Introducing the Cards
The MSI N465GTX-M2D1G
The MSI N465GTX is based on NVIDIA's reference design and was called in to provide a baseline reference of the GeForce GTX 465 SKU. It uses NVIDIA's reference cooler and sports reference clock speeds, which means 607MHz at the core, 1215MHz at the shaders and 3208MHz DDR at the memory.
However, this reference design card from MSI differentiates itself by offering full functionality with MSI's own Afterburner overclocking utility, which means you get to tweak the card's clock speeds as well as core voltage value. Hopefully this will give it an edge over others in our overclocking test.
The Gigabyte GTX 465
The Gigabyte GTX 465 is special because it uses its own customized cooler instead of NVIDIA's reference one. The cooler is the same we've seen on the awesome Gigabyte HD 5870 Super Overclock, and it's instantly recognizable thanks to its twin fans and its inclined fan design. The fans on this card are in fact directed at the heatsink below at an angle. This supposedly reduces turbulence and increases cooling efficiency.
Custom cooler aside, the Gigabyte GTX 465 also comes with the usual Gigabyte Ulta Durable VGA components, which includes 2 oz copper in the PCB, Japanese-made solid capacitors, ultra-fast top tier Samsung/Hynix memory, ferrite chokes and low RDS(on) MOSFETs, all of which help improve overall power and cooling efficiency, as well as overclocking performance.
Unfortunately, despite the card's rich set of features, Gigabyte has strangely decided to go with NVIDIA's reference clock speeds.