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PNY GeForce GTS 450 1GB review

An excellent DX10 card, but struggles with DX11

Our Verdict

Sadly not the bargainous card it used to be, it excels at DX10 gaming but struggles with DX11

For

  • Performance above its £100 price tag
  • Great in SLI too

Against

  • Weak in DX11
  • GTX 460 is only £30 more

The GTS 450 offers mainstream gaming at an affordable price-point. This tiny powerhouse (well, it's still dual-width, but pleasingly short) is capable of feats beyond its £100 price tag.

What's more, in SLI, you'll see massive performance gains of 80 to 90 per cent, making the dual-card upgrade path a realistic and rewarding option for budget systems.

It bears architectural similarities to its bigger brother, the GTS 460, but with half the memory bandwidth and half the CUDA cores. What's impressive is that it doesn't offer half the performance in DX10 games, which it's perfectly happy with.

Start throwing DX11 at it though, and it begins to run out of puff in fairly short order. The market has moved around the GTS 450. Initially priced against AMD's HD 5750 (which it beats into a cocked hat), price-drops on the AMD side mean it now squares off directly with the HD 5770. Now that's a tough fight.

DX10 performance at the mainstream resolution of 1680 x 1050 is where the GTS 450 really excels. It starts to run low on poke when you up the ante to 1,920 x 1,080, and under the long shadow of DX11, it really feels the pinch.

If you want to get the most out of the best and brightest new games, you're going to need a bigger boat.

We've been consistently impressed with the GTS 450 since it launched. A combination of pricing, midrange performance and the current ease-and-excellence of SLI dual-card setups has made it an attractive prospect all-round for gaming on a budget.

Gaming excellence

DirectX 10 gaming is really where it excels, though. When you start adding DX11 routines such as tessellation into the mix, it feels the pressure, and performance drops as a result.

All our tests were run with 4x AA applied, both at 1,680 x 1,050 and 1,920 x 1,080, which the GTS 450 was quite happy with in DX10. Dropping this improves DX11 performance, but not by an awful amount.

What's more, AMD price drops have put it slap-bang beside the HD 5770. There's really not a lot to choose between them. And thanks to price drops for the GTX 460, it's becoming harder to call the GTS 450 the mainstream card of choice.

Inexpensive examples of the 1GB GTX 460 can be had for just £30 more than the standard GTS 450, and it's safe to say that the former is way more than £30 more powerful.

The GTS 450's position, then, is weakening over time. It struggles with DX11, making it a poor choice for future-proofing, and price drops from the competition – both friend and foe – mean that it's not quite the bargain powerhouse it once was.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerNVIDIA
Chipset ModelGTS 450
HDMIYes
Chipset LineGeForce
Chipset SeriesGTS 400
Maximum Resolution2560 x 1600
Brand NameMSI
Standard Memory1 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 2.0 x16
HDCP SupportedYes
Bus Width128 bit
Multi-GPU TechnologySLI
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
RAMDAC Speed400 MHz
Analog SignalYes
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
DVIYes
VGAYes
Number of VGA Outputs1
Number of DVI Outputs1
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Height2844.8 mm
Cooler TypeFan Cooler
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
Form FactorPlug-in Card
Length5334 mm
ManufacturerMicro-Star International Co., Ltd
Memory Speed3608 MHz
Product ModelN450GTS-MD1GD5
Product NameN450GTS-MD1GD5 GeForce GTS 450 Graphics Card
Manufacturer Part NumberN450GTS-MD1GD5
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.msicomputer.com
Marketing Information

Leading international graphics card maker MSI has always been a key player in the competitive graphics card market. Thanks to its strong R&D capabilities and outstanding product performance, MSI's products have always received high acclaim by the media and consumers throughout the world.

Package Contents
  • N450GTS-MD1GD5 GeForce GTS 450 Graphics Card
  • Disk
Thickness1028.7 mm
Weight (Approximate)405 g
API SupportedDirectX 11.0, OpenGL 4.1