Nvidia has added a new graphics card to its mid-range lineup: the GeForce GTX 460 SE. This card is positioned as an alternative—and perhaps an eventual replacement—to the current GeForce 460 768MB. It will cost the same and, according to Nvidia, deliver similar performance.
The new GTX 460 SE offers 288 stream processors, a 650MHz core clock speed, a 1300MHz shader speed, and a 256-bit memory interface connected to 1GB of 3.4Gbps GDDR5 RAM. Nvidia tells us the ROP count is the same as on the GeForce GTX 460 1GB, as well. By contrast, the older GTX 460 768MB part comes with 336 stream processors, a core clock speed of 675MHz, a 1350MHz shader speed, a 192-bit memory interface, and 768MB of 3.6Gbps GDDR5 RAM.
The increase in memory from 768MB to 1GB will likely offer benefits to gamers wanting to play at higher resolutions. These benchmarks provide a graphic (sorry, had to be done) reminder of the performance penalty the GTX 460 768MB typically suffers once resolutions are cranked up. However, Nvidia says the GTX 460 SE offers lower shader and tessellation performance than the GTX 460 768MB, and the two cards will coexist. It would be unusual for two variants of the same GPU to sell at around the same price for very long, though.
Given the recent release of the Radeon HD 6800 series, it may be that Nvidia was feeling some pressure on the GTX 460 768MB part. The new Radeon HD 6850 packs 1GB of RAM and performs better in our tests, although it also costs a few bucks more. The performance improvements offered by the GTX 460 SE remains to be seen, of course, but Nvidia has at least addressed the memory discrepancy.