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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

Editor's Opinion: NVIDIA Fermi

My opinion of NVIDIA's Fermi architecture has changed over the past several months, as they've developed their graphics processor to fully embody the originally unclear long-term plan. Testing with NVIDIA's GF100 GPU held its own set of challenges, and many times the video cards based on this graphics processor seemed condemned by the inherited legacy of issues. From the flagship GeForce GTX 480 down to the GTX 465, Fermi impressed gamers with strong FPS performance... and that was about it. Thermal output and power consumption were unfashionably high, to which ATI constantly and consistently focused their marketing attacks. Then along comes GF104 on the GeForce GTX 460, a video card that completely changed the game.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 not only changed the collective opinion regarding their Fermi architecture, it also changed the GPU landscape. ATI held the upper hand by releasing a DirectX-11 video card first, but they've painted themselves into a corner with their Evergreen GPU. Unlike NVIDIA's Fermi architecture, which can shape-shift as desired, ATI's Cedar, Redwood, and Juniper GPUs are all simply slices of the same processor: Cypress. This is where intelligent consumers will spot the flaw: ATI came to the (video) card game and showed their entire hand from the first deal, while NVIDIA had a few spare aces up their sleeves. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 480 is only 15/16 of the complete GF100 package, and we're just beginning to see what's possible with a 7/8-whole GF104 GPU with GTX 460. It's unknown what NVIDIA has planned for GF102 and GF108... but now we know that GF104 made good on Fermi and GF106 made is supremely affordable.

I don't like to guess at the future, especially since so many other websites exist for this purpose, but something tells me NVIDIA is stock-piling full-blown 512-core GF100 Fermi processors for an upcoming launch. Whether or not we will see GF102 or GF108 GPUs launched this year (2010) is still unclear, but it doesn't appear that AMD has any surprises for the upcoming holiday season. The true potential of NVIDIA's Fermi architecture has still yet to be seen, as in the full 512 CUDA cores. Sure, we've already poked around at the inner workings for our NVIDIA GF100 GPU Fermi Graphics Architecture article, but there's so much more that goes untested. Current [email protected] clients take advantage of Fermi's architecture and make CPU-based folding obsolete. The difference between work unit performance on the GeForce GTX 400-series surpasses ATI's Radeon HD 5000 series equivalents without much struggle, and CPUs become more like snail-mail compared to e-mail.


NVIDIA GeForce Fermi Graphics Card Family

So now ATI and NVIDIA are even-Steven in the running for DirectX-11, and all that they need are video games to increase demand for their product. This becomes a real problem (for them both) because very few existing games demand any more graphical processing power than games demanded back in 2006. Video cards have certainly gotten bigger and faster, but video games have lacked fresh development. DirectX-10 helped the industry, but every step forward received two steps back because of the dislike for Microsoft's Windows Vista O/S. Introduced with Windows 7 (and also available for Windows Vista with an update), enthusiasts now have DirectX-11 detail and special effects in their video games.

Even if you're only after raw gaming performance and have no real-world interest in CUDA, there's reason to appreciate the GF100 GPU series. New enhancement products, such as the NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision Gaming Kit, double the demands on frame rate output and hence require more powerful graphics processing. This is where Fermi-based products deliver the performance necessary to enjoy the extended gaming experience. I'm a huge fan of GeForce 3D-Vision, which is why it's earned our Editor's Choice Award, and Fermi delivers the power necessary to drive up to three monitors. The newly dubbed NVIDIA 3D-Vision Surround (stereo) feature requires three 3D-Vision capable LCD, projector, or DLP devices and offers bezel correction support. Alternatively, NVIDIA Surround (non-stereo) supports mixed displays with common resolution/timing.

Some older game titles will also benefit from the Fermi architecture, beyond a simple increase in video frame rates. For example, Far Cry 2 (among others) will receive 32x CSAA functionality native to the game, but future NVIDIA Forceware driver updates could also further add new features into existing co-developed video games. NVIDIA's R260 Forceware release will be among the first to introduce new features enthusiasts have been wanting for quite some time, my favorite is the removal of previous driver files and extensions. Additionally, NVIDIA NEXUS technology brings CPU and GPU code development together in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 for a shared process timeline. NEXUS also introduces the first hardware-based shader debugger. NVIDIA's GF100-series are the first GPUs to ever offer full C++ support, the programming language of choice among game developers.

Fermi is also the first GPU to support Error Correcting Code (ECC) based protection of data in memory. ECC was requested by GPU computing users to enhance data integrity in high performance computing environments. ECC is a highly desired feature in areas such as medical imaging and large-scale cluster computing. Naturally occurring radiation can cause a bit stored in memory to be altered, resulting in a soft error. ECC technology detects and corrects single-bit soft errors before they affect the system. Fermi's register files, shared memories, L1 caches, L2 cache, and DRAM memory are ECC protected, making it not only the most powerful GPU for HPC applications, but also the most reliable. In addition, Fermi supports industry standards for checking of data during transmission from chip to chip. All NVIDIA GPUs include support for the PCI Express standard for CRC check with retry at the data link layer. Fermi also supports the similar GDDR5 standard for CRC check with retry (aka "EDC") during transmission of data across the memory bus.



# 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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