|MSI N450GTS Cyclone 1GD5/OC Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Thursday, 11 November 2010|
Page 3 of 17
N450GTS Cyclone Detailed Features
With the covers pulled off, the MSI N450GTS Cyclone looks nearly identical to the reference design. That's not a bad thing. As we have seen in previous GTS 450 reviews, the GF106 based video cards are very well equipped to handle the challenges that face the mid-range market. The one thing MSI chose to hone in on was the overclock headroom found in the GTS 450. With the N450GTS Cyclone 1GD5/OC, they have bumped up both the GPU core/shader core speed as well as the memory speed.
Your run-of-the-mill GTS 450 comes with a clock speed of 783MHz with double that, 1566MHz, for the CUDA cores. The MSI N450GTS Cyclone increases that by about 8.5% to an 850MHz graphics clock and 1700MHz for the CUDA cores. They also overclocked the memory, and we'll see that in just a minute. The overclocked GF106 chip and GDD5 memory are powered by the reference VRM design. It consists of three power phases and utilizes solid capacitors.
The Cyclone fan and heatsink design is a familiar one. The 9-bladed fan sits atop a radial heatsink that pushes excess heat through two heat-pipes to a pair of curved heatsinks housed on either side of the fan. The fan is located in a great location to cool the fins of the heatsink quite well. The design obviously works, and that's why MSI uses it time and time again.
The MSI N450GTS Cyclone 1GD5/OC uses the same Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05 chips as the reference design and many other manufacturers cards. These memory modules are rated at 1000MHz, or a effective speed of 4000MHz. On the reference, however, the memory clock is set to 900MHz. MSI changed that with the N450GTS Cyclone and clocked the memory at the rated speed of 1000MHz. When we get to our overclocking section, you will notice that we didn't change that during our overclocking.
MSI shows off a very good manufacturing process with the N450GTS Cyclone 1GD5/OC. In the picture above, you can see one of the most crowded parts of the PCB, directly behind the GPU. With such precise placement, it is often difficult to avoid splash and to clean off left over residue after soldering, especially while maintaining environmental standards. MSI performs as we would expect they should and each of the components is located in its appropriate place and with no residual solder left behind where it shouldn't be.