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GF106: Nvidia Revisits The Mainstream

Nvidia GeForce GTS 450: Hello GF106, Farewell G92
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Enthusiasts have a love/hate relationship with Nvidia’s mainstream efforts. On one hand, the company’s G92 graphics processor, launched nearly three years ago (I know, can you believe it has been that long?) and served up killer performance for roughly $200. It was a true staple. On the other hand, G92 was the best Nvidia could do for nearly three years, and it lasted right up until…well, now. There really was no GT200-based solution capable of displacing G92 at its price point.

Sure, the manufacturing technology shrunk a bit (from 65 nm to 55 nm) and G92’s prices dropped over time to accommodate GeForce GTX 260. But we saw the same piece of silicon go from GeForce 8800 GT to several flavors of GeForce 9-series, to GeForce GTS 250. Hell, Nvidia even tried to convince us that G92 could pass as a mobile GeForce GTX 285M. Tsk, tsk.

At long last, Nvidia is sending G92 to the glue factory, replacing it with the GF106 on the company’s new GeForce GTS 450. The most distinguished addition, previously unavailable from Nvidia’s entry-level portfolio, is of course DirectX 11 support. High-definition Blu-ray audio can be bitstreamed over HDMI using GTS 450, and Blu-ray 3D video is supported, too.

GF106 is a 1.17 billion transistor chip manufactured on TSMC’s 40 nm process. As it sits on the GeForce GTS 450, Nvidia clocks the GPU’s fixed-function logic at 783 MHz. The CUDA cores run at 1566 MHz. And the 1 GB GDDR5 frame buffer is set to a 902 MHz clock rate, which turns into a 3608 MT/s data rate.


GeForce GTS 450
GeForce GTX 460
GeForce GTX 465
GeForce GTX 470
GeForce GTX 480
Graphics Processing Clusters
1
2
3
4
4
Streaming Multiprocessors
4
7
11
14
15
CUDA Cores
192
336
352
448
480
Texture Units
32
56
44
56
60
ROP Partitions
2
4/3
4
5
6
Graphics Clock
783 MHz
675 MHz
607 MHz
607 MHz
700 MHz
Shader Clock
1566 MHz
1350 MHz
1215 MHz
1215 MHz
1401 MHz
Memory Clock
902 MHz
900 MHz
802 MHz
837 MHz
924 MHz
GDDR5 Memory
1 GB
1 GB / 768 MB
1 GB
1.25 GB
1.5 GB
Memory Interface
128-bit
256-bit / 192-bit
256-bit
320-bit
384-bit
Memory Bandwidth
57.7 GB/s
115.2 GB/s / 86.4 GB/s
102.6 GB/s
133.9 GB/s
177.4 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate
25.1 GTex/s
37.8 GTex/s
26.7 GTex/s
34 GTex/s
42 GTex/s
Connectors
2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI
Form Factor
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Dual-slot
Power Connectors
1 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
2 x 6-pin
1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin
Recommended Power Supply
400 W
450 W
550 W
550 W
600 W
Thermal Design Power
106 W
160 W/150 W
200 W
215 W
250 W
Thermal Threshold
95 degrees C
104 degrees C
105 degrees C
105 degrees C105 degrees C


Meet The GeForce GTS 450

Perhaps you were expecting a graphics card smaller than the GeForce GTX 460? After all, this model’s GPU is one-half as complex with an aggregate memory bus one-half of the width. But the GeForce GTS 450 actually looks exactly like the GTX 460. The reference card, at least, is 8.5” long and it sports the same ultra-quiet 75 mm fan. No doubt, third-party vendors will be just as creative with their cooling solutions—and we already have a roundup of GeForce GTS 450 cards in the works, similar to our recent GeForce GTX 460 1 GB roundup.

As with the GeForce GTX 460 (and all of Nvidia’s other Fermi-based cards thus far), the GTS 450 sports a pair of dual-link DVI outputs and a somewhat inconvenient mini-HDMI connector. GF106 is like all of the other Fermi parts in that it only includes two independent display pipelines, and can consequently only utilize two of those outputs at a time.

A significantly less complex GPU translates to more modest power requirements. Nvidia suggests pairing the GTS 450 up to a 400 W PSU. The 1 GB card’s max board TDP is rated at 106 W, though we already know from experience that AMD and Nvidia rate their cards differently. Despite the lower power needs (and single 6-pin PCI Express auxiliary connector), we’re still dealing with a dual-slot form factor.

One SLI connector at the top of the GeForce GTS 450 makes it clear that two-way configurations are supported, but you can’t scale out to three or four cards as you might with a GTX 480 or 470.

