Gts 450 sli: Nvidia GeForce GTS 450, GeForce GTS 450 SLI and Palit GTS 450 Sonic Platinum Review > Benchmarks: Aliens vs. Predator, Mass Effect 2

Nvidia GeForce GTS 450, GeForce GTS 450 SLI and Palit GTS 450 Sonic Platinum Review


Steven Walton

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Nvidia landed an astounding blow to AMD last July pulling the GeForce GTX 460 out of nowhere and quickly taking the lead as the best mid-range graphics card on the market.

It’s only been a few weeks since and the 768MB version of this card can now be had for as little as $170, crushing the Radeon HD 5830, and questioning if the slightly cheaper Radeon HD 5770 is worth the money.

Those looking to spend a little more also have the GTX 460 1GB at $220, which we have found to be comparable to the more expensive Radeon HD 5850 on most scenarios. As we’ve been mentioning in our recent GPU reviews, it’s not just the value and sheer performance of the GTX 460 that has helped to make it a hit, but the combination of that with wide availability, low power draw, and cool operating temperatures.

However there is still a huge market for sub-$200 gaming graphics cards. AMD has had a range of products in this segment for some time now, and just recently they cut prices all around likely ahead of any launch from competitor Nvidia. The Radeon HD 5770 ($140), 5750 ($120) and 5670 ($80) are all current generation GPUs, while Nvidia has had nothing new to offer in these price brackets. Until now, of course, as we check out the newly released GeForce GTS 450, code-named GF106.

Nvidia is keen to point out that they are targeting gamers on a budget with this new GPU. Those wanting to upgrade to a relatively inexpensive DX11-capable graphics card and using a monitor smaller than 24″ (resolutions of 1280×1024 to 1680×1050), Nvidia says the GTS 450 will deliver in those fronts. Akin to the release of the GTX 460, card availability should be strong at launch with factory overclocked versions of this GPU expected to be present from day one.

With a suggested retail price of $129, the GeForce GTS 450 knows upfront what their competitors look like and how well they perform. At this price the GTS 450 is 24% cheaper than the GeForce GTX 460 (768MB) saving the consumer about $40. But the question remains as how much performance you are sacrificing in the process and how well it stacks up against the Radeon HD 5770/5750 competition.

GeForce GTS 450 GPU in Detail

The GeForce GTS 450 is based on Fermi’s third-generation Streaming Multiprocessor architecture. The graphics processor boasts 192 CUDA cores, the same shader power of the GT200 architecture used by the GeForce GTX 260 and thus, 43% fewer cores when compared to the GeForce GTX 460.

The GeForce GTS 450 features 32 TMUs (Texture Mapping Units), again 43% less than the GeForce GTX 460 and half than the older GeForce GTX 260. The 16 ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines) on the GTS 450 are 33% less than the 768MB version of the GTX 460 and 50% less than the 1GB version.

The GTS 450’s clock speed for fixed function units is 783MHz, while the CUDA cores operate at a more aggressive 1566MHz. These frequencies are the highest of any GeForce 400 series graphics cards available, though it’s not uncommon for the budget cards to receive frequency boosts as it’s cheaper to make a less complex GPU and simply overclock it.

The GeForce GTS 450 is said to become available in both 1GB and 2GB capacities, though we believe most cards will stick to the 1GB memory buffer. The memory is clocked at 900MHz (3600MHz DDR). Regardless of memory capacity the bandwidth will be limited to just 57.6GB/s due to the implementation of a 128-bit bus.

At least on paper for now we learn that the Thermal Design Power rating of the GeForce GTS 450 is very reasonable compared to previous GeForce models based on the Fermi architecture. Whereas the TDP of the GeForce GTX 460 (1GB) is 160 watts, the GeForce GTS 450 has received an even lower rating of 106 watts.

The GeForce GTS 450 draws in power from the PCI Express slot and from a single external PCI Express power connector. The GTS 450 requires one 6-pin connector, which is the same configuration used by the Radeon HD 5770. The GeForce GTS 450 also features a single SLI bridge connector allowing it to be paired with another graphics card for 2-way SLI which we will be testing in this review.

Benchmarks: Aliens vs. Predator, Mass Effect 2

For testing Aliens vs. Predator we used the highly demanding custom DX11 benchmark. We played through a test scene in the same sequence every time for accurate results. The maximum possible visual quality settings were enabled along with 4xAA/16xAF.

The standard GeForce GTS 450 averaged 21fps at 1680×1050 making it a single frame faster than the Radeon HD 5750 and 2fps slower than the Radeon HD 5770. The overclocked Palit GTS 450 averaged 24fps, or a single frame faster than the stock Radeon HD 5770.

When compared to more expensive graphics cards such as the Radeon HD 5830 and GeForce GTX 460, the GeForce GTS 450 was 28% slower while the overclocked Palit version was 17% slower. Adding a second card for SLI mode saw the average frame rate increase by 86% from 21fps to a much more impressive 39fps. Paring two GeForce GTS 450 SLI cards provided greater performance than a single Radeon HD 5850 or GeForce GTX 470 graphics card.

The GeForce GTS 450 SLI configuration was still 9% slower than the Radeon HD 5770 Crossfire duo however.

Mass Effect 2

For testing with Mass Effect 2 we relied on Fraps, recording 60 seconds of gameplay from the level Lazarus Research Station. Best in-game visual quality settings with 4xAA/16xAF enabled were used.

When testing with Mass Effect 2 at 1680×1050 we found that the non-overclocked GeForce GTS 450 was 2fps slower than the Radeon HD 5750 and 8fps slower than the Radeon HD 5770 which worked out to be a 15% margin.

The overclocked Palit GTS 450 Sonic Platinum card fared better with an average of 51fps making it 13% faster than the standard card. This performance boost was not enough to defeat the stock clocked Radeon HD 5770. However, thanks to the superior scaling of SLI the GTS 450 SLI graphics cards saw a healthy performance boost as the frame rate was increased by 98% when adding in a second card.

This allowed the GeForce GTS 450 SLI configuration to beat the Radeon HD 5770 Crossfire cards by a 7% margin, and divide honors with the single Radeon HD 5870.

Article Index

The GeForce GTS 450 Arrives
GeForce GTS 450 GPU in Detail
Palit GeForce GTS 450 Sonic Platinum
Test System Specs & 3Dmark Vantage
Benchmarks: Aliens vs. Predator, Mass Effect 2
Benchmarks: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Dirt 2
Benchmarks: Battlefield Bad Company 2, Far Cry 2
Benchmarks: Just Cause 2, Crysis Warhead
Benchmarks: Metro 2033, Splinter Cell Conviction
Benchmarks: S.T.A.L.K.E.R., World in Conflict
Power Consumption & Temperatures
Overclocking Performance
Final Thoughts

Republished with permission from

Steven Walton is the chief hardware editor at TechSpot; he also runs his own review site Legion Hardware.

TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.

Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 Super OC 1GB in SLI

Video Cards & GPUs


That time has come for the latest, most talked about video cards from NVIDIA where we pair the Galaxy GTS 450 Super OC with another one and see what happens.

Published Sep 16, 2010 6:19 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST

Manufacturer: Galaxy

15 minute read time

Introduction and Setup


SLI, CrossFire and just multi card setups in general have held little value over the past few years. But while it hasn’t really changed for AMD, it has for NVIDIA; the GTX 400 series has brought with it some exceptional value when it comes to SLI and the main reason for that is NVIDIA has done an exceptional job lately when it comes to increasing the scaling ability with two cards.

We had always hoped that adding a second card into the mix would carry gains of almost 100% and these days we’re almost there with 100% gains; in some cases even being met in certain games.

