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ASUS ENGTS450 TOP DirectCU 1 GB Review
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Old 13th September 2010, 14:27   #1
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Icon17 ASUS ENGTS450 TOP DirectCU 1 GB Review

NVIDIA's new GeForce GTS 450 is a solid implementation of the Fermi architecture for the lower midrange segment. The cards have enough power to play the latest titles at resolutions up to, including 1680x1050. Older games will run just fine at 1920x1200 too. This enables users to enjoy current DirectX 11 titles at a reasonable cost point below $150. The problem? ATI has had their sub-$150 DirectX 11 Radeons out on the market since October 2009, almost a year now. To me it feels a bit like NVIDIA is still playing the catch-up game. Don't get me wrong, the GTS 450 is a great little card but it doesn't seem to bring any big surprises. Neither performance wise, nor price wise.

It also puzzles me why NVIDIA's reference design comes at such low clocks that almost every board partner would be out of his mind to not overclock and ask a premium for the boards. This means that NVIDIA's $129 reference design price is only a baseline with the majority of designs reaching well into the $140 area -which is HD 5770's hunting ground. One thing that NVIDIA has to tip things in its favor are features such as CUDA, PhysX, 3D Vision, and out of the box support for Blu-ray 3D.

The ASUS GTS 450 TOP DirectCU comes with the best cooling solution of the cards we tested today, its DirectTouch heatpipe system can potentially soak up a lot of heat. The only drawback is that the fan motor has a minimum speed of 1500 RPM, so further quietening down the card is not possible. ASUS has worked with us to deliver the best low-noise experience possible, but compared to other GTS 450 cards it is the one that emits most fan noise. The card is still quiet, it simply would have been nice to see less noise, which is clearly possible. ASUS is running their card at 1.28V which is quite an increase from the 1.08V of the reference design, resulting in higher power consumption and heat. On the other hand, the increased voltage gives you additional overclocking headroom if you don't plan on adjusting voltages yourself. However, if you plan on doing that it will limit your options because you will run into heat issues sooner than on other cards. Running at 925 MHz, the card is one of the highest clocked cards today, which enables it to beat AMD's Radeon HD 5770. This still does not make it "win" against the HD 5770 which has lots of overclocking potential on its own. ASUS' price point of $140 is very competitive for the GTS 450, but pricing will certainly change in the near future.

The final verdict on the GTS 450 itself is not definitive. The GPU does not stay ahead enough of the Radeon HD 5700 series to create the kind of dilemma buyers faced that made them choose the GeForce GTX 460 768 MB over the Radeon HD 5770 when the former first came out. Instead, it's stuck in between the HD 5750 and HD 5770, and leans very close to the HD 5750 in terms of performance. Choosing a card in this segment has been a tough decision, and will now be even harder. Bring in the dice.

Last edited by jmke : 13th September 2010 at 14:29.
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