Asus GeForce GTS 450 TOP review

NVIDIA's mid-range, HD 5770-killer is here. Can it live up to its billing?

Asus GTS 450 TOP
NVIDIA's latest mid-range Fermi

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Asus gts 450 top

But what does that all mean in performance terms?

Does the nearly half-size chip offer us half the framerates too? Thankfully not, if it did then there's no way this latest card could have a hope in hell against the HD 5770 shaped competition.

In comparison with the GTX 460 then things are understandably slower, though somewhat strangely the biggest difference between the cards can be felt at the traditional 22-inch resolution of 1680x1050.

At this res the difference between the stock-clocked GTS 450 and the 768MB GTX 460 is generally around 10fps and in Far Cry 2 that jumps up to 20fps.

This overclocked TOP edition from Asus though closes the gap, even going as far as to best the 768MB GTX 460 in the tessellation-heavy Heaven benchmark.

At the higher resolutions though the larger memory bus of the 1GB GTX 460 really comes into its own putting a chunk of clear water between it and the GTS 450. For only around £35 more than this TOP Edition that's a hell of a lot of performance you're getting out of the larger card.

But the GTX 460 isn't what this latest card is pitched against; that phenomenal mid-range Fermi stands alone, unchallenged.

What the GTS 450 is really going after is the HD 5770, and that's the card that NVIDIA is really hoping to kill off with its newest baby.

What it really needs to do is beat the HD 5770 comprehensively to really gain a market share against the AMD card. Unfortunately for Nvidia though it's almost too close to call, especially at the GTS 450's stock speed.

The news is better for this overclocked Asus version though, which across the board delivers consistently faster framerates than even the overclocked HD 5770 represented here by MSI's Hawk version.

Where the TOP Edition of Asus' GTX 460 was a bit of a weak-heart in the overclocking stakes, giving only a fairly miserly 30MHz boost. That's miserly considering the huge amount of overclocking headroom that cards boasts.

It's different with the GTS 450 though, boosting its core speed from 783MHz up to a rather chunky 925MHz.

That means that at 1680x1050 it's able to beat the all important 30fps mark in the sequel bench-fest of Far Cry 2, DiRT 2 and Just Cause 2. In Far Cry 2 and DiRT 2 it's able to hit that mark at 2560x1600 too.

In the AvP and Lost Planet DX11 benchmarks though it does struggle to top 20fps, where the GTX 460s can still get another 10fps on top of that.

That said it's all still incredibly close between the HD 5770 and the GTS 450 in whatever guise you care to compare. The difference, in general, is barely perceptible, only really showing in the figures themselves.

One of the key battlegrounds going forward is going to be how the two stack up against each other in multi-GPU trim.

The HD 5770 is quite frankly awesome in CrossFire, besting the more expensive GTX 470 across the board. If the GTS 450 though can carry on the GTX 460's good work in SLI it could well be a very tight battle.