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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    teeoneimme , September 13, 2010 4:33 AM
    anyone else NOT so excited about this card?
  • 29 Hide
    welshmousepk , September 13, 2010 4:29 AM
    Slightly underwhelming to be honest. the GTX 460 seems like a way better choice. or a 5770.
  • 27 Hide
    Poisoner , September 13, 2010 4:25 AM
    Man, G92 still holds it own. What an amazing piece of technology.
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    Poisoner , September 13, 2010 4:25 AM
    Man, G92 still holds it own. What an amazing piece of technology.
  • 20 Hide
    ct1615 , September 13, 2010 4:28 AM
    they are priced too high
  • 29 Hide
    welshmousepk , September 13, 2010 4:29 AM
    Slightly underwhelming to be honest. the GTX 460 seems like a way better choice. or a 5770.
  • 11 Hide
    IzzyCraft , September 13, 2010 4:33 AM
    Well now that it is competing with the 5750 maybe they will push both down to $100 and we wouldn't need to buy old G92 or R700's :D 
  • 36 Hide
    teeoneimme , September 13, 2010 4:33 AM
    anyone else NOT so excited about this card?
  • 3 Hide
    skora , September 13, 2010 4:34 AM
    As Chris pointed out with Tessellation, DX11 isn't going anywhere fast with the programmers. I'd say still go for a 1gb 4850 or CF two and really have a powerful GPU subsystem for the $200-$220 price point. By the time they are aged, you'll have 2nd gen DX11 GPUs out and the software will finally be available to use them.
  • 7 Hide
    eklipz330 , September 13, 2010 4:35 AM
    im still chuggin along on my hd 4850... and if i ever needed to, i can crossfire another one for a mere $90, these cards have been overpriced for a year

    its a shame that ati's cards didn't drop in MSRP. hell, the hd 5850 is finally approaching it;s MSRP of $250 from a year ago. I was hopign last year by around this time, hd 5870 would be ~$200... it's not even close =[
  • 2 Hide
    Jzcaesar , September 13, 2010 4:41 AM
    Man, I was hoping to see some overclocking; hopefully, they'll be included in another article. But I agree with Chris: the 450 is a bit disappointing at $130.
  • 22 Hide
    one-shot , September 13, 2010 4:45 AM
    YAWWWWNN....This card is putting me to sleep. I'm going to bed.
  • -4 Hide
    duk3 , September 13, 2010 4:45 AM
    I'd like a gtx 460 maxcore.
    Perhaps a gtx 485 aka gtx 460 X2 would be nice as well.
  • 21 Hide
    sandypants , September 13, 2010 4:48 AM
    Just bought a second 4870 1 GB to complete my CF setup which was planned 1.5 years ago. Only $130 from Newegg. 4870 vs 450 is not a tough choice if you are buying for a dedicated gaming rig. The 4000 series are still very adequate.
  • 15 Hide
    cmartin011 , September 13, 2010 4:50 AM
    sleep sounds good, not impressed at all. nvidia wasted money on a card slower than previous generations, should have renamed the G92 again with a smaller die, less power more value what were they thinking???
  • 8 Hide
    megamanx00 , September 13, 2010 5:15 AM
    No, it can't play Crysis :D 
  • 1 Hide
    tocbuxu , September 13, 2010 5:15 AM
    Well i should stick w/ my 2 years old OC'ed GTS250
  • 2 Hide
    Tamz_msc , September 13, 2010 5:18 AM
    Quote:
    The silver lining here is SLI. With two GeForce GTS 450s rendering cooperatively, we’re seeing 190% of a single card’s performance consistently. If two GeForce GTS 450s run $260 or so, then you’re looking at a $40 premium over a single GeForce GTX 460 1 GB at $220. We’re not as excited as we were after comparing two GTX 460s to a single GTX 480. But still, SLI’s tremendous scaling potential remains a reason to keep two of these cards in mind for a future upgrade.

    This is the only reason to get this card, though the price will have to drop to something around 100$ for people to get these cards in SLI.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , September 13, 2010 5:20 AM
    hmmm... not terribly impressed. Power consumption and heat levels look good, and SLI scaling is excellent once again. And I guess it does hold its own against the HD5750, barely. The GTX460 definitely did a better job of catching my attention. I guess I was just expecting a little more performance out of a 192 SP gf106, especially considering their plan to replace the g92. One thing that struck me when reading the specs was the memory bandwidth, it just seems a bit too low for a GPU of this complexity. The GTS450 probably should've had a higher stock memory frequency, though I'm not sure how much of a difference it would've made.
  • 4 Hide
    experimentxx , September 13, 2010 5:26 AM
    Still can't match the current outgoing radeons.. 450 offers 5750 performance for the price of 5770.. The new amd radeon cards would probably kill NVIDIA, again.

    Would have considered this card last year though.
  • 14 Hide
    cangelini , September 13, 2010 5:28 AM
    JzcaesarMan, I was hoping to see some overclocking; hopefully, they'll be included in another article. But I agree with Chris: the 450 is a bit disappointing at $130.


    Hi Jz!
    I know, the overclocking stuff is always sexy to look at. The thing is, when someone tells me "Check out the overclocking on this card--it's a beast," then I know the boards are hand-picked. It's only worthwhile to look at overclocking if you take a retail card and compare it against a competitor's retail board as well. We'll have something like this in the near future. For the time being, though, don't stress too much over the lack of overclocked results--if you can't buy the clocks we'd see, then it's not worth the trouble, right? :) 

    All the best!
    Chris
  • 3 Hide
    super_tycoon , September 13, 2010 5:30 AM
    you guys ought to do an article about SLI _and_ CF scaling. Compare it across different architectures and see if it'd really be worth getting another 4000 or 9000 series card versus buying into a more recent generation (it makes sense if you subtract from the cost of the card the money you can get from selling your older card)

    it is also worth noting that newegg's stock of last gen performance cards is tiny (just six gtx 200 cards left!) and perhaps this should be taken into consideration as well
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