When we started to throw overclocking into the mix, we really began to see some great value from the GTX 470 when in SLI. Some extra voltage and a nice bump in clocks saw the model perform exceptionally well. Jump forward to the GTX 460 and you’re getting amazing performance out of the model in SLI; especially when you’re talking about setups costing easily under $500. The setup kills the GTX 480 in performance and at the same time offers us support for Surround Vision.

Today it’s time to find out how the GTS 450 goes in this configuration. It’s got the price, but has it got the performance?

Setting up SLI

Setting up SLI is really a breeze these days. We slot both cards in, run the install suite for the drivers and once we’ve rebooted into Windows we open the NVIDIA control panel and enable SLI. Once that’s done we just double check in GPU-Z and as you can see on the bottom line, SLI is enabled.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

As we mentioned recently, we’ve just undergone some changes with the testbeds and for that reasons we don’t have as many results as we’re used to. And while we’re filling them up quickly, currently most of the models we’re looking at are mid range ones.

With that said, we’ll be comparing the Galaxy GTS 450 Super OC in SLI against just the one Galaxy GTS 450, the MSI GTS 450 at 950MHz, the HD 5770 and the ECS Black GTX 460 1GB.

Let’s get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

Straight off the bat we can see how strong SLI performance is. Not only does it offer a good jump over the ECS Black GTX 460 which carries with it an overclock, but its scaling is fantastic with performance being almost double under 3DMark Vantage.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

Heaven like Vantage shows some very strong performance; both when compared to the GTX 460, and just to the single Galaxy GTS 450 Super OC.

Benchmarks — Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

Getting stuck into the games, we see the setup really shine. You can see 2560 x 1600 wasn’t an option before, but it’s a different story here with us getting well above the 60 FPS average we need.

Benchmarks — Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

Across the board we’ve got very strong performance, excellent scaling, and you can see we’ve gone from a single card that could just scrape over that 60 FPS average at 1920 x 1200 to a setup that gives us a solid performance at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks — Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage: http://www.
Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York’s state nickname «The Empire State»), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

Across the board we saw that most of the cards struggled under Mafia II at all resolutions. The only card that gave us a bit of hope was the GTX 460. Here we again see the performance is extremely strong with the setup having no problems at 1920 x 1200. Hitting up the detail a little, you could probably get smooth game play at 2560 x 1600 as well.

Benchmarks — Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark — Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, «There’s nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates… unless you had some kind of grudge.»

While we again see the GTS 450 SLI setup struggles under Lost Planet, it’s the only one to break the 60 FPS average we want. Its 1920 x 1200 performance is even stronger than the single GTX 460 at 1680 x 1050.

Benchmarks — Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

We again see like Lost Planet the GTS 450 SLI setup struggles again, but it’s the only setup here that’s able to break the 60 FPS average in this very intensive game.

Benchmarks — Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark — Elezen (Male)
Developer Homepage: http://www.
Product Homepage:

Final Fantasy XIV, also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online, is the fourteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and is developed and published by Square Enix. The game takes place in a land called Hydaelyn, mainly in a region named Eorzea, which will have a contemporaneously aesthetic blend of science fiction and classic fantasy elements.

The battle and job systems will be different from the one previously used in Final Fantasy XI, which utilized experience points and level-based progression. Final Fantasy XIV is being designed to utilize a skill-based progression[15] system similar to that of Final Fantasy II. Character races will resemble and allow players to create avatars similar to ones in Final Fantasy XI. Group play has been de-emphasized, and now solo and group play have been balanced. Weapon use will alter «character development».

Note: Final Fantasy XIV gives us a score and not a normal FPS rating, our understanding is that anything around 2000 points or above is considered playable.

Final Fantasy XIV performance is strong. Its scaling isn’t as strong as some of the other games we’ve looked at, though.

Benchmarks — Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called «Focus Attacks» («Saving Attack» for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

Across the board we could see that all our cards averaged over 120 FPS at 2560 x 1600, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing huge numbers here when in SLI.

Benchmarks — Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

Across the board, just mammoth gains here. It’s the fastest setup at 2560 x 1600 and more importantly is well and truly playable at that resolution.

Benchmarks — Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum — Gotham’s psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City’s most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman’s gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker’s demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

We saw the Galaxy GTS 450 Super OC perform strong under Batman AA in single card form; in SLI those numbers are just improved.

Benchmarks — High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren’t struggling before they will start to now.

While Mafia II and AvP have trouble still with AA and Street Fighter IV continues to be strong, we can see that under Far Cry 2 we’re able to get over that 30 FPS minimum which is so important.

Benchmarks — PhysX Tests

PhysX Tests

Here we’re able to find out when PhysX is turned on in games that support it what kind of frame rates we’re able to get. We always set PhysX to the highest possible in game settings while also keeping detail at its highest.

With PhysX on the scaling just isn’t as strong under Mafia II and we’re still below that 60 FPS average we need at all resolutions. Batman AA on the other hand is strong and we’re well and truly playable at 1920 x 1200. With 2560 x 1600 performance we’re falling a bit short, but those few extra FPS wouldn’t be hard to pick up.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

It comes as no surprise that when you start cramming the cards together they get a bit warmer, but it’s nothing to really be worrying about.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

Noise levels are a little louder, but nothing major at all. The difference with the second card added is hardly noticeable.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or «Power Thingy» as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum — only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

Power draw does indeed go up, but its number is still relatively low and any decent 600+ Watt power supply wouldn’t run into any problems.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., Mafia 2 (PhysX Off), Lost Planet 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Final Fantasy XIV, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off) and our four High Quality tests which include Mafia 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won’t be re-tested, next to each model you’ll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

It comes as no surprise that the setup slides into top spot on our new TPR graphs and ignoring the ECS GTX 460 Black at 930MHz, you can really see that compared to the card at stock clocks the performance jump here is really strong.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on In the event the card isn’t listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can’t source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won’t change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

With our new TVR graph being very dominated with NVIDIA mid range cards at the moment, the overall value of the setup doesn’t look as strong as some of the other cards. If this was on our older TVR graph, though, it would look a lot more impressive. The value of this setup is still exceptional, nonetheless.

Final Thoughts

The performance you’re getting out of a $300 US setup here is just amazing and considering that the GTX 460 is well into the $200 US price bracket, running a pair of these in SLI is a very worthwhile setup.

Something else that’s fantastic about these mid range SLI setups is that while they’re not as fast as a GTX 480 SLI setup, you don’t run into the same problems with CPU limitation being an issue, so you can really get the most out of the cards, and really get some amazing performance.

The price of the Galaxy GTS 450 Super OC combined with the effort that NVIDIA has put in on the scaling of SLI means that this is again another weapon of a setup. For the past six months when people would talk about CrossFire HD 5770s, people would ask why? Why not just buy a HD 5850? or HD 5870? In the end the latter cards offered a much better all round deal. The GTX 460 and GTS 450 in SLI aren’t like that; it’s a fantastic option when compared to buying a card like the GTX 470 and GTX 480.

NVIDIA has now shown its hand when it comes to the mid-range market and we’ve been told that AMD has its eyes firmly set on the GTX 460 when it starts launching the HD 6000 series from October. A single card setup is only going to paint part of the picture. Unless AMD can offer a card for similar prices that perform much better, or scale considerably better than they do at the moment, AMD could continue to be in trouble when it comes to performance users who don’t have the budget to buy GTX 480s and HD 5970s.

The massive price difference between the GTX 460 and GTS 450 make this SLI setup something to consider, especially when you consider the fact that we’ve looked at cards that retail for around $15 US less, which would bring an SLI setup to around $270 US; a price that really isn’t all that much higher than the GTX 460.

AMD seem to think the HD 5770 is a safe card, as compared to a stock GTS 450 it continues to win, but it’s more expensive. Partners are clearly interested in overclocking the model, but the HD 5770s overclocking potential isn’t nearly as strong and two HD 5770s in CrossFire seems like a bit of a waste of money; a perception that’s not being seen with these new mid range 400 series cards from NVIDIA.

