NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 SLI Video Card Review

We’ve seen how GeForce GTS 450 performs as a single video card, now we are going to configure two in SLI and see how these compare to Radeon HD 5770 CrossFireX and Radeon HD 5750 CrossFireX. The results this time are even more surprising.

Introduction

On Monday, September 13th, NVIDIA debuted its new mainstream GPU the GeForce GTS 450 aimed squarely at 20"-22" displays, priced at just $129.99. Our evaluation of an add-in-board partner video card, the MSI N450GTS Cyclone revealed some surprising results. We had expected it would perform better than it did, but it seems that depending on the game it traded blows with the Radeon HD 5750. In all cases, Radeon HD 5770 ended up being faster. The problem for the GeForce GTS 450 is that current Radeon HD 5770 and Radeon HD 5750 pricing is very low, with the Radeon HD 5770 equaling the price of GeForce GTS 450 now, and Radeon HD 5750 being around $20 cheaper than GTS 450.

There is possible salvation for GeForce GTS 450, and that is in its SLI performance. We have been experiencing extremely well scaling with 1GB GeForce GTX 460 video cards and have been very impressed with the gameplay experience delivered. We have more than given credit and commandment to GTS 460 SLI since it is very well deserved; NVIDIA put together a very compelling combo with that setup that rivals the competition. We are excited to find out if the same will hold true with GeForce GTS 450 SLI. One thing we are excited to see is 1GB of GDDR5 being used, this means it shouldn’t be held back as much when running two video cards with SLI enabled in terms of memory capacity constraints.

GeForce GTS 450 SLI

To get a detailed explanation of the specifications on the GeForce GTS 450 please read our MSI N450GTS Cyclone evaluation. A rundown of the specs include: 192 CUDA Cores, 4 Polymorph Engines, 32 Texture Units, 783MHz Graphics Core Clock, 1566MHz Processor Clock. There is 1GB of GDDR5 operating at 3.6GHz on a 128-bit bus, this provides 57.6GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Remember, in SLI this texture space and memory bandwidth is not doubled per se, each GPU still has to render its own frame and utilize only the 1GB local to each GPU.

For our GeForce GTS 450 SLI testing today we are using two reference video cards provided by NVIDIA, these are not add-in-board partner cards. Therefore, they operate at the stock NVIDIA frequencies of 783MHz Core, 1566MHz Processor Clock and 3.6GHz memory. They also employ reference heatsink and fan units.

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These video cards are very light in weight, and at first feel the heatsink and fan unit seem rather flimsy, there’s no "beef" to them. In fact, the shroud that covers the heatsink wobbles a bit on the video card. However, our temperature results are impressive in comparison to the competition as you will see later on. The video cards are short and fit well onto our motherboard with plenty of room to breathe. NV Surround is fully supported, and as you can see we have tested a three display setup. SLI setup was a breeze, we installed the video cards, installed the drivers, enabled SLI and we were off gaming, no troubles and no issues. Setting up SLI these days is an easy experience.

We are going to compare GTS 450 SLI to Radeon HD 5770 1GB CrossFireX and Radeon HD 5750 1GB CrossFireX. We are using the ForceWare 260.52 driver provided by NVIDIA, as well as Catalyst 10.8 and CrossFireX Application Profile 10.8a for the Radeon video cards.