Nvidia, Asus, Inno3D GTS 450 Reviewccokeman - September 12, 2010
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Inno3D has often used performance heatsinks especially on the iChiLL line, as is the case with the Inno3D iChiLL GTS 450 up for review. These heatsinks are designed by companies such as Zalman and Arctic Cooling to give their line of video cards better cooling performance in comparison to the reference heatsink designs from NVIDIA. This saves time for consumers who want better noise or cooling performance but don’t want to bother with installing an aftermarket heatsink or risk losing warranty eligibility. Additionally, the clock speeds often get bumped up a bit for added gaming performance as is the case here at 820MHz core and 950MHz memory. The box that the GTS 450 comes in is the standard black and silver/white look that the other iChiLL boxes have. Each side says iChiLL and has a snowflake somewhere. The front shows the core and memory speeds, cooler type, memory size, three year warranty, and that the card is aimed for overclocking and cooling. Another feature to note are the solid capacitors that have a longer life generally than conventional capacitors. A free trial for StarCraft II is thrown in as well. CUDA is explained at the bottom with PhysX, 3D Stereo Vision, Video and Image Processing. Rotating to the back reveals a clean side with a large glossy chrome X across it, the other sides are clean as well.
After opening both layers we find some foam bumpers keeping the video card in place and providing some protection. The standard antistatic bag is held shut by a warning sticker that tells of the dangers of static and that proper handling is needed. Above the video card is a small box containing a power adapter and DVI to VGA adapter, underneath the card is the manual, driver disc, and StarCraft II free trial code slip.
Four heat pipes sit underneath dual 92mm PWM fans on the Arctic Cooling Accelero TWIN TURBO Pro heatsink that Inno3D chose to equip this GTS 450 with. Twice the number of fans and heat pipes in comparison to the ASUS version. iChiLL stickers adorn each fan with a pair of blue stickers on the sides. The PCB is blue and has four memory ICs mounted per side, none of which are actively cooled. A smaller heatsink cools the power circuitry while the larger handles the GPU core. Four screws with springs and silicone washers mount the heatsink to the GPU die, this core is exposed unlike many of NVIDIA's other video cards. A shim is used to protect the core from improper or unbalanced heatsink installation.
The front of the video card has gold plated I/O ports, dual DVI ports and an HDMI port provide updated support while still providing support for VGA through the adapter. The expansion slot plate is a design carried over from generic designs and so has two blank bolt holes and exhaust fins. The rear of the card shows the smaller heatsink hidden underneath that runs parallel to the larger heatsink. The 4-pin PWM fan connection is opposite of the 6-pin PCI Express power connection.
The four heat pipes terminate underneath each of the 92mm fans evenly. Each fan should emit up to 54 CFM with Fluid Dynamic bearings, an improved design on sleeved bearings. The height of the video card is greater than two slots as the fans protrude outward slightly, there is enough clearance that it should be easy to add aftermarket memory heatsinks for better overclocking. The heat pipes are soldered into the base although the pipes are only slid into the fins, the fins themselves have some odd notches on them most likely for decoration. Each fin is clipped onto the next to make the system more sturdy.
Each impeller has eleven blades and is a whitish eggshell color. Both fans are wired together and are connected for PWM control. These fans are designed for low noise output and can operate up to 2000RPM each, providing up to 54 CFM. The heatsink is designed to dissipate 120 Watts and is probably installed with MX-2 thermal paste. The surface of the base is not smooth but it is flat. The black dual fan housing clips onto the heatsink with two clips per side, the heatsink design is very simple since it only takes four screws to take the assembly off!
The newest GPU core in the NVIDIA family is the GF106, made in Taiwan at TMSC on 40nm technologies similar to the Juniper core from AMD, though carrying around a million more transistors. The shim is glued in place to protect the GPU core from cracking that would occur if a heatsink was installed improperly. Two memory grids are left open on each side, possibly suggesting larger capacities in the future. The memory equipped is GDDR5 provided by SAMSUNG 6th generation running off of 1.5V rated for 4000Mbps. The model number for this memory is K4G10325FE-HC05 very similar to modules found on prior NVIDIA and AMD (especially 5000 series) cards, these modules are 170 FBGA mounted and are Halogen/Lead-free.
Time to look at the drivers page!