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Nvidia, Asus, Inno3D GTS 450 Review

ccokeman    -   September 12, 2010
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Conclusion:

Since this could get ugly with three different cards to talk about I will hit each one in turn. I think that the performance of the GTS 450 speaks for itself. It offers budget performance when you play games at resolutions between 1280x1024 and 1680x1050 and leaves a little left over if you move up to 1920x1200. Let's start with the reference card. These cards are what the majority of people getting the GTS 450 will most likely see. Under the skin though, you will have the certified version of the card and then you will have the board partners making their cards with improved components and cooling. But hey, that's OK because the reference version of this card delivers some serious performance for this price range. If the stock performance is not enough the guys at NVIDIA said this card was built for overclocking and you know what, they did not tell a lie. The base frequencies for the reference card come in at 783/1566MHz on the CUDA cores and 902MHz on the 1GB of GDDR5 memory. That, by itself, is nothing to scoff at since this took the performance to just above the HD 5750 in most instances, not all but most. Then you slap the big overclock on it and see it fly. These reference cards with the reference cooling were able to clock up to 952/1904MHz on the CUDA cores and 1092MHz (4368MHz effective) with not much more than a bump of the voltage and fan speeds to get there. That's a 20+% improvement folks. This offered up a significant increase in firepower and showed in the results. Add in that second card and the performance skyrockets. When two GTS 450 cards are run in an SLI configuration, the performance almost doubles in most of the games I tested. In some instances the performance literally did double from the single to a multiple card configuration.

The Fermi architecture based video cards have been known to be hot running, power hungry beasts but surprisingly the GF 106 based cards have not followed along on that downward spiral. This set of cards were the lowest in power consumption in three out of the four tests with operating temperatures that I felt were right on the money for the cooling solution used. The cooling solution on the reference card is not much more than an aluminum slug with fins that actually keeps the card at a lees than toasty 62 degrees Celsius when overclocked with the fan spooled up. Normally this results in a noise I have grown to hate even as my hearing goes away. At no point in the testing would I consider the fans used loud by comparison to some of the other reference cooling solutions I have seen in the past. So that is a big plus.

Those fans of the HTPC should rejoice for that. The GTS 450, much like the GTX 460, offers bitstreaming support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio over HDMI so you can get your high definition sound and picture through the HDMI port. Add in your 3Dvison kit and you get Blu-Ray movies in 1080p and Stereoscopic 3D. If you use this card for strictly gaming, you can load up a second card and make use of NVIDIA's 3D Surround technologies to get a more immersive gaming environment. With the horsepower a second card brings, you can turn up the eye candy and get the whole package with PhysX effects and surround!

This card is the replacement for the GTS 250 in NVIDIA's lineup and as such, you gotta look at the price point that this card is being offered for. It's right in the center of ATI's board partners' pricing strategies at $129. But the green team is not done yet as it has dropped the price on all of the Fermi based cards in its product stack from the GTX 480 all the way to the GTX 460, with the top dog now going for $499. For this you get a card with better performance than the older GTS 250 that comes with DirectX 11 support, so you can play the latest games to full effect. The price is right and the performance is right.

Pros:

  • Overclocking
  • SLI scaling
  • Great performance
  • Low noise
  • HDMI audio
  • Pricing
  • PhysX support
  • 3D Vison and Surround support
  • HD audio

Cons:

  • None

 

Asus ENGTS450 TOP

What is there to say about the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP video card? I will start off by stating that the card is not only factory overclocked with some pretty stout clock speeds but I was able to pull more form the card once I increased the voltages a bit. I was able to increase the clock speeds up to 975/1950MHz on the CUDA cores and a nice bump to 1090MHz on the memory. By far this was the fastest of the cards in stock trim. The price point for the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP is set at $129.99, which is only $5 more than Newegg.com currently has the Palit GTS 250 set at. I was quite impressed with the different features such as the dust proof fan, four phase power, EMI shielding on the connectivity and more that the ASUS ENGTS450 TOP was able to give me besides the factory overclocked settings; including the DirectCU technology that ASUS adapted to the card. I was able to see temperatures around 68°C when it was overclocked and at full load, which is quite impressive when you are sitting at 975MHz on the core and 2180MHz on the memory at 1162mV for your GPU core voltage. Not quite the level of cooling as on the Inno3D card but much better than the stock cooling solution at stock speeds. When I was testing the power usage of the card, the power consumption was comparable to the rest of the GTS 450 cards in this test. The ASUS ENGTS450 TOP is a card that gets the whole Extreme design feature set, and comes with a big overclock right from the factory with a good low noise cooling solution.

 

Pros:

  • Factory overclocked
  • Non-stock connectivity
  • ASUS Extreme Design feature set
  • SLI scaling
  • Great performance
  • Low noise
  • HDMI audio
  • Pricing
  • PhysX support
  • 3D Vison and Surround support
  • HD audio

 

Cons:

  • Warmer than the stock card with higher volts

 

Inno 3D GTS450

Much like the stock and ASUS GTS 450 video card the Inno3D card offered excellent performance in this category right out of the box. This card is factory overclocked and equipped with a massive Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo PRO cooling solution that easily kept this card the coolest of the bunch. This contributed to this card hitting roughly the same overclocks as the factory cooled cards. While not giving up a higher clock speed, it does give one piece of mind considering the bad rap Fermi has had when it comes to the heat generated by the architecture. Overclocking the Inno3D GTS 450 iChiLL was a walk in the park, much the same as the other two cards. The Inno3D GTS 450 enjoys the same feature set and makes use of the same game changing technologies as the reference cards but at much cooler temperatures. Before increasing the voltage the GTS 450 was able to run at 955/1910MHz core and 1060MHz memory fully stable. Adding voltage allowed the card to test past 1GHz stable with very cool operational temperatures. I could make a run through 3Dmark 06 at this level but not much else but when you are benching you are right on the edge anyhow. The only real concerns are that the size of the cooling solution could impact how many other add in cards you can use in your system since the cooling solution is quite large. That and the heat generated by the GF 106 GPU gets dumped into the chassis. A case with good airflow fixes this problem! The Inno3D is the clear winner when it comes to operating temperatures. It delivers performance right in line with its expectations and clock speeds.

 

Pros:

  • Massive cooling solution
  • Great temperatures
  • Overclocking
  • SLI scaling
  • Great performance
  • Low noise
  • HDMI audio
  • Pricing
  • PhysX support
  • 3D Vison and Surround support
  • HD audio

 

Cons:

  • Heat dumps into case


 

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