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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 13 September 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video Card
NVIDIA Fermi Features
NVIDIA GF106 GPU Specifications
GeForce GTS 450 Partner Products
Closer Look: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX10: Far Cry 2
DX10: Resident Evil 5
DX10: Street Fighter IV
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
NVIDIA APEX PhysX Enhancements
NVIDIA 3D-Vision Effects
GeForce GTS 450 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
GeForce GTS 450 Overclocking
Editor's Opinion: NVIDIA Fermi
GeForce GTS 450 Conclusion

GeForce GTS 450 Overclocking

NVIDIA's recent GF104 graphics processors proved itself capable of serious overclocking, and the new GF106 is no different. In fact, the GeForce GTS 450 is an overclockers dream. Already sold with an impressive stock clock speed of 783/1566 MHz, NVIDIA's GF106-equipped GTS 450 is 108/216 MHz faster than the GeForce GTX 460. With 1GB of GDDR5 running at 902 MHz (3608 effective) on the GTS 450, the Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05 memory speeds are nearly identical. Putting this into perspective, GTS 450 processor speeds fall between the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480 (closer to the former), and it has a much faster memory clock.

Now comes the fun part: overclocking the GeForce GTS 450 is as easy as its ever been. My mission was simple: locate the highest possible GPU and GDDR5 overclock without adding any additional voltage. Hardcore overclockers can get even more performance out of the hardware when additional voltage is applied, but the extra power increases operating temperatures and can cause permanent damage to sensitive electronic components.

Software Overclocking Tools

Back in the day, software overclocking tools were few and far between. Benchmark Reviews was literally put on the map with my first article: Overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce Video Card. Although slightly dated, that article is still relevant for enthusiasts wanting to permanently flash their overclocked speeds onto the video cards BIOS. Unfortunately, most users are not so willing to commit their investment to such risky changes, and feel safer with temporary changes that can be easily undone with a reboot. That's the impetus behind the sudden popularity for software-based GPU overclocking tools.

NVIDIA offers one such tool with their System Tools suite, formerly named NVIDIA nTune. While the NVIDIA Control Panel interface is very easy to understand an navigate, it's downfall lies in the limited simplicity of the tool. It's also limited, and doesn't offer the overclocking potential that AIC partners offer in their own branded software tools. RivaTuner is another great option, developed by Alexey Nicolaychuk, which he then modified and branded for various graphics card manufacturers to produce EVGA Precision and MSI Afterburner. Although they're based on the same software foundation, they're don't offer the same functionality.


EVGA Precision Overclocking Utility (v2.0.0)

Upon startup, the EVGA Precision tuning tool offered a small graph with GPU temperature and usage as well as fan speed percentage and tachometer. The GPU core and shader clocks are linked by default, and were adjustable to 1255/2510 MHz for the GTS 450. Memory clock speed could be adjusted up to 2164 MHz (double data rate), while fan speed stopped at 70% power. Next came MSI Afterburner...


MSI Afterburner Overclocking Utility (v2.0.0)

When I started MSI's Afterburner "Graphics Card Performance Booster", the first apparent difference was the added GPU core voltage option. MSI Afterburner allowed the GTS 450 adjustments up to 1162 mV, while EVGA Precision lacked this option. The GPU core and shader clocks are linked by default, and adjustable up to the same 1255/2510 MHz for the GTS 450. Another difference was available with memory clock speeds, which could be adjusted up to 2345 DDR (compared to only 2164 MHz with EVGA Precision). Fan speed adjustments stopped at 70% power, and the charts (not shown) can be detached and repositioned. It appears that Alexey Nicolaychuk gives overclockers more options with MSI's Afterburner.

Overclocking Results

Using MSI Afterburner to overclock the GeForce GTS 450, I began overclocking this video cards 783/1566 MHz graphics processor first. As a best practice, it's good to find the maximum stable GPU clock speed and then drop back 10 MHz or more. While the GeForce GTS 450 was stable in several short low-impact tests up to 990/1980 MHz, there were occasional graphical defects. Once put into action with high-demand video games, I decided that 950/1900 MHz with full-time stability is a far better proposition than crashing out midway through battle. Still, a solid 167/334 MHz GPU overclock without any added voltage was very impressive.

Since my agenda was finding maximum performance from the GF106 graphics processor as well as 1GB GDDR5, I had more work ahead of me. NVIDIA clocks the GTS 450 video memory at 902 MHz (1804 MHz DDR - 3608 effective), however these Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05 modules are built for 1000 MHz. After some light benchmarking to see if my memory overclock was bumping up against the module's ECC, I decided that a 98 MHz overclock up to 1000 MHz (2000 MHz DDR - 4000 effective) was most ideal for this project. When the dust settled, the GF106 GPU operated at 950/1900 MHz while memory was clocked to 1000 MHz GDDR5 - allowing me to play Battlefield Bad Company 2 with an overclocked GeForce GTS 450 without stability issues. Now come the results:

Video Game Standard Overclocked Improvement
Crysis Warhead 16 19 19%
Far Cry 2 43.3 49.8 15%
Battlefield BC2 33.7 39.0 16%
Aliens vs Predator 17.7 20.5 16%
Battleforge 24.7 29.0 17%
Matro 2033 13.7 16.0 17%

On average, my stock-voltage overclock produced a 17% improvement in video game FPS performance (using extreme settings designed for high-end video cards). In games where the GeForce GTS 450 was in close proximity to the Radeon 5770, this overclock helped surpass performance. In other games, the added boost extended a lead over the 5770 and made it possible to enjoy higher quality settings. At this price point, budget gamers need everything they can get.

