Power Consumption, a new driver and Conclusions
Galaxy NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Review - Fermi goes lower, again - Graphics Cards  1

The GTS 450 is definitely a very power efficient GPU in comparison to the rest of the Fermi line and is very close to the levels of the HD 5770 from AMD.  Under load the complete system using the GTS 450 1GB card pulled only 235 watts while the GTX 460 768MB card need about 300 watts to get the job done. 

An Update Driver as Well

NVIDIA took the time with the release of the GTS 450 to unveil the new 260 series driver that implements a couple of new features, updated tutorials for setting up NVIDIA Surround, integrated 3D Vision driver and some impressive performance improvements.

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Gone are the days of the InstallSheild manager as NVIDIA has finally written their own from the ground up.  A nice feature of this software is that the previous driver can optionally be completely uninstalled (including registry corrections, etc) and the system will be automatically rebooted before continuing with the new driver. 

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Performance boosts with existing GPUs looks impressive here, as measured by NVIDIA and on the GTX 460 GPU, at standard 19×12 resolutions on a whole host of titles.

Performance


The new GeForce GTS 450 1GB card from NVIDIA finds itself right in the performance group that it wanted to be based on the prices NVIDIA has set on this card.  With retail prices at $129 for the standard models and adding another $10-20 for overclocked settings, the real competition for the GTS 450 has become the HD 5770, NOT the HD 5750 that NVIDIA initially wanted us to believe or to showcase.  It would seem obvious that with the GTS 450 matching or beating out the HD 5770 in our entire suite of tests that the GF106 is going to be much faster than the HD 5750.  The problem with that is you can pick up an HD 5750 for about $105 as this writing. 

The standard clock speeds on the GTX 450 seem to have been set purely based on marketing needs, not engineering needs.  If the engineers were in charge there is no reason to NOT clock the GF106 chip to something higher than 840-850 MHz out of the box.  Had they done so, the comparison to the HD 5770 would have been a little better but the ability to market “overclockability” and add-in card partner’s ability to sell higher priced, higher clocked cards would have diminished. 

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This doesn’t mean the GeForce GTS 450 1GB card is bad in way at all – it is still faster than the HD 5750 and just as fast as the HD 5770, but for about $10 less depending on the day.

The Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 1GB Super OC did a great job of showing us what you can do with the GF106 GPU in terms of overclocking and by coming in just about $10 more than the standard model, it makes perfect sense to grab this card and start overclocked out of the box. 

Features

There are ton of NVIDIA features they like to tout: 3D Vision, PhysX support, CUDA applications; all of it has been covered before and the new GTS 450 will run all of them to some kind of varying degree.  Obviously 3D Vision is kind of long shot, as is PhysX support, since we are talking about a pretty basic GPU performance starting ground with this $130 card. 

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With a pair of them running in SLI, not only can you compete with the likes of a GTX 470 1.25GB card but you can also run NVIDIA Surround technology on a set of three displays.  If you haven’t read about NVIDIA’s Surround technology, take a look at our review of it from earlier in July to see how three monitors can really change how you game on your PC!

Pricing and Availability

The GeForce GTS 450 1GB cards should be available today not only in reference speeds but also in a varying degree of overclocked settings as well. 
We have already discussed the pricing on the GTS 450 and how it compares with other NVIDIA options and the AMD Radeon competition.  In my view NVIDIA could have made this card another slam dunk like the GTX 460 but decided to not do so likely for the sake of profit margin. 

Final Thoughts

The new NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB and the GF106 GPU are the next logical step in the development of the Fermi architecture.  By shrinking down the size and power consumption NVIDIA is finally able to offer a DX11 part in the sub-$150 range nearly 12 months after unveiling the base architecture at last year’s GTC.  NVIDIA now has an option that can beat up on the Radeon HD 5750 while competing well with the HD 5770 for a few bucks less.  I didn’t see another slam dunk GPU offering like we did with the GeForce GTX 460 but NVIDIA did come pretty close with the GTS 450. 

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Thoughts and opinions on the GeForce GTS 450 or our review?  Let us know in the PC Perspective Forums!


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