AXLE GT 430 Classic ReviewRHKCommander959 - January 26, 2011
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The NVIDIA GT 430 graphics card is currently the lowest card in the 400 series and packs in 96 CUDA cores, as did the GT 240 and 8800 GTS/GS/etc before it. It features 1GB of GDDR3 with different clock speeds for the memory depending on the company releasing it. This AXLE card is clocked at reference speeds of 700 MHz core, 1400 MHz shader, and 700 MHz memory. Since this is aimed at low-end markets, the card is smaller in physical size and power consumption, as is the trend for the cards in this tier. With DirectX 11 and solid media capabilities, this card would do great for typical home users, light gamers, energy efficient builds, HTPC systems, as a PhysX processor for more hardcore gamers, as well as plenty of other uses! The AXLE GeForce GT 430 is protected by a plastic cover to keep from scratching during installation and the heat sink is covered by a black shroud with the fan attached. Underneath is an all-aluminum heat sink similar to the Arctic Cooling Accelero L2 Pro and other designs — it's a very commonly used base for heat sinks. A bright yellow impeller sits over the top of the heat sink base, while the shroud clips onto the exhaust grill and fins to mount the fan to the heat sink. The back side has surface mount capacitors, resistors, and a few regulatory ICs, while all the memory ICs are on the GPU side.
Near the slot is a 2-pin fan connection meaning there is no RPM sensing. The unshielded DVI port is on the side with the PCI Express 2.0 slot. There are hardly any tall components underneath the heat sink — only a few capacitors and chokes — but since the card is rated for 49W of power consumption, this isn't too surprising.
The GT 430 supports HDMI, VGA, and dual link DVI output. The fan shroud does not seal the card, so heat is exhausted from all around including through the slits running down both sides of the shroud — only some heat exits the exhaust grill. The rear of the card has no power connections as there is no need for them. However, a choke, capacitor, and two mosfets make an appearance.
The heat sink has four hex-headed studs that slide through holes on the PCB to mount to the GPU core with four spring loaded nuts. The heat sink is aluminum and the base is textured. The cuts made during machining are rough and left some burrs. The fan used is an 80 mm diameter fan with a depth of 15mm. The fan is of decent construction, as it has a ball bearing rather than the more common/cheap sleeve bearing. The fan is a standard 12V fan rated for 2.04W usage.
The GPU core is made at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) on its 40 nm lithography fabrication process. The die measures 114 mm² and has 585 million transistors. The chip is protected from cracking during heat sink installation by a plastic shim, as the die is quite fragile and if a heat sink is allowed to be installed crooked it may chip or crack the corners of the die. The memory reads Qimonda 1DSH1G-04A1F1C-16G and is the same stuff used on the AXLE HD 5450 reviewed back in 2010.
So far the GT 430 looks like a decent card, but testing will show how well it performs!