In the next section, I offer my opinion on Fermi's updated architecture...



# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardXeann 2010-09-12 22:06
It is unfortunate that the launch of this card took so long. However, the improve of performance in SLI is great.

thanks for the review
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardJason 2010-09-13 02:35
What do I get 5770 or gts 450 for gaming and multi media
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardRealNeil 2010-09-13 03:14
The GTS450 does more with the Fermi chip's features, but also has all of the 5770's capabilities.
We haven't been able to say this for a few years, but the NVIDIA cards are now the better deal.
Especially with the prices that they're coming in at.
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# The years long pop culture ideation quotedSiliconDoc 2010-09-13 13:30
Yeah, well I don't believe in the years long "assessment" the near entire online culture has been spewing about ati being the better value for several years.
1. Cuda
2. PhysX
3. Better/ easier driver installs/upgrades
4. A lot more stable drivers across the board
5. Ambient occlusion "in the driver update" new features w drivers
6. Folding superiority
7. Dual card scaling superiority, recently from good to outstanding
8. see #3 / no "mouse cursor disappears", no "cursor corruption" (seen since ati's all in wonder pci - a recurring issue for YEARS )
9. no dot net 2.0 requirements
10. superior control panel for a long, long time.
11. Since GTX200 series, LOTS of free software - including free 3d game Warmonger - works wonderfully with instant peer to peer gaming - destructive in game environment via PhysX.
12. Free Ray Tracing Design Garage since GTX200 = 400 series win7.
13. 2 frames 2 bucks and 2 watts
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-09-13 07:04
Probably the GeForce GTS 450 so that transcoding times are faster. I'd go for the GTX 460 if you can afford it.
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# late to the showknutjb 2010-09-13 06:15
The 450 looks like a good card for the price. I have had a 5770 since the launch and being so late to the market has hurt NVIDIA. I think they had to market it at a lower price, i.e. dump it, to try and regain some ground in this segment which is bigger profit wise than the silly money cards due to the volume.

The question will be when AMD will drop prices on the 57XX and when the 6XXX will come to market. If the 6XXX comes Q1-2 NVIDIA could have a big problem but that's a big if.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardOblivionLord 2010-09-13 08:24
The GTX260 should have been benched since it compares with the 5770.
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardOlin Coles 2010-09-13 08:46
Amazing. It's amazing that a 24-page article full of free information isn't enough to warrant anything but your feeble complaint.

The GTX 260 is not a DirectX-11 video card, which limits it to only half of the tests. Additionally, this isn't a 5770 review... it's a GTS 450 review. Nobody really cares how the GTX 260 compares with the 5770, and if they did, they could go read those reviews.
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# RE: RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardSiliconDoc 2010-09-13 13:38
Not much appreciation, huh. LOL
Here, I'll review for the great Lord, since I've seen 100 comparisons online, not certain where the great Lord has been, except perhaps in Oblivion.
The GTX260 is faster than the 5770, a bit more so than the 5770 has so far shown a slight advantage against the GTS450.
The deranged online pop culture fan community will scream the 450 competes with the 5750, as usual, pretending someone should listen to the free ati upgrade and nvidia downgrade, despite the available evidence. Do not be fooled, unless of course, you simply cannot help it.
If that's the case scream a few lies in reply.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GF106 Video CardDeranged 2010-09-14 04:31
nVidia has a far more superior driver update process. They are constantly adding more bang for your buck. And for those who did purchase and still use the GTX260 have produced a far more reliable product for years.

I will probably have a few good replies but I tried to run ATI but the load times on my games was un-bearable and when ATI was contacted they could only tell me "they are addressing the issue in the next driver update." Sorry I don't have 3 months to wait around for driver fixes. I bought the product so fix it. Plus I remember not to long ago when the ATI 800 AIW came out about 2 months later vista came out and what did ATI do to its loyal fan base. Oh that's right no driver support for any AIW cards in Vista, not that Vista was a good OS to begin with. So those like me that bought the card for nearly $300 dollars were SOL.
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# ThanksKlyster 2010-09-13 22:10
Cheers for another good review Olin, I appreciate your efforts.

Thanks to you I purchased the GTX 460 1GB, and it's a great card, if only I could get it to run Design Garage
It gives me a "not enough memory" error, bah!
Apart from that, just awesome performance for the $$
Anyone else run into this?
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# RE: ThanksOlin Coles 2010-09-14 06:53
The GTX 460 is an outstanding video card. How much system memory do you have installed? It sounds like a system memory/pagefile issue with that application.
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# RE: RE: ThanksKlyster 2010-09-15 21:58
8gb DDR3 , apparently a few other people have had the same issue, maybe a driver update may remedy this?
It's not that important really, but my old GTX 260 ran it fine with only 768 MB, go figure eh?
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# RE: RE: RE: ThanksOlin Coles 2010-09-15 22:00
The new Forceware 260.63 (beta) driver just came out, and adds several new fixes and optimizations. I highly recommend it.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: ThanksKlyster 2010-09-18 15:54
I tried them but still have the same issue, oh well, no biggie really ;)
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# King of the CongJordan 2010-11-24 05:17
F`ing great! Turned up "High" on Battlefield Badcompany 2. Only got 6gb's of Ram @1333mhz, 6mb Cache on Phenom II Dual Core @ 2.80Ghz. Not a single game gives me lip! Thnx America!
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