|MSI N450GTS Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Thursday, 11 November 2010|
Page 15 of 17
Overclocking the GTS 450
It took a long time for video cards to really enter into the overclocking world. Sure, you could overclock your GPU, but it took a lot of work. Then one day 3rd party software groups started releasing software utilities specifically for overclocking your video card. At first, many of these utilities were pretty ugly and difficult to use themselves. Soon after, video card manufacturers themselves joined the fray and started releasing their own overclocking software. Now many hardware manufacturers have released a utility and they are much easier to use and look a lot better. In fact, both ATI and NVIDIA have even released their own versions of overclock utilities that are available with their complete driver packages.
The MSI N450GTS Cyclone comes factory overclocked at 850MHz, about 8.5% faster than the GTS 450 stock speed of 783MHz. That's just not good enough for us here at Benchmark Reviews. We have seen the overclock numbers from the reference design GTS 450 and other manufacturers cards, and 850MHz definitely isn't the limit for this GPU. There has got to be more headroom in MSI N450GTS Cyclone, especially with those extremely low operating temperatures.
In addition to NVIDIA's system tools, MSI also offers their own overclocking utility called Afterburner. Many other manufacturers offer their own options, but I thought I'd stick to MSI Afterburner. After all, MSI has gotten a lot right with this card already.
With Afterburner, I was able to modify the GPU Core clock and Shader clock as well as the Memory clock and fan speed. With the N450GTS showing such a great performance in our temperature tests, I left the fan speed on autopilot. I cranked it up to 100% to see how loud it was, of course. While I don't have a decibal meter, the MSI N450GTS Cyclone was somewhat audible at 100% fan speed. At 50%, it was nearly imperceptible. I also left the memory clock alone. The MSI N450GTS Cyclone already comes with the memory overclocked to its rated speed. I didn't mess with that at all. The MSI Afterburner program will allow you to adjust the core voltage of the video card, but I didn't play with this feature either. When you initially try to adjust the voltage, a message will pop up asking you if you are sure you want to go there.
I focused on the Core clock of the MSI N450GTS Cyclone. Starting at the stock 850MHz, I increased the speed by 10MHz at a time. After each increase, I ran the Kombuster app that came bundled with the Afterburner software. You can access the Kombuster app by pressing the little K in the top left corner of the Afterburner interface.
Kombuster is a FurMark application that uses the MSI logo and allows for DX11 features to be enabled. I left Kombuster running at each interval and with the highest possible settings for one hour before moving the Core clock up another 10MHz. When I reached 950MHz, the GPU failed. I scaled back to 945MHz and left Kombuster running for 6 hours. Immediately after that, I ran the Unigine Heaven benchmark at it's highest settings. During the benchmark the MSI N450GTS Cyclone failed again. So I scaled back to 940MHz and left Kombuster running for 9 hours. This time, the MSI N450GTS Cyclone ran through all the benchmarks in our test bed and remained completely solid. You can see the results of the overclocked tests on each of the charts in our testing section.
At 940MHz, our MSI N450GTS Cyclone was nearly 11% faster than the already overclocked stock version and 20% faster than a normal GTS 450. This is very decent overclock and I am pleased with the results.