Palit GeForce GTS 450 Low Profile Review: A Godsend for HTPCs?
The Palit GeForce GTS 450 Low Profile Edition 1GB graphics card is a hot contender for HTPC builds, with support for DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD bitstreaming over HDMI. Lacklustre performance is often associated with half-height cards; will the Palit dispel such perceptions? Check it out in VR-Zone.com‘s exclusive!
Home theatre PCs (HTPC) are finding their way into modern living rooms. A large handful of enthusiasts are building such PCs as these small machines offer much more than what a conventional home theatre setup can do whilst using less real estate and costing less. Instead of having piles of discs, all you need is a single network-attached storage (NAS) device to store most of your media. Furthermore, a HTPC gives one a lot of flexibility; you could listen to music, watch high definition movies, surf the Internet and even play computer games, all from a small box.
Unfortunately, one has to deal with both heat issues and space constraints when working with small desktop / HTPC cases. Processors these days are very efficient – fast yet cool, but haven’t you realized that we have been complaining about how graphics cards are getting larger and hotter by the day? Shoving such cards into a HTPC is definitely a recipe for disaster.
Shopping for a very decent low profile card designed for HTPCs is no easy task. Yes, low profile cards are generally low-powered – some are passively cooled even – but offer little performance. While you may be contented playing Facebook Flash-based games, these low profile cards will not cut it for 3D titles.
Enter the Palit GeForce GTS 450 Low Profile Edition card. No, it does not spell ‘performance’ all over, although it does have its appeal, particularly for the HTPC crowd with its half-height factor and NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GPU onboard. A mainstream GPU, the GTS 450 would be able to handle today’s games pretty effortlessly at 1920 x 1080 – the screen resolution of Full HD LCD TVs.
The Palit GeForce GTS 450 Low Profile Edition comes packaged in a pleasant-looking NVIDIA-green colored box.
The same box is used for other Palit GeForce GTS 450-based products; the only way you could tell the packages apart are by the markings found on the bottom right corner.
Unboxing the Palit Low Profile Edition…
Typical Palit fare here – brown cardboard box containing just the card itself, a user manual, driver disc, 4-pin molex to 6-pin PCI-E converter, and a full-height I/O bracket.
The Palit Low Profile Edition has a sleek appearance and feels well built. Like its full-height GeForce GTS 450 and GeForce GTX 460 siblings, this card sports Palit’s trademark red printed circuit board (PCB), a black plastic shroud, and orange fan.
Clocked at 783MHz core, 1566MHz shader, and 3608MHz memory, the Palit Low Profile Edition has the same operating frequencies as a reference GeForce GTS 450 card.
Thermal design power (TDP) is rated at 106W – having that amount of heat circulating in a small case is definitely not healthy. Palit has utilized an external exhaust design which uses a blower to force air through the heatsink and out via the rear of the card (and out of the case).
As Palit has opted for an external exhaust design, there is only space for two display outputs – a DVI dual-link output and a HDMI output. Do not get us wrong, having these two outputs are in fact sufficient – DVI for computer connection and HDMI for A/V receiver or LCD TV connection.