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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 Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

When it comes to performance, the GeForce GTS 450 is a true dichotomy. Most mainstream gamers play at 1280x1024 or 1680x1050 widescreen, which is very well suited for the GTS 450. On the other hand, it does extremely well at 1920x1200 when combined into an SLI set. For the $130 price segment, it overtakes AMD's Radeon HD 5750 in performance and competes well against the more-expensive Radeon HD 5770 when tested at appropriate game settings and monitor resolutions. Nearly every game we tested positioned the GTS 450 ahead of the Radeon HD 5750, while many games and benchmark tests showed how well it matches up with the 5770. Nearly all of the DirectX-10 benchmarks maintained this trend, and it wasn't until BattleForge, Aliens vs Predator, and Metro 2033 that we see the 5770 earn its keep and place ahead of GTS 450. While all stock-speed video cards can be pushed harder once overclocked, the GTS 450 offered so much headroom that it outperformed the Radeon HD 5770 in the majority of tests. Even despite it's mid-level GTS naming, two 450's combine to deliver very impressive SLI performance with nearly perfect 2:1 scaling. Without stealing the narrative of our NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 SLI Performance Scaling article, the Radeon 5850 and GeForce GTX 470 have good reason to be concerned.

Appearance is a more subjective matter since the rating doesn't have benchmark scores to fall back on. Many of NVIDIA's AIC partners have used custom cooling solutions in many of their own models, with at least one that's passively cooled. Most add-in card partners have added a custom cooling option, which is unnecessary for the GTS 450, and they exhaust heated air back into the computer case. The reference design expels heated air out through an externally exhausting vent, and in my opinion is the best choice for overclockers and SLI gamers.

Sparkle-GTX450-Passive.jpg

Sparkle GeForce GTS 450 Passive Video Card

In terms of video card pecking order, NVIDIA has three divisions: GTX for high-end, GTS for middle market, and GT for lower-end. The GeForce GTS 450 is the first Fermi video card designed for mainstream gamers, and it's also the first to utilize their new GF106 graphics processor. NVIDIA has their GTS 480/470/465/460 series, allowing the GeForce GTS 450 to become the fifth member of the Fermi family. Regardless of price, the GTS 450 fits between AMD's Radeon HD 5750 and 5770; although performance matches it up more closely to the 5770. GeForce GTS 450 has been designed with the same solid construction as its predecessors, and while the electronic components located along the back of the PCB expose the memory modules there's really no need for metal back-plate for protection or heat dissipation. The top-side of the graphics card features a protective plastic fan shroud, which receives a recessed concave opening for the 75mm fan and allows for airflow in SLI configurations.

While most PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts buy a discrete graphics card for the sole purpose of playing video games, there's a very small niche who depend on the extra features beyond video fast frame rates. NVIDIA is the market leader in GPGPU functionality, and it's no surprise to see CPU-level technology available in their GPU products. NVIDIA's Fermi architecture is the first GPU to ever support Error Correcting Code (ECC), a feature that benefits both personal and professional users. Proprietary technologies such as NVIDIA Parallel DataCache and NVIDIA GigaThread Engine further add value to GPGPU functionality. Additionally, applications such as Adobe Photoshop or Premier can take advantage of GPGPU processing power. In case the point hasn't already been driven home, don't forget that 3D Vision and PhysX are technologies only available through NVIDIA.

Defining product value means something different to everyone. Some readers take heat and power consumption into consideration, while others are only concerned with FPS performance and price. There are several ways to look at this video card and compare it to the closest rivals: such as the $120 AMD Radeon HD 5750 or $150 Radeon HD 5770. With regard to our value rating, the product's price to FPS performance is important and confirms the GeForce GTS 450 as one of the most affordable DirectX-11 video card products available. Launching on 13 September 2010, the GeForce GTS 450 will be immediately available at NewEgg and Amazon for $129.99. Several add-in card partners plan to offer a variety of stock and overclocked GeForce GTS 450 models, but my suggestion is to find a reference (external exhaust) model with no overclock so you can save the money and have fun finding the OC limit yourself. Watch for vendors offering bundled video games with the GTS 450, namely Starcraft II, which factors in to the value of the product.

$130 ASUS ENGTS450 DIRECTCU/DI/1GD5 $140 ASUS ENGTS450 DIRECTCU TOP/DI/1GD5
$130 EVGA 01G-P3-1450-TR $145 EVGA 01G-P3-1452-TR Superclocked
$130 GIGABYTE GV-N450-1GI $140 GIGABYTE GV-N450OC-1GI
$135 MSI N450GTS CYCLONE 1GD5/OC $160 Palit NE5S450HF1101 Sonic Platinum

Idle and loaded operating temperatures remained very cool on GTS 450; clearly an end result of the refined GF106 GPU. Idle power draw was a mere 16 watts by our measure, allowing gamers to save money on energy bills when this video card isn't being used. Conserving energy is great news, but NVIDIA's Fermi GF106 GPU offers incredible headroom for overclockers which translates into even better FPS performance in video games. Both of our GTS 450 samples overclocked from 783 to beyond 950 MHz, which could make a manufacturer's lifetime warranty well worth the money.

In conclusion, GTS 450 offers considerable power for the money when driven at the most common monitor resolutions (1280x1024 and 1680x1050). This usually creates an interest in a pairing two cards together for an SLI set, which we've tested to work especially well with NVIDIA's 3D-Vision Surround technology. Priced at time of launch for $129.99 the mid-level 1GB GeForce GTS 450 video card is a far better choice than AMD's $120 Radeon HD 5750, and in many cases it makes the $150 Radeon HD 5770 look unfit for its price point. This will undoubtedly cause AMD to reduce pricing for both models, which is almost guaranteed to be announced on the same day. If AMD can reduce pricing down into the $130 price point for the Radeon HD 5770, NVIDIA's GeForce GTS 450 will find itself in a very close fight for mainstream supremacy. Regardless of the moving target that has become a product's retail price, GeForce 3D-Vision is a NVIDIA-exclusive technology that's certainly worth the cost of admission; and two GTS 450s are going to a lot more for budget gamers who want the most out of their money. Our upcoming GTS 450 SLI Scaling Performance article reveals just how much power you can have for roughly $260, but it remains to be seen if AMD's pending price war will make the Radeon 5750 a relevant product.

Pros:

+ Tremendous overclocking potential!
+ Cool operating temperatures at idle and load
+ Consumes only 16 watts of power at idle
+ Good value at $130 - easily beats Radeon 5750
+ Excellent price-to-performance cost ratio
+ Fermi Introduces Error Correcting Code (ECC)
+ Overclocked performance exceeds Radeon HD 5770
+ Fan externally exhausts heat outside of case
+ Quiet cooling fan under loaded operation
+ Includes native HDMI audio/video output
+ Adds 32x CSAA post-processing detail
+ Supports SLI functionality

Cons:

- Triple-SLI not supported

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Comments 

 
# 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 ;)
Thanks.
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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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