GeForce GTX 460 with 384 cores

It’s been almost a month since Nvidia unveiled the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480, and for its first DirectX 11-enabled cards, the California-based company has garnered a lot of tart comments from the industry press.

DirectX 11 – will there be a revolution in graphics?

The presence on the market of the latest Nvidia cards supporting the DirectX 11 API also looks very poor; the reason for this is the relatively large number of defective chips created from a single silicon wafer. Poor production results of GF-100 graphics chips manufactured by Taiwanese company TSMC in 40-nanometer technology also contribute to other troubles.

Analysts at Needham & Company have already learned their lesson and changed their recommendation for Nvidia shares from “Strong Buy” to “Hold” on April 16 – citing low production profitability (at 20 to 30 percent) and the danger of further delays. After the recommendation was downgraded, the company’s stock price fell from about $18 to currently $16.38.

The management of Nvidia has no intention of watching idly and in about five weeks will present more graphics cards that support the DirectX 11 API. At the start of the Computex fair, which is on June 1, representatives of the corporation intend to present the GeForce GTX 460 card. Such rumors have reached the editorial heise online from sources in East Asia. According to unofficial information, the graphics chip of this card will have 384 computing cores (so-called shaders). Interestingly, there are quite a few chances that these chips as truncated versions of GTX480 will contain physically more computing units. The manufacturer will deactivate those that are not functional or do not pass all tests. Due to the predetermined specification, the manufacturer will disable more units than necessary. The implication is that many of the deactivated units will be functional and may be able to be unlocked for advanced users.

Expreview reported two weeks ago that the GPU will communicate with 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus. We also know that the GeForce GTX 460 will be priced at about the same level as the Radeon HD 5850.

Incidentally, a WHQL driver (197.55) has been released for the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480, which allows up to four of these graphics cards to run simultaneously in Quad-SLI mode under Windows 7 and Vista (32- and 64-bit drivers). Such a set certainly cannot be air-cooled; after all, at the time of the cards’ presentation in Paris, Nvidia’s Tom Petersen recommended water cooling even for Triple-SLI chips.

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