Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 review

£260
Price when reviewed

Nvidia’s first two Fermi graphics cards were a disappointment. We’d waited six months for Nvidia’s new architecture, which was supposed to answer ATI’s Radeon HD 5000-series; but when the GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470 arrived they were hotter, louder and more expensive than rival cards — with no noticeable performance advantage.

Now, the GeForce GTX 465 is Fermi’s first tentative step into the mainstream, as Nvidia begins to flesh out the range. It’s based on the same GF100 core as its more powerful brothers, so you still get support for DirectX 11, Shader Model 5 and the latest CUDA programming extensions.

But the shader count is down to 352, a big drop from the 448 and 480 stream processors offered by the higher models. Memory is reduced too, to 1GB of GDDR5, while clock speeds remain more or less in line with the GTX 470.

Our 3D benchmarks revealed the effect of these changes. Where the original GeForce GTX 480 averaged 40fps in Crysis at 1,920 x 1,200 with very high detail, the GTX 465 could manage only 26fps. For comparison, ATI’s nearest equivalent, the Radeon HD 5850, scored 33fps in the same test. Dropping to 1,600 x 1,200, the GTX 465 averaged 53fps at high quality and 31fps at very high quality — again behind the 5850, which averaged 62fps and 38fps in the same tests.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 465

These results were mirrored in our Stalker: Call of Pripyat benchmark, which also taxes a card’s DirectX 11 capabilities. Where the GTX 480 had scored 79fps with very high settings at 1,920 x 1,200, the 465 card managed only 58fps, while the Radeon averaged 70fps. At 1,600 x 1,200 with high quality settings, the 465 averaged 73fps, while the HD 5850 was almost 20fps faster.

The GTX 465’s reduced specification makes it less power-hungry than earlier Fermi cards. Our Core i7-920 test rig, equipped with a GTX 465 card, drew 133W when idle and 289W under maximum load – 117W less than with a GTX 480. Again, though, the ATI card fared better, giving a total system load of just 122W idle and 231W under stress.

The GTX 465 is also quieter than its predecessors: it’s no noisier than the HD 5850, and it’s almost the same size, so it’s easy to fit into a wider range of cases.

But since the Radeon HD 5850 can be had for well under £200 exc VAT it’s clear the GTX 465 can’t compete. To be sure, the new card is a more realistic proposition than its loud, hot and power-hungry predecessors. And the Fermi architecture has undoubted advantages for specialist computing applications, thanks to the CUDA framework. But when it comes to playing games at high street prices, Nvidia still can’t catch up with ATI.

Core Specifications

Graphics card interface PCI Express
Cooling type Active
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 465
Core GPU frequency 607MHz
RAM capacity 1,024MB
Memory type GDDR5

Standards and compatibility

DirectX version support 11.0
Shader model support 5.0
Multi-GPU compatibility Two-way SLI

Connectors

DVI-I outputs 2
DVI-D outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
7-pin TV outputs 0
Graphics card power connectors 2 x 6-pin

Benchmarks

3D performance (crysis) low settings 126fps
3D performance (crysis), medium settings 85fps
3D performance (crysis) high settings 53fps

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