The Bottom Line
Sep 13 2010 - The Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 Super OC edition is an outstanding card for gamers looking to spend around $150. Being SLI and NVIDIA 3D Vision-ready, this card offers impressive gameplay and the ability to add a second card in the future. The GTS 450 SOC is also super quiet and refreshingly smooth during operation. If you are eager to experience upcoming DirectX 11 games, such as Civilization V, the Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 is a worthwhile buy.
- Overclocked Core
- Fast 0.4ns GDDR5 Memory
- Detachable Fan
- DirectX 11 Support
- Only One Dual-Link DVI Connector
- Dual-Slot Card
- Intensive Games May Require Reduced Video Settings
- 888MHz Core Clock
- 1776MHz Shader Clock
- 4000MHz Memory Clock (Effective)
- 1GB 0.4ns GDDR5 Memory
- Dual Heat Pipe cooling
- One HDMI, One Dual-Link DVI, and One VGA Connector
- DirectX 11 Support
Review - Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 Super OC Video Card
Sep 13 2010 - The Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 PCI-Express graphics card is designed for gamers on a budget. Two versions of the GTS 450 are due at launch: the Galaxy Clocked edition for retailers and the Super OC (overclocked) model for e-tailers. This review pertains to the latter SOC version which retails for $149 online.
Prior to unboxing the Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 Super OC video card, it is worth noting that the packaging features a large sticker front and center dubbing it as having the "World's 1st detachable fan". This feature comes in handy in the event of a fan failure, as you can easily swap out the fan instead of having to RMA or replace the entire card.
Next up: opening the Galaxy GTS 450 SOC. At first glance, the plastic shroud covering the heat sink seems cheaply made, but this shouldn't have an adverse effect on performance. Although the graphics card is a dual-slot card, the length is a definite plus, especially for smaller cases. Measuring approximately 9 inches in length, the GTS 450 goes in easy without having to move other components, as is the case in some configurations using a larger ATI Radeon HD 5870 or NVIDIA GTX 480.
Utilizing Fermi architecture, the GTS 450 SOC's specifications include an 888MHz core clock, 4000MHz memory clock (effective), and 1GB of 0.4ns GDDR5 memory. Even though the Super OC model already has an overclocked core to the tune of a 63MHz increase over the Galaxy Clocked version, there is potentially room for additional overclocking. I was able to get the core clock to 923MHz while leaving the memory clock at the default setting during less intensive games.
One disappointing element to the GTS 450 is the lack of dual-link DVI connectors. There is only one dual-link DVI port in addition to one HDMI and one VGA connector. This is a potential inconvenience for users running two or more monitors.
But how well do games run on the GTS 450? After thorough testing, I found the card to run smoothly when playing StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy XIV during the open beta. Using the Unigine Heaven Benchmark v 2.1 tool with the DirectX 11 API and normal tessellation, the GTS 450 Super OC graphics card posted 26.5 frames per second (FPS) with a score of 669 at 1680x1050 resolution on an Intel E8400 desktop running at 3.71GHz with 8GB of DDR2 memory. This resolution is the sweet spot for gamers running the GTS 450, although I found less intensive games will run at 1920x1200 with ease. For comparison, an Intel Core i7-920 overclocked to 4.2GHz with 12GB of memory running an ATI Radeon HD 5870 scored 931 and 37 FPS using the same resolution and benchmark utility.
Along with the launch of the GTS 450 comes the rollout of new Release 260 drivers. This software features a new installer with performance enhancements across the GeForce line. Another neat element is the ability to dedicate an extra GPU to PhysX or a fourth display.
Overall, the Galaxy GeForce GTS 450 graphics card is more than sufficient for gamers on a budget looking to play DirectX 11 games. The overclocked core, detachable fan, and being SLI-ready are admirable features in a $149 card. If you have an extra $50-$100 to spend, though, there are additional cards on the market that offer higher performance.