The Gigabyte GTX 460's are supplied in a box with possibly the coolest artwork I have seen this year. What is there not to like about giant blue robotic eyes?
The bundle contains a couple of power adapters if you are running an older power supply, a driver CD, manual and a very handy mini HDMI to HDMI converter. It is not often we see these litle converters included in the bundle, so bonus points for Gigabyte.
The Gigabyte cards are supplied with a rather attractive glossy black cooler with a dual fan configuration for additional cooling prowess Gigabyte call this the WINDFORCE 2x cooling design which is meant to lower air flow turbulence.
In Gigabytes words: “By unique design, WINDFORCE 2X even enlarges air channel on the graphics card vents and creates a more effective air flow system in chassis. This special design helps heat dissipate quickly from GPU. In addition, WINDFORCE 2X is equipped with 2 copper heat-pipes which strengthen the speed of heat dissipation.”
These fans are bolted to a two heatpipe heatsink and this is a larger design than the reference model so it should in theory be able to remove more heat. The fans blow directly onto the PCB and memory below, meaning greater cooling performance. Negatively this hot air is pushed into the chassis and not out the back.
The VRM's have a small dedicated heatsink which is always good to notice … this will also get a high level of airflow from the dual fan configuration.
The heatsink is a reference AMD design although it is finished in Gigabyte's famous blue colour, which looks great. The GF104 has been overclocked from 675mhz to 715mhz which also means the stream processors have increased in speed from 1,350mhz to 1,430mhz. For some reason Gigabyte haven't touched the memory, which is an unusual decision for an OC board – it is running at the reference speeds of 900mhz (3,600mhz effective) … but we will see how far we can crank it later.
The PCB is a 2oz Copper design which doubles the density of copper inner layer compared to a reference designed card. Japanese Solid Capacitors are used throughout to offered improved electronic conductivity. Gigabyte have also used Ferrite Cores/Metal Chokes which basically means that they are able to store energy longer and prevent rapid energy loss at high frequency. These technologies lead to an apparent 10-30% improvement in power switching loss and 5-10% GPU temperature reductions.
The cards have two dual link DVI connectors, with a mini HDMI port – the mini HDMI converter cable is supplied which means all you need is a HDMI cable for connectivity to your TV or monitor. They require two 6 pin power connectors which follow the reference design.