|ASUS ENGTS450 DirectCU TOP Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Mathew Williams|
|Sunday, 03 October 2010|
Page 16 of 16
ASUS ENGTS450 TOP Conclusion
The ASUS ENGTS450 DirectCU TOP performed admirably in all of the benchmarks we threw at it. In most tests, it managed to pull ahead of the more expensive HD5770 and held its own against the comparably-clocked EVGA GTS 450 FTW. As I pointed out several time in the article, HD5770 was running at reference speeds and were it an overclocked version, the results may have been reversed. However, lower price of the ENGTS450 still gives it the advantage when looking at the price-performance ratio.
While performance is undoubtably the top concern when it comes to video cards, appearance can often be a deciding factor between two comparable models. It's somewhat subjective, but in my opinion, the ENGTS450 does really well here. The black PCB is fairly neutral and should match most other components well. The heatsink and fan unit is well designed, displaying ASUS' branding without going too over the top with graphics and stickers. Full length stickers can look good, but can also look cheap if not done right. ASUS avoids this issue by going with a matte finish on the fan shroud. The only thing I would add is a sleeve for the fan wiring.
Construction quality tends to be another big tie-breaker when it comes to video cards. Other than good quality assurance testing, there's not much a partner like ASUS can do about the quality of the actual GPU chip. However, they did include a number of non-reference features that should help out with the durability and reliability of the card as a whole. The full-length metal bracket along the side adds additional rigidity and should help reduce problems related to PCB or GPU strain. One of the most important upgrades, though, is to the VRM. The four-phase design and POSCAPs should provide plenty clean, stable power to the GPU over its lifetime.
ASUS' Smart Doctor software gives the consumer full control over the upgraded VRM. It can be used to change the voltage, as well as the core/shader clock speed and memory frequency. Keep in mind, though, that any increase in voltage will result in an increase in heat and power consumption. With the upgraded cooler, heat likely won't be a problem unless you're really pushing it. However, there's no avoiding the increased power consumption that accompanies higher voltages.
As we saw in our overclocking section, though, pushing this card higher than the factory overclock is not really necessary and adds little benefit for most consumers. At $139.99, the stock configuration is already an incredible value. The ASUS ENGTS450 TOP outperformed our reference HD5770 and costs $10 less. With new product launches coming from AMD and (potentially) NVIDIA by the end of the year, though, the mainstream graphics war rages on.
+ Significant overclock beyond reference speeds
- Consumes more power under load than HD5770 and comparable EVGA GTS 450 FTW
Final Score: 9.45 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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