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Single-Slot Graphics: Whose Card Is Fastest?

With two times the shaders of its GeForce GT 440, Nvidia’s GeForce GTS 450 presents the entry-level threshold for gaming enthusiasts. MSI goes big by making its reference-speed N450GTS-M2D1GD5 small, at half the thickness of its competitors.

The N450GTS-M2D1GD5 is the only product in today’s comparison to include a PCIe power connection, though the Radeon HD 6850 would have had one as well if Afox were targeting owners of PCI Express 1.x-equipped motherboards. More than likely this card would work better on previous-generation 75 W PCIe slots than its connector-reduced competitor, although such platforms are now several generations old, and probably not worth upgrading with a new GPU.

Like other GeForce GTS 450s, MSI’s single-slot version includes a single SLI bridge so that two cards can be paired together. While this certainly addresses the SLI capability of some two-slot mini gaming PCs, we’d probably jump straight from this to a doubly-powerful GeForce GTX 560 Ti if we had the extra slot to spare, thereby reading the rewards of a memory interface two times as wide. The SLI connector is nothing more than an upgrade path for people who didn’t really need a card this thin in the first place.

While most GeForce GTS 450 graphics cards are factory overclocked, a single-slot cooler leaves far less room to play with settings. MSI employs reference 783 MHz GPU and GDDR5-3608 frequencies in this model.

As the only board in today’s comparison to include two DVI connectors, the N450GTS-M2D1GD5 actually needs adapters to address other interfaces. VGA is present, even if not typically required, and full-sized HDMI is available through a mini-HDMI adapter.

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