asus engts450 NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 Review

NVIDIA has released its mainstream DirectX 11 GPU based on the GF106 chipset – GeForce GTS 450. Using an ASUS ENGTS450 DirectCU graphics card, VR-Zone.com takes a look at how the GeForce GTS 450 stacks up against the ATI Radeon HD 5750, and the Radeon HD 5770.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 was launched on 13 September 2010. It also marks the end of an incredibly long wait for NVIDIA to release a mainstream DirectX 11 graphics card. Priced exactly the same as the ATI Radeon HD 5750, NVIDIA claims that the GeForce GTS 450 outperforms its direct competitor, and it can even match up to the more expensive Radeon HD 5770. 

The chip behind the GeForce GTS 450 is known as the GF106, and is the third desktop part from the Fermi architecture. Between the first GF100 and second GF104, there were some notable design changes; but the GF106 can be considered to be a directly scaled down version of the GF104.

GF106-based GeForce GTS 450 Block Diagram

gts 450 bd NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 Review

The image above is the block diagram of the GeForce GTS 450 GPU.

A short recap, the GeForce GTX 460 is based on the GF104 chipset. The GF104 consists of two graphics processing clusters (GPC), each with four streaming multiprocessors (SM) and one raster engine. In each SM, there are 48 CUDA cores, eight texture units, and a Polymorph Engine where the tessellator resides among other stuff. It has four 64-bit memory controllers and four ROP partitions. A fully enabled GF104 has eight SMs and 384 CUDA cores, although NVIDIA has disabled one SM on the GeForce GTX 460, making it a 336 CUDA core part.

This brings us back to the GeForce GTS 450. The GTS 450 is essentially a fully-enabled GF104 cut in half. That’s it. You end up with only one GPC with four SMs inside, forming a total of 192 CUDA cores, 32 texture units, and four Polymorph Engines. Only two 64-bit memory controllers remain to provide a 128-bit memory bus. Clock speeds for the GeForce GTS 450 are 783MHz graphics clock, 1566MHz CUDA cores, and 1800MHz (3600MHz effective) memory speed.

Interestingly, the fully-enabled GF106 (whoa, NVIDIA has been keeping stuff up its sleeves recently) still has one more ROP partition and one more 64-bit memory controller that is not enabled (and hence not shown in the block diagram above). NVIDIA says the goal of the GeForce GTS 450 is its price-performance ratio while having 1GB of memory. So what will the full GF106 be? Let’s leave that for another day, probably when ATI releases its new GPUs.

 

Reference NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450

Pictured below is the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450. The printed circuit board (PCB) measures 8.25 inches in length.

gts 450 34 NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 Review

It sports a dual-slot cooling design with an extruded aluminum core and 75mm fansink. NVIDIA claims that in operation, the GeForce GTS 450 runs cool and quiet.

 

The reference GeForce GTS 450 has a large vent on its I/O bracket to allow hot air from the heatsink to escape. This design prevents some of the hot air from recirculating within the case, causing case temperatures to increase over extended hours of gaming.

gts 450 bracket NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 Review

Display outputs include two dual-link DVI ports and one mini-HDMI port.