Adding a second card into the mix is game changing. You’re talking about a card that blitzes through just about anything now at 1680 x 1050 with maximum image quality, and a setup that can easily play a lot of games at 2560 x 1600. You’ve also got a setup that allows Surround Vision and if you look at three 1680 x 1050 monitors which offer only about 25% more strain on the GPUs versus a single output at 2560 x 1600, it’s clear that you’re going to be able to run games at 5040 x 1050 with few dramas, if not the only problem being you might have to move from Very High image quality to High or Medium in some cases.

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Shawn Baker

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

ENGTS450/DI/1GD5, ENGTS450/DI/1GD5, GeForce® GTS 450 810MHz, 1GB GDDR5 3608MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DVI+HDMI+VGA, Retail, ASUS

True Custom Computer Builder specializing in Assembly of Gaming Computers, Laptops, Workstations, Servers

ENGTS450/DI/1GD5, GeForce® GTS 450 810MHz, 1GB GDDR5 3608MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DVI+HDMI+VGA, Retail

Powered by NVIDIA® GeForce® GTS 450 GPU, ENGTS450/DI/1GD5 ASUS new video card features 850 MHz core clock speed and 3800 MHz memory clock speed. ASUS GeForce® GTS450 graphics card enables compact DX11 and 3D performance.


ASUS GeForce® GTS450 graphics card enables compact DX11 and 3D performance

  • Engine overclocked to 810MHz
  • Boost up to 50%* faster with ASUS exclusive Voltage Tweak
  • Armament materials of POSCAP and 4-phase power are used for better overclocking ability
  • AIWI turns your iPhone &iPod touch into a game joystick to control exciting PC games

Enjoy Cool and Quiet Gaming Experience with Asus “Own Designed” GTS450 board

ASUS Exclusive Innovation:

810MHz Overclocked!

Factory overclocked to perform at 810MHz, higher than stock performance, resulting in higher frame rates in games.

Voltage Tweak

Full throttle overclocking with exclusive ASUS Voltage Tweak via Smart Doctor – boosting 50%* more speed, performance and satisfaction!

Armament materials of POSCAP and 4-phase power

Built for better overclocking ability.

EMI Shield

Effectively blocks 66% radiations to protect user’s health and improve graphics clarity

GPU Guard

Prevents cracking and fracturing, even increasing drop and shock damage resistance — increasing the card’s strain threshold by 80%-100%.

Fuse Protection

Fuse Protection technology delivers double the over-current protection for risk-free computing

ASUS Smart Doctor

Your intelligent hardware protection and powerful overclocking tool


Real-time overclocking, benchmarking and video capturing in any PC game!

Splendid™ Video Intelligence Technology

Optimizes colors in various entertainment scenarios with five special modes — standard, game, scenery, night view and theater.


Turns your iPhone and iPod Touch into a motion controller for limitless gaming fun. For further details, please visit

Graphics GPU Features:

  • Powered by NVIDIA® GeForce GTS450
  • GeForce CUDA™

    Unlocks the power of GPU’s processor cores to accelerate the most demanding system tasks

    Supports multi-GPU technology for extreme performance ode
  • NVIDIA PhysX™ ready

    Dynamic visual effects like blazing explosions, reactive debris, realistic water, and lifelike characters
  • NVIDIA® 3D Vision™

    Immersive yourself in 3D gaming world
  • DirectX® 11 Done Right

    Brings new levels of visual realism to gaming on the PC and get top-notch performance

I/O Ports:

  • DVI
  • 1x VGA
  • 1x HDMI


Graphics Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
Bus Standard PCI Express 2. 0
Video Memory GDDR5 1GB
Effective Memory Size 1024 MB
Engine Clock 810 MHz
Memory Clock 3608 MHz ( 902 MHz GDDR5 )
Memory Interface 128-bit
Resolution D-Sub Max Resolution : 2048×1536

DVI Max Resolution : 2560×1600
Interface D-Sub Output : Yes x 1

DVI Output : Yes x 1 (DVI-I)

HDMI Output : Yes x 1
Software ASUS Utilities & Driver / AIWI software
Dimensions 7. 874 » x 4.376 » Inch


* All specifications are subject to change without notice. Please check with your supplier for exact offers. Products may not be available in all markets.

* PCB color and bundled software versions are subject to change without notice.

* Brand and product names mentioned are trademarks of their respective companies.

PNY nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1024MB PCIe Display Card


1 review

Key Features

  • DVI-I + DVI-I + mini-HDMI
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16
  • Occupies Two Slots

The nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1024MB PCIe Display Card from PNY is a powerful 3D display card for use with Windows computer systems. The card installs in an available PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. It requires an empty adjacent slot to accommodate its double-width form factor.

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  • Overview

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PNY GTS 450 Overview

  • 1Description
  • 2Microsoft DirectX 11 Support
  • 3nVIDIA PhysX Technology
  • 4nVIDIA 3D Vision Ready
  • 5nVIDIA 3D Vision Surround Ready
  • 6nVIDIA CUDA Technology
  • 72-Way nVIDIA SLI Technology
  • 8Hardware Video Decode Acceleration
  • 9TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio Bitstreaming Support
  • 10Dual-Link DVI Support
  • 11Microsoft Windows 7 Support
  • 12PCI Express 2. 0 Support

The nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1024MB PCIe Display Card from PNY is a powerful 3D display card for use with Windows computer systems. The card installs in an available PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. It requires an empty adjacent slot to accommodate its double-width form factor.

The card supports a number of advanced graphics technologies. It can handle games and applications that are written using the DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0 libraries with equal ease. It can be used with an optional nVIDIA 3D Vision kit to add true 3D support to your computing experience. If your system can support two of these cards you can take advantage of SLI technology, which effectively doubles 3D graphics performance by spreading the rendering workload across two GPUs.

The card’s GPU also offers support for nVIDIA CUDA and PhysX technologies. CUDA allows compatible applications to leverage the card’s powerful processor to aid in computations, which translates into a significant speed boost. The PhysX engine is used by games to simulate real-world physics. As this is handled by the GPU, it allows the computer’s CPU to work on other aspects of gameplay — which translates into smoother gameplay at higher resolution!

DirectX 11 GPU with Shader Model 5.0 support is designed for ultra-high performance, especially in the API’s key graphics feature — GPU-accelerated tessellation.

Full support for nVIDIA PhysX technology enables a totally new class of physical gaming interaction for a more dynamic and realistic experience.

Support for nVIDIA 3D Vision brings a fully immersive stereoscopic 3D experience to your PC. The optional 3D Vision kit is a combination of high-tech wireless glasses and advanced software that work together to transform hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D. In addition, you can watch 3D movies and view 3D digital photographs in eye popping, crystal-clear quality.

Expand your games across three displays in full stereoscopic 3D for the ultimate «inside the game» experience with the power of nVIDIA 3D Vision and SLI technologies. nVIDIA Surround also supports triple screen gaming with non-stereo displays.

CUDA technology unlocks the power of the GPU’s processor cores to accelerate the most demanding tasks such as video transcoding, physics simulation, ray tracing, and more, delivering incredible performance improvements over traditional CPUs.

Industry leading 2-way nVIDIA SLI technology offers amazing performance scaling by implementing 2-way AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering) for the world’s premier gaming solution. It runs well under Windows 7 thanks to solid, state-of-the-art drivers.

High-definition video decoding acceleration and post-processing combine to deliver unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and videos.

Full support for TrueHD and DTS-HD advanced lossless multi-channel HD audio codecs bring the rich sound of the master recording to your living room.

