The MSI GeForce 450 Cyclone lives up to expectations. It's a healthy step up from a vanilla GTS 450 in terms of performance, and is excellent value for money. Even with completely maxed out settings, it got every game we tried on it running at a playable speed at the key full HD resolution of 1920x1080 barring Just Cause 2.
But there's a lot of competition in the less-than-£150 price bracket, and it's not quite an outright "must buy".
Regardless of fans and overclocks, the basic GeForce GTS 450 is still just about half of a GeForce 460 with a higher clockspeed and a narrower memory bandwidth. Given that stock versions of the 768MB version of the GeForce GTX 460 are available for just £125, that extra £20 is well spent.
The GTS 450 has the advantage over the GTX 460 of being smaller and requiring less power, which makes it a strong candidate for an SLI set-up, but it can't really compete in benchmarks.
It is, however, now pitched directly up against the HD 5750 in pricing terms thanks to the on-going Nvidia/AMD graphics card price wars. And that is a card the GTS 450 happily beats into submission in any benchmark you throw at it.
It delivers top performance for a card costing just a bit over £100, and narrowly beats the AMD HD 5770 into submission by three falls to one or more and hammers the price-comparative HD 5750 on all counts. It's also quiet, small and only requires one power connector, making it a flexible option for SLI or an HTPC.
As big an improvement as it is over the stock GTS 450 though, you don't have to spend much more to get a clearly superior card like the GTX 460 768MB. It's hard not to believe that won't have more longevity and be better value in the long run.
Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview