Graphics Cards Guide

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 - Going For the Mainstream Jugular

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 - Going For the Mainstream Jugular



Going For the Mainstream Jugular

Going For the Mainstream Jugular

Despite rave reviews received by the GeForce GTX 460, NVIDIA registered a pretty lackluster second quarter for financial year 2011. Revenue was down by over US$220 million and overall the company suffered a loss of $105 million. NVIDIA attributes this to the weakened demand for graphics cards, which is odd, because as far as we can tell, it seems that many people we knew were buying GeForce GTX 460 left, right and center in a bid to get their systems ready for StarCraft 2.

Nevertheless, the GeForce GTX 460 marked a turn in fortunes as far as Fermi cards were concerned. Before the GeForce GTX 460, the Fermi-powered GeForce GTX 480, GTX 470 and GTX 465 were fast, but extremely power hungry and hot to run. However, the GeForce GTX 460 was the first Fermi-powered card to combine performance and acceptable levels of power consumption and heat into one neat package.

Soldiering on in attempts to gather a larger piece of the mainstream gaming pie, NVIDIA has just introduced to us the new GeForce GTS 450. Set to compete directly with ATI’s Radeon HD 5750 and designed to specifically tackle screen with the popular 1650 x 1050 resolution, the GeForce GTS 450 will retail at around US$129, making it very appealing to gamers on a shoe-string budget.

Like the GeForce GTX 460 before it, GeForce GTS 450 will pack an all-new GF106 chip that is smaller than the GF104 that powers the GTX 460. And on paper, this should mean a more power efficient and less hot chip.

Architecturally, the GF106 in the GeForce GTS 450 is similar to the older GF104 in that will pack 48 CUDA cores per SM (streaming multiprocessor). The GeForce GTS 450 will also have four SMs, giving it a total of 192 CUDA cores, 32 texture mapping units and 16 raster operating units. This might not seem like much when compared to the 336 CUDA cores of the GeForce GTX 460, but the GeForce GTS 450 makes up for that by retaining the use of ultra-fast GDDR5 memory, albeit on a narrower 128-bit memory bus width, and higher clock speeds. To be specific, a GeForce GTS 450 in stock form will run at 789MHz at the core, 1566MHz at the shaders and 3608MHz DDR at the memory. The core clock speeds, in particular, are pretty high.

Up to this point, the GeForce GTS 450 looks promising, and while the hardware certainly looks up to task, we are a bit worried that the high clock speeds will affect its power draw figures adversely.

Anyhow, we have four GeForce GTS 450 cards from Galaxy, MSI, Palit and Sparkle. Fresh from the factory, we can’t wait to put them through our tests to find out how the new GeForce GTS 450 will perform. But first, here’s quick look at how the GeForce GTS 450 model stacks up against its closest rivals. 

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 and competitive SKUs compared
Model NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB GDDR5

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB / 768MB GDDR5

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB GDDR3

ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5
Core Code GF106 GF104  G92b Juniper XT Juniper PRO
Transistor Count  1170 million 1950 million  754 million 1040 million 1040 million
Manufacturing Process 40nm  40nm 55nm 40nm 40nm
Core Clock  783MHz 675MHz  738MHz 800MHz 700MHz
Stream Processors  192 Stream Processors 336 Stream Processors  128 Stream Processors 800 Stream Processing Units 720 Stream Processing Units
Stream Processor Clock  1566MHz 1350MHz  1836MHz 800MHz 700MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units  32 56  64 40 36
Raster Operator units (ROP)  16 24  16 16 16
Memory Clock  3600MHz GDDR5 3600MHz GDDR5  2200MHz GDDR3 4800MHz GDDR5 4600MHz GDDR5
DDR Memory Bus  128-bit  192 / 256-bit  256-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth  57.6GB/s 86.4 / 115.2GB/s  70.4GB/s 76.8GB/s 73.6GB/s
PCI Express Interface  PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16  PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16
Molex Power Connectors  1 x 6-pin 2 x 6-pin  1 x 6-pin 1 x 6-pin 1 x 6-pin
Multi GPU Technology  SLI SLI  SLI CrossFireX CrossFireX
DVI Output Support  2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link  2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDCP Output Support  Yes Yes  Yes Yes Yes
Street Price  Launch Price: US$129  US$229 (1GB) / US$199 (768MB) ~US$110 ~US$160 ~US$130