The card is able to drive some of the industry’s largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays. It supports up to 2560 x 1600 pixels via Dual-Link DVI, complete with support for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

Windows 7 is the next generation operating system that will mark a dramatic improvement in the way the OS takes advantage of the graphics processing unit (GPU), providing a more compelling user experience. By taking advantage of the GPU for both graphics and computing, Windows 7 will not only make today’s PCs more visual and more interactive, but also ensure that they have the speed and responsiveness that customers want.

Offers full support for the enhanced performance afforded by the PCI Express 2.0 bus.

In the Box
  • PNY nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1024MB PCIe Display Card
  • DVI to VGA Adapter
  • mini-HDMI to HDMI Adapter
  • 6-Pin PCIe to Molex Power Adapter
  • Installation DVD (Detailed Installation Guide, nVIDIA Graphics Drivers, nVIDIA GeForce Demos, PhysX System Software, vReveal 2. 0 Trial Software)
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 5-Year Limited Warranty (3 Years Extended to 5 Years upon Completion of Online Registration with PNY)
    • Description
    • Microsoft DirectX 11 Support
    • nVIDIA PhysX Technology
    • nVIDIA 3D Vision Ready
    • nVIDIA 3D Vision Surround Ready
    • nVIDIA CUDA Technology
    • 2-Way nVIDIA SLI Technology
    • Hardware Video Decode Acceleration
    • TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio Bitstreaming Support
    • Dual-Link DVI Support
    • Microsoft Windows 7 Support
    • PCI Express 2.0 Support

    PNY GTS 450 Specs

    Stream Processors nVIDIA GeForce GTS 450
    GPU Clock Core: 783MHz
    Processor: 1566MHz
    Memory Amount 1GB
    Memory Clock 3608MHz
    Memory Type GDDR5
    Memory Interface 128-bit
    Bus Type PCI Express 2. 0
    Bus Speed x16
    Rendering Pipelines 192 Processor Cores
    Geometry Engines Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Geometry Rate Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Pixel Fill Rate 25.1 Billion textures per second
    RAMDAC Not Specified by Manufacturer
    Multimedia Support
    FM Tuner None
    TV Tuner None
    DTV Tuner None
    HDTV Capable Yes (via mini-HDMI)
    Hardware MPEG None
    Display Support
    Computer Analog 1x VGA via included DVI to VGA adapter; 2x VGA via purchase of an additional adapter
    Computer Digital 2x Dual-Link DVI-I
    Video 1x HDMI via included mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter
    Multiple Display Configuration Yes (2x displays supported; 3x Displays Supported in SLI configuration)
    Display Resolutions
    Analog 2048 x 1536
    Digital 2560 x 1600
    Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
    I/O Connections
    Analog (PC) None
    Digital (PC) 2x Dual-Link DVI-I
    Video 1x mini-HDMI
    System Requirements Computer: Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon XP
    Operating System: Windows XP (32/64-bit), Vista (32/64-bit), 7 (32/64-bit)
    Memory: 2GB (4GB recommended)
    Hard Drive: 200MB
    Hardware: DVD-ROM drive, PCI Express x16 or PCI Express 2. 0 x16 slot with open adjacent slot, Two 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors, 450W power supply with 12V current rating of 38A

    Packaging Info

    Package Weight 1.8 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 12.6 x 6.3 x 2.6″

    PNY GTS 450 Reviews

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    GeForce 8800M GTX SLI vs GeForce GTS 450 Graphics cards Comparison

    When choosing between GeForce 8800M GTX SLI and GeForce GTS 450, it is worth examining the specifications of the models in detail. Do they meet the recommended requirements of modern games and software? Storage capacity, form factor, TDP, available ports, warranty and manufacturer support are all important. For example, the size of a PC case can limit the maximum thickness and length of the card. Often, instead of the factory overclocked card and RGB backlight, it is better to choose a reference model with a more efficient GPU. And make sure that your current power supply unit has the correct connection pins (using adapters is not recommended). This GPUs compare tool is meant to help you to choose the best graphics card for your build. Let’s find out the difference between GeForce 8800M GTX SLI and GeForce GTS 450.

    GeForce 8800M GTX SLI

    Check Price

    GeForce GTS 450

    Check Price

    GeForce 8800M GTX SLI is a Laptop Graphics Card

    Note: GeForce 8800M GTX SLI is only used in laptop graphics. It has lower GPU clock speed compared to the desktop variant, which results in lower power consumption, but also 10-30% lower gaming performance. Check available laptop models with GeForce 8800M GTX SLI here:

    GeForce 8800M GTX SLI Laptops

    Main Specs

      GeForce 8800M GTX SLI GeForce GTS 450
    Power consumption (TDP) 130 Watt 106 Watt
    Interface PCIe 2.0 x16
    Supplementary power connectors 6-pin
    Memory type GDDR3 GDDR5
    Maximum RAM amount 512 MB 1 GB
    Display Connectors 2x DVI, 1x mini-HDMI

    Check Price

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    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI has 22% more power consumption, than GeForce GTS 450.
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI has 511 GB more memory, than GeForce GTS 450.
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI is used in Laptops, and GeForce GTS 450 — in Desktops.
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI is build with G9x architecture, and GeForce GTS 450 — with Fermi.
    • Core clock speed of GeForce GTS 450 is 1066 MHz higher, than GeForce 8800M GTX SLI.
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI is manufactured by 65 nm process technology, and GeForce GTS 450 — by 40 nm process technology.
    • Memory clock speed of GeForce GTS 450 is 1004 MHz higher, than GeForce 8800M GTX SLI.

    Game benchmarks

    Assassin’s Creed OdysseyBattlefield 5Call of Duty: WarzoneCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveCyberpunk 2077Dota 2Far Cry 5FortniteForza Horizon 4Grand Theft Auto VMetro ExodusMinecraftPLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDSRed Dead Redemption 2The Witcher 3: Wild HuntWorld of Tanks
    high / 1080p 6−7 3−4
    ultra / 1080p 4−5 1−2
    QHD / 1440p 0−1 0−1
    low / 720p 16−18 14−16
    medium / 1080p 7−8 5−6
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is 33% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    high / 1080p 10−12 8−9
    ultra / 1080p 9−10 6−7
    QHD / 1440p 0−1 0−1
    low / 720p 21−24 20−22
    medium / 1080p 10−12 8−9
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Battlefield 5 is 18% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 45−50 45−50
    high / 1080p 45−50 40−45
    QHD / 1440p 0−1 0−1
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Call of Duty: Warzone is 4% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 130−140 120−130
    medium / 768p 100−110 95−100
    ultra / 1080p 50−55 45−50
    QHD / 1440p 27−30 24−27
    high / 768p 75−80 70−75
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is 8% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 55−60 70−75
    ultra / 1080p 18−20 20−22
    medium / 1080p 45−50 40−45
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce GTS 450 in Cyberpunk 2077 is 9% more, than GeForce 8800M GTX SLI.
    low / 768p 75−80 75−80
    medium / 768p 55−60 55−60
    ultra / 1080p 30−35 30−33
    GeForce 8800M GTX SLI and GeForce GTS 450 have the same average FPS in Dota 2.
    high / 1080p 7−8 4−5
    ultra / 1080p 7−8 4−5
    4K / 2160p 3−4 1−2
    low / 720p 16−18 14−16
    medium / 1080p 8−9 5−6
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Far Cry 5 is 33% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    high / 1080p 14−16 12−14
    ultra / 1080p 10−11 7−8
    QHD / 1440p 4−5
    low / 720p 55−60 55−60
    medium / 1080p 21−24 16−18
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Fortnite is 13% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    high / 1080p 10−12 7−8
    ultra / 1080p 10−11 6−7
    QHD / 1440p 1−2 0−1
    low / 720p 24−27 21−24
    medium / 1080p 12−14 9−10
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Forza Horizon 4 is 36% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 50−55 50−55
    medium / 768p 40−45
    high / 1080p 10−12 9−10
    ultra / 1080p 6−7 4−5
    QHD / 1440p 0−1 0−1
    medium / 720p 40−45
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Grand Theft Auto V is 4% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    high / 1080p 4−5 2−3
    ultra / 1080p 3−4 0−1
    4K / 2160p 0−1 0−1
    low / 720p 10−12 8−9
    medium / 1080p 6−7 4−5
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Metro Exodus is 40% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 90−95 85−90
    high / 1080p 85−90 65−70
    ultra / 1080p 75−80
    medium / 1080p 90−95
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Minecraft is 16% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    high / 1080p 16−18
    ultra / 1080p 14−16 12−14
    low / 720p 30−35 27−30
    medium / 1080p 16−18 14−16
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is 16% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    high / 1080p 6−7
    ultra / 1080p 7−8 4−5
    QHD / 1440p 0−1 0−1
    low / 720p 10−12 8−9
    medium / 1080p 10−11 8−9
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in Red Dead Redemption 2 is 28% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 21−24 18−20
    medium / 768p 16−18 12−14
    high / 1080p 8−9 6−7
    ultra / 1080p 6−7 4−5
    4K / 2160p 1−2
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is 30% more, than GeForce GTS 450.
    low / 768p 85−90 70−75
    medium / 768p 40−45 35−40
    ultra / 1080p 18−20 16−18
    high / 768p 35−40 30−35
    The average gaming FPS of GeForce 8800M GTX SLI in World of Tanks is 17% more, than GeForce GTS 450.

