Thursday, September 23, 2010

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 Launch Roundup: Asus, EVGA, Palit, and Calibre Overclocked and Reviewed

Wrapping up our two part series about NVIDIA’s new GeForce GTS 450, we have our in-depth look in to the vendor cards. As was the case with the GTX 460, NVIDIA’s partners are coming out swinging by offering a wide variety of customized cards alongside NVIDIA’s reference design. Custom PCBs, coolers, and more; you’ll find it all here.

GeForce GTS 450 Cards
Reference EVGA FTW Asus ENGTS450 Top Calibre X450G Palit Sonic Platinum
Core Clock 783MHz 920MHz 925MHz 850MHz 930Mhz
Memory Clock 902MHz (3.6GHz data rate) 1026MHz (4.1GHz data rate) 1000MHz (4GHz data rate) 950MHz (3.8GHz data rate) 1000Mhz (4GHz data rate)
Width Double-Slot Double-Slot Double-Slot Triple-Slot Double-Slot
Length 8.5" 8.5" ~9" 8.5" 7.4"
Overclocking Utility Included? N/A Yes, EVGA Precision Yes, Asus SmartDoctor No No
Warranty N/A 2 Years 3 Years 3 Years 2 Years
Price $129 $149 $139 $149 $159

One thing that is significantly different from the launch of the GTX 460 however is just how far NVIDIA’s partners are overclocking their cards. With the GTX 460 the vendor cards we saw came with a mild overclock. But with the GTS 450 launch the cards are coming with much greater overclocks. Case in point: EVGA launched with a SuperClock (tier 1 overclock) card for the GTX 460 launch – for the GTS 450 launch they’re going with a FTW (tier 3 overclock) card.

As a result there’s a distinctly wider gap between the custom vendor cards and NVIDIA’s reference cards, a beneficial outcome for the vendors as it makes it easier for them to separate and justify their higher-priced higher-margin cards from the army of reference clones. In the case of the GTS 450 these overclocks are especially beneficial as the GTS 450 at reference clockspeeds is a bit of a lame duck: it’s only as cheap as a Radeon HD 5770, but it consistently underperforms that card. With overclocks pushing 20%, NVIDIA’s partners can close the gap left by the reference-clocked GTS 450.

We’ll be looking at 4 cards today, covering the spectrum from reference-based with a strong overclock to a triple-slot monster. 3 of our 4 cards have similar overclocks, coming in at roughly 920MHz for the core and 1GHz (4GHz effective) for the memory. This means the resulting performance for most of these cards is virtually identical, but how each one gets there is slightly different.

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