees C. That was with a two year old tube of OCZ Freeze. Probably better with a new tube of Arctic Silver. Thermal paste can get dried and gummy after six years, losing its efficacy. 🙂 Anyway, don’t discount the need for occasional maintenance on PC equipment. Especially if you have wall-to-wall carpeting or pets. Since you’re having trouble with stability, that could be your issue. The HAF 932 is an excellent case, but make sure you’re positively pressurizing it as much as possible. (More intake than exhaust.) Makes a big difference for dust control. I’ve discovered recently that my filtered intake EVGA Supernova G2 1000w PSU was sucking in dust from the gap between the case and PSU, inside the case! Massive dust bomb when blown out last week. I’m looking into some sort of weatherstripping solution. Anyway, all that to say it’s an important issue. The 60 Deg F was probably a typo. Happens to the best of us. 60 Deg C is still a great temp @ load.

  • Dansolo

    Another day, another reviewer that doesn’t understand the difference between “faster” and “as fast as.” 2 is 100% greater than 1. 2 is 200% the size of 1. When you say “faster,” you have to exclude the initial value of 100%.

  • Adriana Tomic

    What about the GTX 460 with 2GB memory? ..I have that one,so I am curious about that

  • RDA

    Wonder what the comparison is for two 460’s in SLI.

  • joe

    I’m confused. How is it that the memory bandwidth is more on the 460? Does it even matter?

  • I was hoping to see performance comparisons AFTER over clocking both cards to their max clock speed obtainable on the provided coolers. I run my 1GB 460 at 800mhz clock for example and it gets me a lot more mileage in modern games. I’m also not entirely interested in the 960’s performance at out of the box speeds that I will be changing the moment I install it. Really appreciate the article for what it is, however

    • Nathan Kirsch

      yeah, that is the big concern as no two people are going to be running the same speeds. I can re-do the testing at higher clock speeds, but if I increase the clock speeds by 20% on both cards the performance difference would remain about the same.

  • ramonzarat

    I was hoping for a complete x60 series comparison show down: GTX 260, 460, 560, 660, 760 and 960, single and SLI, on 2 platforms, the good old i7-920 @ 4Ghz and i7-4770K also @ 4Ghz.

    That would have been an amazing article showing the GPU evolution and CPU scaling. Great article nevertheless.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I have nearly 300 video cards on hand, but I gave all my 560’s and 660’s away to staff and friends. 🙁

    • Eddie Jewell

      yes this is what i have been wanting to see myself!

  • JamesMaseoBrown

    How is obtaining healthcare comparable to natural disasters? And how does that tie into deciding whether or not to upgrade a video card? Keep your politics out of your articles, because not everyone is a wingnut and agrees with you.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I was merely stating some of the big events that happened in 2010 that people might remember. I wasn’t bring politics into the article or saying the ACA is bad. Obviously it can be read in a manner other than I envisioned.

      • Seerak

        I’d have said “wingnut, heal thyself” seeing as he’s the one seeing politics everywhere. I wouldn’t sweat his sort, Nathan.

    • SaneThinker

      Anyone who off the bat uses “wingnut” as an insult doesn’t have any right to judge someone else’s political views, or claim a false moral high ground.