    Full Specs

      GeForce 8800M GTX SLI GeForce GTS 450
    Architecture G9x Fermi
    Code name NB8E-GTX GF106
    Type Laptop Desktop
    Release date 19 November 2007 13 September 2010
    Pipelines 192 192
    Core clock speed 500 MHz 1566 MHz
    Transistor count 1508 Million 1,170 million
    Manufacturing process technology 65 nm 40 nm
    Texture fill rate 25. 1 billion/sec
    Floating-point performance 601.3 gflops
    Length 8.25″ (210 mm) (21 cm)
    Memory bus width 256 Bit 128 Bit
    Memory clock speed 800 MHz 1804 (3608 data rate) MHz
    Memory bandwidth 57.7 GB/s
    Shared memory
    DirectX DirectX 10, Shader 4.0 12 (11_0)
    Shader Model 5.1
    OpenGL 4.2
    OpenCL 1.1
    Vulkan N/A
    CUDA +
    CUDA cores 192
    Bus support PCI-E 2. 0 x 16
    Height 4.376″ (111 mm) (11.1 cm)
    SLI options +
    HDMI +
    Maximum VGA resolution 2048×1536
    Audio input for HDMI Internal
    Bitcoin / BTC (SHA256) 40 Mh/s
    Laptop size large

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    Similar compares

    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI vs Radeon HD 8770M
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI vs GeForce GTX 275
    • GeForce GTS 450 vs Radeon HD 8770M
    • GeForce GTS 450 vs GeForce GTX 275
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI vs Quadro 4000M
    • GeForce 8800M GTX SLI vs GeForce 930A
    • GeForce GTS 450 vs Quadro 4000M
    • GeForce GTS 450 vs GeForce 930A

    Nvidia’s GeForce GTS 450 graphics processor

    Generally, we’d open a review like this one by reminding you of the recent history of video cards and graphics chips like this one, setting the proper context for everything that comes next. Today, though, I have a plane to catch, and I anticipate writing a lot of the commentary on the following pages from an oddly crouched position in a coach-class seat while stale air tainted with the faint smell of farts blows in my face.

    The source of our rush is a long, intense week spent with Nvidia’s new graphics card, the GeForce GTS 450. Priced at around $130, this card is Nvidia’s answer to the Radeon HD 5700 series—if you can call it an “answer” after the competition has been on the market for a full year. Regardless of the timing, though, the GTS 450—and the GPU behind it—is a potentially attractive proposition for those who lack the resolve and (display) resolution to spend more than the cost of three big-name games on the hardware required to play them. Keep reading for our detailed testing and incredibly rushed text on the GTS 450.

    Yep, it’s yet another Fermi derivative

    The graphics chip behind the GeForce GTS 450 is the third variety of the DirectX 11-class Fermi architecture that Nvidia has brought to the desktop market. As you may know, many chip designs these days are essentially modular, and can be scaled up and down in size and features to meet different goals.

    The chip that powers the GTS 450, known as the GF106, is perhaps best thought of as roughly half of the GF104 GPU used in the GeForce GTX 460. Where the GF104 has two GPCs, or graphics processing clusters, the GF106 has just one, so it has half the triangle setup rate of the GF104—and just one fourth that of the big daddy, the GF100.

    A block diagram of the GF106 GPU. Source: Nvidia.

    Inside of that GPC are four shader multiprocessor blocks, or SMs, arranged essentially as they are in the GF104. That means each SM has 48 stream processors (Nvidia likes to call them “CUDA cores”; we do not) and a texture block capable of sampling and filtering eight texels per clock. In total, then, the GF106 has 192 SPs and can filter 32 texels per clock. For compatibility reasons, this GPU has the ability to process double-precision floating-point math, but only at one-twelfth the rate it can handle single-precision math, again like the GF104. (The GF100 is much more formidable, but it serves different markets.)

    If you look closely at the diagram above, you’ll notice that the GF106 bucks expectations for a mid-range graphics chip in a couple of notable ways. Rather than the expected pair of 64-bit GDDR5 memory interfaces, the GF106 has a trio. Correspondingly, it has three ROP partitions, each capable of outputting eight pixels per clock, rather than the two ROP partitions one might expect. The 50% wider memory interface and ROP partitions give the GF106 substantially more potential oomph than competitors like AMD’s mid-range Juniper GPU.






    die size



    process node

    G92b 754 256 55-nm TSMC
    GF100 3000 529* 40-nm TSMC
    GF104 1950 331* 40-nm TSMC
    GF106 1170 240* 40-nm TSMC
    RV770 956 256 55-nm TSMC
    Juniper 1040 166 40-nm TSMC
    Cypress 2150 334 40-nm TSMC

    Of course, the extra power comes at a price, as you can see with a quick glance at the transistor count and die size numbers on the right. The GF106 is quite a bit larger than Juniper, all told.

    Incidentally, since Nvidia doesn’t divulge die sizes, we’ve put asterisks next to some of the figures in the table. We’ve simply gone with the best published numbers we can find for GF100 and GF104, but since it lacks a metal cap, we were able to measure the GF106 at roughly 15 mm by 16 mm, or 240 mm². We may be off by less than a millimeter in each dimension with our quick sizing via wooden ruler, but we’re pretty close.

    The larger chip size likely translates into higher manufacturing costs for Nvidia, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into higher prices for folks buying graphics cards based on it. We’re just showing you this information for the sake of chip-geekery. Following further in that vein, we have some similar-sized pictures of the two chips below, shown next to a U.S. quarter to celebrate American hegemony and also to provide a size reference.



    The intriguing thing about the GF106 is that, like all of the Fermi-derived graphics processors to date, we’ve not yet seen a product based on a fully enabled version of the chip. The GTS 450, as we’re about to find out, only uses a portion of the GPU’s total power. We’re dying to know whether Nvidia has been producing gimpy implementations of its DX11 graphics chips out of necessity (due to manufacturing and yield issues), for strategic reasons (keeping a little juice in reserve), or some combination of the two (and what combination, really, which is the key question). We don’t know yet, but we do get to use a lot of parentheses in the interim, which is its own reward.

