Is this NVIDIA's most exciting product release this year? No, that title belongs to the GTX 460 which has proven its mettle as the best bang-for the buck GPU on the market at this time. But, gamers who have lower-resolution displays and lower-spec power supplies will be pleased to learn that NVIDIA has given them a new choice in GPUs in the $129 segment.
This product is not out there to please enthusiasts. Its limited architecture prevents it from performing acceptably at high resolution and high image quality settings. But if you turn the resolution down, and scale back the effects a little bit, the GTS 450 performs admirably.
For those looking for a home theater PC card that is capable of some serious gaming (especially at 720p), this is a great option. Furthermore, the GTS 450 could also serve as a great PhysX card, especially when someone releases a single-slot version.
The EVGA GTS 450 is an interesting card to say the least. For a slight premium over the $129 base price of the GTS 450, you get a GPU with almost 10GB/s more bandwidth, better gaming performance, and EVGA's superior warranty system and customer support.
The Radeon HD 5750 and 5770 now have some competition. Will we see prices fall? Time will tell. But for now, the $130-$150 price segment has just become very competitive, and the GTS 450's performance and features should make it a very popular choice for lower-resolution gamers.
If I were to have to rate these two cards, I would rate the Reference GTS 450 as 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, as it is a good card that satisfies the needs of lower-resolution gamers and offers some interesting features. I would give the EVGA GTS 450 FTW Edition a 4 out of 5 stars, as it comes with EVGA's customer support and warranty reputation behind it, and enjoys the benefits of an aggressive factory overclock. Given the performance of the FTW Edition GTS 450 (and surely other aggressively-pre-overclocked GF106 cards), it does make it a little hard to want one of these GPUs at reference clocks. That 10-20% improvement really makes the faster variants much more attractive.
I'd like to thank Jacob Freeman of EVGA and Bryan Del Rizzo of NVIDIA for providing review samples as well as valuable insights into this GPU.
- John Grabski, Sept. 13, 2010