While it's great that Nvidia has finally managed to squeeze its Fermi architecture into the mainstream of the GPU market, our excitement is tempered by the fact we were hoping for more from it.
When the GTS 450 first hit the shelves, we were looking at a card that had been priced to go directly up against AMD's HD 5770. Unfortunately, it wasn't fast enough to give it a good thrashing across the benchmark board, with the Nvidia card winning a few tests and the AMD winning others.
A month later, prices have fallen to the point where the GTS 450 is now competing directly with the 5750 – a card it consistently beats.
Hopefully, the same will happen with the GT 430 soon, since at the moment it's priced up against the eight-month-old HD 5570 and is facing the same benchmark trade-off.
A quick look at the benchmark tables on the previous page will reveal that it's a pretty much level playing field – demonstrating why all the press presentations spoke of the performance boost over the GT 220 rather than how it fared against the competition.
Oh and we couldn't possibly comment on why it was launched on the same day as Windows Phone 7...
The GT 430's problem, then, is that anyone wanting this sort of performance from such a form factor has been able to get it since the HD 5570 landed many moons ago.
Yes, Nvidia will shout about the fact that it offers more in the way of CUDA-based applications and 3D performance for Blu-ray playback, but those are fairly ephemeral plus points, since most mainstream users are unlikely to use them.
With all the above said, we're basing our opinions on the launch price, which we may see dropping quite quickly. In order to get some volume sales, it really needs to.
Realistically, we may well also be seeing this card shipped in pre-built systems, rather than it being a part that's going to fly off the shelves in your favourite etailer.
Having a half-height DirectX 11 card is great, even if it's by no means new.
The GT 430 isn't a bad performer either, giving playable framerates in modern titles even with a few bells and whistles turned on.
It's also got all the CUDA goodness too, with the boost to video encoding and HD video playback prowess that brings.
Unfortunately, it's really no better than the AMD HD 5570, which was released almost at the start of the year. This sort of performance in a half-height card is good, but it's already been done.
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