    Introducing the GTS 450

    For the GTS 450, Nvidia has elected to disable the GF106’s third memory controller and ROP partition, so the card effectively has a 128-bit path to memory and 16 pixels per clock of ROP throughput. That allows the GTS 450 to meet the Juniper-based Radeon HD 5700 series head-on with very similar specifications.

    Here’s a look at the GeForce GTS 450 reference design from Nvidia. Retail cards should be based on it, but will differ to one degree or another. The GPU on this card is clocked at 783MHz (its double-pumped SMs thus run at 1566MHz), with a memory clock of 900MHz—or 3.6 Gbps, as is the fashion for reporting quad-data-rate GDDR5 speeds. Onboard are eight memory chips—four on the front and four on the back—totaling 1GB of capacity. You’ll notice, also, that there are two pads empty on the top side of the board, visible above. Two more empty pads are on the back, too, raising the likely prospect of a full-on GF106 card based on this same PCB design.

    The reference GTS 450 has Nvidia’s now-standard complement of twin dual-link DVI ports and a mini-HDMI output. Board makers may deviate from this formula, as we’ll see. All GTS 450 cards should only require a single, six-pin auxiliary power input, though, since the card’s max power rating, or TDP, is 106W.

    GTS 450 cards running at stock clock frequencies are already selling online for Nvidia’s suggested price of $130. That squarely positions the GTS 450 against the Radeon HD 5750, which has dipped as low as $120 this past weekend in order to welcome the GTS 450.

    For just ten bucks more, or $140, you can grab the Asus ENGTS450 TOP card pictured above, with considerably higher clock rates: a 925MHz GPU core, 1850MHz shaders, and 1GHz/4 Gbps memory. Nvidia often leaves board makers with some leeway for higher clock speeds at higher prices, but this is a bit of funny move, because the GF106 apparently has beaucoup headroom—and at $140, this version of the GTS 450 is pretty much a direct competitor for the Radeon HD 5770. This Sapphire 5770, for instance, sells at that same price.

    As is obvious from the picture, the Asus TOP card has a custom cooler. What may not be so obvious, given the shrouding on both, is that Asus’ cooler is quite a bit beefier than the stock one, with more metal and a larger heatsink surface. Asus calls this its Direct CU cooler, due to that fact that the copper heatpipes (beneath the chrome plating) make direct contact with the surface of the GPU. Asus’ other enhancements over the reference board include a custom VRM design with a higher phase count, the ability to tweak the GPU voltage for overclocking via its Smart Doctor software, and a metal bracket across the top of the board to provide additional sturdiness. Oh, and Asus includes a full-size HDMI port, a VGA connector, and just one DVI output.

    We have little patience for debating over five or ten bucks in an age when top-flight games run $60—heck, we’re lousy at reviewing video cards in this category, since we’d nearly always step up a notch or two—but if it were up to us to choose, we’d pick the $140 Asus TOP over the $130 stock card ten times out of ten. If that choice is too daunting for you, we hear MSI is splitting the difference by offering a GTS 450 at 850MHz/4 Gbps for $135. That should rouse you out of your stultifying indecision.

    We took some flak for not including higher-clocked retail versions of competing Radeon cards in our recent SLI vs. CrossFire roundup, so when we set out to do this review—before Nvidia revealed the exact pricing of the GTS 450 to us—we went looking for a hot-clocked Radeon HD 5750 to serve as a comparison. The best we could find selling at Newegg was Sapphire’s Vapor-X variant, pictured above, which Sapphire kindly agreed to send us. This baby is clocked at 710MHz/1160MHz, up 10MHz from a stock 5750. The custom Vapor-X cooler on this card is pretty nice, but unfortunately, this product is currently selling for 150 bucks at Newegg. A mail-in rebate will knock that down to $135, net, but we think this thing’s asking price will have to drop in response to movement on other 5750 and 5770 cards, as well as the GTS 450’s introduction. We’ve included full results for the Vapor-X 5750 on the following pages, so you can see how the tweaked clocks and fancy cooler change things.

    Some driver changes from Nvidia

    Alongside the release of the GTS 450, Nvidia today is introducing a new generation of its driver software, release 260, that will bring some notable improvements for owners of various GeForce cards. The firm claims performance boosts for all GTS/GTX 400-series graphics cards in certain games, ranging from 7-29%. Often, such claims for new drivers are limited to very specific scenarios—as is the 29% number in this case, which applies to a certain game at certain settings—but we can’t deny that Nvidia has made tremendous progress in tuning the performance of Fermi-based GPUs since their introduction. These drivers should be another step forward.

    Beyond that, the release 260 drivers enable bitstream audio output over HDMI, with support for 24-bit, 96 and 192KHz audio formats from compatible Blu-ray movies on GTX400-series GPUs, as well as the GT240/220/210. Both the Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio formats are supported.

    Release 260 also brings a new user interface for the setup of multi-display configurations, and happily, the software for the funny-glasses-based GeForce 3D Vision is now packaged with the standard video driver.

    All of these changes come in a new driver package, with an installer script that offers more control over which components are installed. In my experience, this installer is quite a bit quicker than the old one, which sometimes paused for minutes at a stretch for no apparent reason. Among the new choices in this script is a clean install option that purportedly “completely wipes out” older video drivers before installing new ones. That may help with troubleshooting—or simply satisfying those OCD urges—in some cases.

    Our testing methods

    Many of our performance tests are scripted and repeatable, but for a couple of games, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Metro 2033, we used the Fraps utility to record frame rates while playing a 60-second sequence from the game. Although capturing frame rates while playing isn’t precisely repeatable, we tried to make each run as similar as possible to all of the others. We raised our sample size, testing each FRAPS sequence five times per video card, in order to counteract any variability. We’ve included second-by-second frame rate results from Fraps for those games, and in that case, you’re seeing the results from a single, representative pass through the test sequence.

    As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and we’ve reported the median result.

    Our test systems were configured like so:

    Processor Core i7-965 Extreme 3. 2GHz
    Motherboard Gigabyte EX58-UD5
    North bridge X58 IOH
    South bridge ICh20R
    Memory size 12GB (6 DIMMs)
    Memory type Corsair Dominator CMD12GX3M6A1600C8


    at 1600MHz

    Memory timings 8-8-8-24 2T
    Chipset drivers INF update 9. 1.1.1025

    Rapid Storage Technology

    Audio Integrated ICh20R/ALC889A

    with Realtek R2.51 drivers

    Graphics Radeon HD 5750 1GB

    with Catalyst 10.8 drivers & 10.8a application profiles

    Sapphire Radeon HD 5750 1GB Vapor-X

    with Catalyst 10.8 drivers & 10.8a application profiles

    Sapphire Radeon HD 5750 1GB Vapor-X + Radeon HD 5750 1GB

    with Catalyst 10.8 drivers & 10.8a application profiles

    Gigabyte Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    with Catalyst 10. 8 drivers & 10.8a application profiles

    XFX Radeon HD 5830 1GB

    with Catalyst 10.8 drivers & 10.8a application profiles

    EVGA GeForce GTS 250 Superclocked 1GB

    with ForceWare 260.52 drivers

    GeForce GTS 450 1GB

    with ForceWare 260.52 drivers

    Asus ENGTS450 TOP 1GB

    with ForceWare 260.52 drivers

    Dual GeForce GTS 450 1GB

    with ForceWare 260.52 drivers

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 OC 768MB
    with ForceWare 260.52 drivers
    Hard drive WD RE3 WD1002FBYS 1TB SATA
    Power supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Watt
    OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition

    DirectX runtime update June 2010

    Thanks to Intel, Corsair, Western Digital, Gigabyte, and PC Power & Cooling for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. AMD, Nvidia, XFX, Asus, Sapphire, Zotac, and Gigabyte supplied the graphics cards for testing, as well.

    Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

    We used the following test applications:

    • D3D RightMark beta 4
    • Unigine Heaven 2.1
    • Aliens vs. Predator benchmark
    • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    • Borderlands
    • DiRT 2
    • Just Cause 2
    • Left 4 Dead 2
    • Mafia II
    • Starcraft II
    • Fraps 3.2.3

    The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

    Running the numbers

      Peak pixel

    fill rate


    Peak bilinear

    INT8 texel

    filtering rate*

    *FP16 is half rate





    Peak shader







    GeForce GTS 250 11. 8 47.2 70.4 470 738
    EVGA GeForce GTS 250 Superclocked 12.3 49.3 71.9 484 770
    GeForce GTS 450 12.5 25.1 57.7 601 783
    Asus ENGTS450 TOP 14. 8 29.6 64.0 710 925
    GeForce GTX 460 768MB 16.2 37.8 86.4 907 1350
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 460 768MB OC 17.2 40.0 86.4 961 1430
    GeForce GTX 460 1GB 21. 6 37.8 115.2 907 1350
    GeForce GTX 465 19.4 26.7 102.6 855 1821
    GeForce GTX 470 24.3 34.0 133.9 1089 2428
    GeForce GTX 480 33.6 42.0 177. 4 1345 2800
    Radeon HD 5750 11.2 25.2 73.6 1008 700
    Sapphire Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X 11.4 25.6 74.2 1022 710
    Radeon HD 5770 13.6 34.0 76.8 1360 850
    Radeon HD 5830 12. 8 44.8 128.0 1792 800
    Radeon HD 5850 23.2 52.2 128.0 2088 725
    Radeon HD 5870 27.2 68.0 153.6 2720 850
    Radeon HD 5970 46.4 116.0 256. 0 4640 1450

    The table above shows theoretical peak throughput rates for these video cards and some of their bigger siblings in some key categories. As always, we’ll remind you that these are just theoretical numbers; delivered performance will almost always be lower and will depend on the GPU architecture.

    You’ll notice that the GTS 450 cards don’t lead the competing Radeons in any of the heavy-hitter categories like texture filtering rate, memory bandwidth, or shader arithmetic. The gap in peak shader arithmetic rate is especially daunting. That’s par for the course in this generation of GPUs, and Fermi-based chips have shown an ability to perform relatively well in the real world, regardless. We can measure a couple of these capabilities to get a sense why that is.

    We’ve grown increasingly dissatisfied with the texture fill rate tool in 3DMark Vantage, so we’ve reached back into the cupboard and pulled out an old favorite, D3D RightMark, to test texture filtering performance.

    Unlike 3DMark, this tool lets us test a range of filtering types, not just texture sampling rates. Unfortunately, D3D RightMark won’t test FP16 texture formats, but integer texture formats are still pretty widely used in games. I’ve plotted a range of results below, and to make things more readable, I’ve broken out a couple of filtering types into bar charts, as well. Since this test isn’t compatible with SLI, we’ve omitted those results. We’ve also left the CrossFire config out of the line plot for the sake of readability.

    The stock GTS 450 trails the Radeon HD 5770 with only bilinear filtering applied, but the GTS 450 gains strength as higher-quality filtering kicks in. At 16X aniso, the stock GTS 450 delivers more filtered texels than the 5750, and the higher-clock GTS 450 TOP nearly matches the Radeon HD 5770.

    As I’ve noted before, the Unigine Heaven demo’s “extreme” tessellation mode isn’t a very smart use of DirectX 11 tessellation, with too many triangles and little corresponding improvement in image quality. I think that makes it a poor representation of graphics workloads in future games and thus a poor benchmark of overall GPU performance.

    Pushing through all of those polygons does have its uses, though. This demo should help us tease out the differences in triangle throughput between these GPUs. To do so, we’ve tested at the relatively low resolution of 1680×1050, with 4X anisotropic filtering and no antialiasing. Shaders were set to “high” and tessellation to “extreme.”

    Fermi is the first GPU architecture to enable parallel processing of fundamental geometry in the graphics pipeline, which should help with handling high levels of tessellation in DirectX 11 games, but the GF106 chip in the GTS 450 has only a single rasterization engine, just like any 5000-series Radeon. As a result, the GTS 450 cards perform about like their direct Radeon competition. The GeForce GTX 460, with dual rasterizers, performs in league with the SLI and CrossFireX dual-GPU configs.

    Starcraft II

    We’ll start with a little game you may have heard of called Starcraft II. We tested SC2 by playing back a quarter-final match from a recent tournament using the game’s replay feature. This particular match was about 10 minutes in duration, and we captured frame rates over that time using the Fraps utility. Thanks to the relatively long time window involved, we decided not to repeat this test multiple times, like we usually do when testing games with Fraps.

    After capturing those results, we decided to concentrate our attention on the test data from the latter portion of the match, when the two sides had already completed their initial unit build-outs and were engaging in battle. This part of the match is much more graphically intensive and gives us a better sense of performance when it matters.

    We tested at the settings shown above, with the notable exception that we also enabled 4X antialiasing via these cards’ respective driver control panels. SC2 doesn’t support AA natively, but we think this class of card can produce playable frame rates with AA enabled—and the game looks better that way.

    With only one or two frames per second separating the 5750 from the GTS 450 and the 5770 from the GTS 450 TOP, we’re willing to call this one a wash, more or less. For this class of game, nearly all of these cards are producing acceptable frame rates, with lows just under 30 FPS. This is at a relatively high resolution for a $130 graphics card, too.

    The largest differences here are in the higher-end configs. The GeForce GTX 768MB, whose price Nvidia has just slashed to $170, outperforms the similarly-priced Radeon HD 5830. Nvidia has the edge in multi-GPU scaling, too, as the GTS 450 SLI setup nearly doubles the performance of a single card, while 5750 CrossFireX performance is relatively sluggish.

    Mafia II

    The open-world Mafia II is another new addition to our test suite, and we also tested it with Fraps.

    We tested at the settings shown above, and only after we’d gone down that path did we learn that turning on this game’s antialiasing option does something unexpected: it enables a 2X supersampled antialiasing mode, apparently. Supersampling touches every single pixel on the screen and thus isn’t very efficient, but we still saw playable enough frame rates at the settings we used. In fact, we need to look into it further, but we think Mafia II may also be using some form of post-processing or custom AA filter to further soften up edges. Whatever it’s doing, though, it seems to work. The game looks pretty darned good to our eyes, with very little in the way of crawling or jaggies on edges.

    Although this game includes special, GeForce-only PhysX-enhanced additional smithereens and flying objects, we decided to stick to a direct, head-to-head comparison, so we left those effects disabled.

    The Radeons look relatively stronger here, by a few FPS, in each price range. Only in SLI does a GeForce config come out on top.

    Aliens vs. Predator

    The new AvP game uses several DirectX 11 features to improve image quality and performance, including tessellation, advanced shadow sampling, and DX11-enhanced multisampled anti-aliasing. Naturally, we were pleased when the game’s developers put together an easily scriptable benchmark tool. This benchmark cycles through a range of scenes in the game, including one spot where a horde of tessellated aliens comes crawling down the floor, ceiling, and walls of a corridor.

    To keep frame rates playable on these cards, we had to compromise on image quality a little bit, mainly by dropping antialiasing. We also held texture quality at “High” and stuck to 4X anisotropic filtering. We did leave most of the DX11 options enabled, including “High” shadow quality with advanced shadow sampling, ambient occlusion, and tessellation. The use of DX11 effects ruled out the use of older, DX10-class video cards, so we’ve excluded them here.

    Once again, the differences are small enough that we can call these results a tie at each price point, but the Radeons do have the slight advantage in each case.

    Just Cause 2

    I’ve already sunk more hours than I’d care to admit into this open-world adventure, and I feel another bout coming on soon. JC2 has some flashy visuals courtesy of DirectX 10, and the sheer scope of the game world is breathtaking, as are the resulting view distances.

