ASUS ENGTX460 TOP 768MB Video Card Review

The ASUS ENGTX460 TOP 768MB delivers boosted frequencies, a unique cooling solution with large 8mm heat-pipes, and Voltage Tweak. However, is that enough to best a reference GTX 460 768MB and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB?

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Arma II: Operation Arrowhead

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ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead is a military simulator developed by Bohemia Interactive, featuring realistic simulations of battles in a fictional middle-eastern nation called Takistan. During our testing, we found that optimizing performance in Operation Arrowhead was less about improving framerates, and more about improving the responsiveness of controls. With high settings, we sometimes observed relatively high framerates even when there was so much input lag and choppiness that the game was simply not playable. For our testing scenario, we loaded up the single-player scenario called "A Walk In The Hills", in which our Army unit was sent to investigate sightings of armed militia in a small desert village.


Highest Playable Settings

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In Arma II: Operation Arrowhead the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 both were playable at 1680x1050, no AA, "Very High" AF, and the same in-game settings. The ATI Radeon HD 5770 was also playable at 1680x1050, no AA, and "Very High" AF. However Texture Detail had to be decreased to "Normal" and Visibility had to be decreased to "1804."

In contrast to games like Unreal Tournament and Crysis getting shot once can mean death in Arma II: Operation Arrowhead and the outcome of a battle is often decided on who can aim and pull the trigger first. Being a realistic FPS, it demands smoothness. This is why the Radeon HD 5770 had to use such lower settings because as soon as we started a shoot out there would be slight unresponsiveness as our framerates took a nose dive. The same framerate nose dives happened with the ENGTX460 TOP and the GeForce GTX 460 however the performance of these video cards was high enough that it wasn’t as notable and was still playable.

This naturally means we had the best gameplay experience with the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460. This also means however that the ENGTX460 TOP didn’t provide us with any gameplay advantages and only a slight performance advantage. So the meager boosted frequencies of the ENGTX460 TOP didn’t help us here.


Apples-to-Apples

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For the apples-to-apples testing in Arma II: Operation Arrowhead we used the highest playable settings of the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP. While the average framerate of the ATI Radeon HD 5770 in the A2A graph and our highest playable testing may be close actually taking a look at the graphs tells a different story. Note how much smoother framerates are in the highest playable section compared with the A2A graph. This is why average framerates can be misleading since they don’t really tell you want is going on in the game or how responsive it is.


Image Quality

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Above for our comparison image we are showing the difference between visibility settings. Note on the left with the ASUS ENGTX460 TOP the haze is pushed back to the furthest hill and the hill itself has a rounded top. In contrast on the right with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 the second furthest hill has haze and the furthest hill doesn’t even look like a hill but a range of hills.