Nvidia, Asus, Inno3D GTS 450 Reviewccokeman - September 12, 2010
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Taking a look at the packaging for the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP, you are going to see a large image of a mythical creature on the front that looks to be powerful; giving the idea that the ENGTS450 TOP is a powerful graphics card. The top left hand corner of the package is where you are going to find the ASUS logo with the tag "Inspiring Innovation * Persistent Perfection" printed below. You are going to see the "925MHz Speed Overclocked" tag printed in the middle of the front. ASUS wants you to know how much more power you are going to get with the TOP edition compared to the generic GTS450 which comes clocked in at 783MHz, which is 142MHz lower than the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP! You are going to see the DirectCU, 1GB GDDR5, Play games with iPhone, NVIDIA GeForce Cuda, and Geforce GTS450 tags along the bottom edge of the package, so you know the main features of the card. When you take a look at the back of the package, you are going to see a list of the features across the top of the package. You are going to see the DirectCU logo off to the left side of the back. ASUS also let you know a little bit about its DirectCU technology, which we will talk about later. The ASUS ENGTS450 TOP has ASUS Voltage Tweak, giving you the ability to achieve up to a 50% performance increase by letting you adjust the Vcore to the GPU for more overclocking. ASUS also printed a recommended system requirements list off to the right side of the package.
When you open up the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP packaging, you are going to find a white box inside that holds all of the accessories that come with the card as well as the card itself. Everything in the package has its own place to keep it from moving around and becoming damaged during the shipping process. The ASUS ENGTS450 TOP is wrapped up in an anti-static bag to keep it from getting any electronic damage that may occur when it is being shipped or from when the box gets opened up. The only accessories that come packaged with the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP are the drivers CD, the user manual, and a 6-pin PCI-E dongle to convert two 4-pin Molex connections to the 6-pin PCI-E connector.
When you first pull out the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP, you are going to see a large heatsink/fan setup mounted on the card. The casing for the heatsink/fan gives the card a very elegant look, being completely black with the exception of the four green stripes at the back of the casing. The heatsink is a full coverage style heatsink that does cover the entire front of the video card to increase how well the card can be cooled. Looking at the back of the card, you are going to see that there are six holes in the PCB that are placed to make sure you can install an aftermarket cooling solution if you desire even more cooling performance such as a water block. The card is designed to take up two slots on your motherboard to allow the card to get the airflow needed to cool down the core that has already been overclocked to 925MHz. The ASUS ENGTS450 TOP is based on the NVIDIA GF106 Fermi core, giving you DX 11 support as well as Shader Model 5.0.
The ASUS ENGTS450 TOP has three different ports that you can connect monitors to; HDMI, D-Sub, and DVI. You are also going to see that ASUS has cut ventilation in the front PCI bracket to allow some air to be sucked into the case by the card and flow right to the card for a little more cooling performance. The ENGTS450 uses the PCI-E slot to communicate with your motherboard; even though there is power transferred through the PCI-E slot, it is not enough for the powerful ENGTS and there is an additional 6-pin PCI-E power adapter located at the top of the card near the rear to add the additional power needed. If one of these cards is not going to be enough graphics power for you, you can always scale up your performance using NVIDIA's SLI technology and add a secondary card to your setup.
When you pull off the heatsink, you are going to see the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP naked, revealing the GF106-250-KA-A1 GPU. This GPU comes clocked in at 925MHz stock, which was overclocked at the factory from the original 783MHz. The memory chips installed on the card are the Samsung K4G10325FE-HC05, these memory modules are lead-free, RoHS compliant & Halogen-free. They are secified to run at QDR 4000 speeds. The back section of the ENGTS450 TOP is where all of your capacitors and voltage regulators are located, there is a small heatsink back here above the voltage regulators to keep them from overheating.
When you pull off the heatsink, you are going to see that there are two heat-pipes that go from the base of the cooler and travel out to the large fin array to quickly dissipate the heat that they collected from the GPU and other components. ASUS has used its DirectCU technology on the ENGTS450 TOP graphics card, this is going to give you up to 20% cooler temperatures during game play and up to 35% quieter operation under idle mode than your generic GeForce GTS450. The heat-pipes are flattened and sanded down to the copper to make up the base of the cooler for maximum heat transfer between the GPU and the cooler itself.
Now that we know what the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP looks like, it's time to take a look at the specifications and features of the card.