    Although JC2 includes a couple of visual effects generated by Nvidia’s CUDA GPU-computing API, we’ve left those disabled for our testing. The CUDA effects are only used sparingly in the game, anyhow, and we’d like to keep things even between the different GPU brands. I do think the water simulation looks gorgeous, but I’m not so impressed by the Bokeh filter used for depth-of-field effects.

    We tested performance with JC2‘s built-in benchmark, using the the “Dark Tower” sequence.

    Given that, you know, the frame rates are almost identical, we’d call this one yet another tie between the GTS 450s and the Radeon HD 5700 cards. The GTX 460 768MB outduels the Radeon HD 5830 here, though.

    DiRT 2: DX9

    This excellent racer packs a scriptable performance test. We tested at DiRT 2‘s “ultra” quality presets in both DirectX 9 and Direct X 11. The big difference between the two is that the DX11 mode includes tessellation on the crowd and water. Otherwise, they’re hardly distinguishable.


    DiRT 2: DX11

    Lots of results, but the pattern we’ve seen in prior pages isn’t substantially changed. At the highest resolution in both DX9 and DX11, the GTS 450 cards are bracketed, above and below, by the 5750 and 5770. Overall, the contests are close enough to be considered a tie at each price point—again, with the obvious exception that the GTX 460 768MB is faster than the Radeon HD 5830.

    Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    BC2 uses DirectX 11, but according to this interview, DX11 is mainly used to speed up soft shadow filtering. The DirectX 10 rendering path produces the same images.

    We turned up nearly all of the image quality settings in the game. Our test sessions took place in the first 60 seconds of the “Heart of Darkness” level.


    Ok, look, you get the idea about the 5750 and GTS 450 being a close match, and the GTS 450 TOP and 5770 also offering extremely similar performance, right? You’re also gathering that the GTX 460 768MB is superior to the Radeon HD 5830? Good. The pattern holds. Let’s move on.


    We tested Gearbox’s post-apocalyptic role-playing shooter by using the game’s built-in performance test. We tested with all of the in-game quality options at their max. We didn’t enable antialiasing, because the game’s Unreal Engine doesn’t natively support it.

    Here’s one last game where have a chance to see something different, and we kind of do: the GeForces are relatively stronger in Borderlands, which might make up for some of the times when the Radeons have had a minor advantage in other games, if you’re keeping score very closely at home.

    Power consumption

    Since we have a number of non-reference GeForce cards among the field, we decided to test them individually against Nvidia’s reference cards in this portion of the review, so we could see how custom coolers and clock speeds affect power draw, noise, and operating temperatures. The results should give us a sense of whether these changes really add value.

    We measured total system power consumption at the wall socket using our fancy new Yokogawa WT210 digital power meter. The monitor was plugged into a separate outlet, so its power draw was not part of our measurement. The cards were plugged into a motherboard on an open test bench.

    The idle measurements were taken at the Windows desktop with the Aero theme enabled. The cards were tested under load running Left 4 Dead 2 at a 1920×1080 resolution with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering. We test power with Left 4 Dead 2 because we’ve found that the Source engine’s fairly simple shaders tend to cause GPUs to draw quite a bit of power, so we think it’s a solidly representative peak gaming workload.


    If the performance results left you looking for another factor to break the deadlock between the Radeons and GeForces, this might be it. Uh, kinda. The GeForces are more efficient at idle, to the tune of 5-10W at a system level, but they pull more power under load, leading to system-level power use that’s roughly 18-34W higher. Is that enough to matter? Let’s see what it does to noise and heat.

    Noise levels

    We measured noise levels on our test system, sitting on an open test bench, using an Extech model 407738 digital sound level meter. The meter was mounted on a tripod approximately 8″ from the test system at a height even with the top of the video card. We used the OSHA-standard weighting and speed for these measurements.

    You can think of these noise level measurements much like our system power consumption tests, because the entire systems’ noise levels were measured. Of course, noise levels will vary greatly in the real world along with the acoustic properties of the PC enclosure used, whether the enclosure provides adequate cooling to avoid a card’s highest fan speeds, placement of the enclosure in the room, and a whole range of other variables. These results should give a reasonably good picture of comparative fan noise, though.


    None of these cards are all that loud, and the differences in noise levels at idle are pretty minimal, overall. That’s partly because our move to a newer 7,200-RPM hard drive on our test rig has raised the system’s noise floor somewhat. The Radeons tend to be a little quieter at idle, and the GeForces are a little quieter under load—an interesting example of our noise results running counter to what one would expect from the power draw numbers. That goes to show that a good cooler can overcome a few watts of additional heat to dissipate.

    The custom coolers on both the Asus GTS 450 TOP and the Sapphire 5750 Vapor-X fare well here, with the Vapor-X outperforming the stock AMD cooler and the GTS 450 TOP matching Nvidia’s stock cooler despite dissipating substantially more power under load.

    GPU temperatures

    We used GPU-Z to log temperatures during our load testing. For the multi-GPU options, we’ve reported the temperature from the primary GPU, which is generally the warmest.

    Not only are the Asus and Sapphire custom coolers relatively quiet, but they keep the GPUs under them relatively cool, too. Doesn’t look to me like you’ll pay much of a penalty in terms GPU temperatures or noise due to the GTS 450’s somewhat higher peak power draw.


    Our performance results tell a story of remarkable equivalence, overall, between the two versions of the GeForce GTS 450 we tested and the competing Radeons. The Radeons may have a slight advantage in terms of overall performance, mathematically, but as we saw, the real-world difference between the two is often just a few frames per second, all but imperceptible.

    Step back for a second, and the other part of the picture you’ll see is that all of these relatively inexpensive video cards offer reasonably decent performance in the latest games at common display resolutions like 1440×900 and 1680×1050—and we generally pushed the envelope on image quality, even venturing into 1920×1080 resolution at times. If you have a monitor with less than two megapixels of resolution, any of these video cards should allow you to play today’s games without too terribly many compromises.

    Like we said earlier, we don’t really have much interest in debating the finer points of product pricing and value when there’s only ten bucks or so between the offerings. At present, street prices on the Radeon HD 5750 have dropped to $120 in certain cases, to greet the GTS 450. Whether a gap between these two products will remain in the long run is anyone’s guess. We do know that we would unequivocally pay the extra in order to get the additional performance you will in stepping up from a stock GTS 450 to the Asus TOP card we tested—or from a Radeon HD 5750 to a 5770. Then again, we’d also recommend stretching whenever possible from the $140 cards up to the $170 GeForce GTX 460 768MB, which was the fastest product in our test by a good margin and, we think, represents the best value, too.

    Given that, Nvidia is in a pretty good position, and the addition of the GTS 450 only enhances it. Yet we can’t help but notice that it’s taken Nvidia a year since the introduction of the Radeon HD 5700 series to produce an essentially equivalent DirectX 11-class product—and the GTS 450 isn’t substantially better in any notable way, other than its access to Nvidia’s “graphics plus” features like PhysX and 3D Vision. Many of the new additions to the release 260 drivers—an installer with control over individual software components, bitstream audio support, a better UI for multi-monitor setup—is just Nvidia playing catch up. Even now, the GTS 450 will only drive two monitors simultaneously, while nearly all Radeon HD 5000-series cards will drive three. We’re pleased to see a DX11-capable GeForce in this class of product, but it has indeed been a long time coming.

    We expect AMD to unleash the Radeon HD 6000 series before the end of the year, and we’re left wondering whether Nvidia has kept enough potential in reserve in the GF106 and its other chips to allow it to meet that challenge.

    Gothic 1: The Sequel — Russification of the Sequel (draining).. | Page 13

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