It took more time than expected but finally Nvidia was able to counterattack and turn around the tables on ATI last month with the release of the GeForce GTX 460. This is the first product on Nvidia's current-gen offerings that will make their competition sweat. Seriously, the GeForce GTX 460 has it all, the right price, amazing performance, unbelievable overclocking headroom and excellent efficiency.
Not surprisingly this release forced ATI to make a few price cuts, most prominently the Radeon HD 5830 is now available for $200. But that's not going to be enough to steal the new GeForce's thunder. We still prefer the GeForce GTX 460 as there are many factory overclocked 1GB boards that cost around $230 and deliver performance that can match the Radeon HD 5850 and in some cases the GeForce GTX 470.
When wrapping up our initial GeForce GTX 460 coverage on launch day we mentioned the interesting thought of running two 1GB cards in SLI which would cost a whisker less than $500. This matches the price of a single GeForce GTX 480 that on paper would appear to be the slower alternative.
Many gamers found a similar situation when the Radeon HD 5770 was released. When placed in Crossfire mode using two cards, these could keep pace with the more expensive Radeon HD 5850 and in some cases beat the GeForce GTX 470. For roughly $300 this was a killer combination, but no longer, of course.
Those looking for top notch gaming performance without having to spend more than $400 will likely be interested in what the GeForce GTX 460 (768MB) SLI configuration has to offer. At $400 the GeForce duo will be slightly more expensive than a single Radeon HD 5870, which recently received a slight price drop and can now be found in the $370 range. Then further up the ATI ladder we have the Radeon HD 5970 at $670, it will be interesting to see how the GeForce GTX 460 SLI cards compare.
Despite our reluctance in recommending dual graphics cards as an upfront solution in the past, recent tests have showed SLI scales very well in a huge variety of games nowadays. So are GeForce GTX 460 SLI cards the killer combination for PC gamers today? We'll find out next.