Amazing SLI Scaling: Do Two GeForce GTX 460s Beat One GTX 480?

The GeForce GTX 460 has already proven itself an excellent value as a single card, but can two of them offer superior performance at similar cost to Nvidia’s flagship GTX 480? Let's just say that there's a good reason to buy an SLI-compatible motherboard.

Graphics giants Nvidia and AMD continuously run up against the limits of manufacturing technology in their effort to release revolutionary products every eighteen months.

Feeding the habits of performance enthusiasts isn't easy. For evidence, just look back at the state of delirium Nvidia's faithful were in following months of production delays for the GeForce GTX 480. The graphics card that eventually emerged was as hot and expensive as it was powerful (a combination of qualities that the brand-loyal seem to appreciate much more than us).

Those same qualities did not lend themselves to the embracing of lower-cost derivative models, so our disappointment in the GeForce GTX 465 probably didn’t surprise anyone. Some serious tweaks would be required before this technology was ready for the mid-priced masses.

That much-needed evolution came in the form of Nvidia’s GF104 GPU. At less than half of the price of the GeForce GTX 480, Nvidia’s 1 GB GeForce GTX 460 delivered class-leading performance and much lower heat, with such high value that it earned our coveted Recommended Buy award. We were in fact so impressed by the GeForce GTX 460’s performance that we had to wonder, would two of these overtake the flagship GTX 480 in benchmarks? Sparkle Computer was gracious enough to send over the cards we needed to find the answer.

Note to AMD enthusiasts: The focus of today’s article is on GeForce GTX 460 SLI performance relative to the GeForce GTX 480. For a detailed analysis of how the GeForce GTX 480 compares to multi-GPU Radeon configurations, including the Radeon HD 5970 and Radeon HD 5870 in CrossFire, please consider Don Woligroski’s Asus ARES review.

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  • nesters
    It would be great to see how GTX460 SLI competes with HD5970.
  • Stupido
    wow, nice scaling...
  • r_Rozx
    This is awesome but I fel fine with one GTX 470 .
  • aje21
    So, the red team idea of going for a mid-range processor and running two if you need more power seems to be working out for the green team quite nicely!
    I wonder how quad 460 compares to dual 480...
  • madogre
    I would love to see some NV surround benchmarks.
  • jamie_macdonald
    Very nierformance for the price, i have a 480 so i need not go there, but it's impressive to see the improvments,

    I have jsut one curiosity and that is i have a stock (Zotac) gtx480 and my temperatures are 70 degrees c in the worst of circumstance but normally on load lay around 60 or so, the temperatures do not seem to match with my real life experience,

    would be nice to see the radeon 5970 and SLI gtx480 thrown into the mix to see a comparison..

    very nice to see that some people will get less ripped off due the the now impending competition, saving money for the masses = ftw! xD
  • Gonemad
    It is obvious that Crysis enjoy powerful boards. Perhaps two 480s combined would prove interesting... and beyond any regular pockets...
  • williehmmm
    I think we also need some 2D surround screen, single screen 3D Vision and 3D surround benchmarks, in comparison with some eyefinity benchmarks. Just to see if all that extra power can get used and where it may fall short.
  • lewdawg
    madogreI would love to see some NV surround benchmarks.

    You cannot quad the gtx 460's. they can only sli...
  • Anonymous
    I would have liked to see 5870 CF vs 460 SLI - as this seems a logical comparison?
  • dingmatt
    lewdawgYou cannot quad the gtx 460's. they can only sli...

    NV surround only needs sli.
  • Griffolion
    nestersIt would be great to see how GTX460 SLI competes with HD5970.

    I don't think they would really come close to competing with the 5970 but the price difference between the two options give a strong possibility for an individual going for dual 460's as you get great performance for a lower cost, the 5970's extra performance over the 460 SLI setup comes at a premium cost that many won't be able to stretch to AND and more frames generated by said performance increase will just be wasted on all standard 60hz screens anyway.

    Still, both options in themselves are going to please the user.
  • david__t
    AMD really needs to get their acts together with Crossfire as the scaling compared to SLi is terrible. There should always be AT LEAST a 70% increase with 2 cards over 1 but some games in crossfire barely registers a 30% increase! Good job on these numbers nVidia.
  • Laxblade
    in 06/MARK MY "PALIT" 768Mb GTX 460 sli, is getting everything turned up to a mixture of high and med. (IN HEAVEN 2.1) CPU i5 750 2.66Ghz 1920x1200

    = 17,568

    Im new to the forum guys so please if you have anything to say to me, please send me a message.. cheers!
  • CoDFan
    Here is how two GTX460 Compete with only one HD5970. GTXs are slower in some games.