Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 review

A great gaming graphics card that's now more affordable

Nvidia GeForce GTS 450
This gaming-oriented card hit 32fps and 52fps with 4x AA running at very playable speeds

TechRadar Verdict

The GTS 450 is now at a bargain price, but similarly priced AMD cards represent a better choice


  • +

    Decent gaming chops

  • +

    Stays cool


  • -

    Needs a lot of juice

  • -

    Better options out there

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The Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 is in serious gamers' graphics card territory, without hitting the big prices.

Nvidia doesn't have a great lineup in the budget segment of cards, and anything lower than this here GeForce GTS 450 isn't really worth a look for those with any passing interest in frame rates. This venerable card does have some gaming chops to offer, and for the £81 cost it's a tough card to argue against.

The version we've tested is the standard reference version directly from Nvidia. That means it has no extras, no funky third-party cooling solution and definitely no factory overclock.

We've taken the price from the cheapest GTS 450 we've found available, and that's the version from Palit. It does come with a slightly different cooler, but the GPU itself is in reference trim.

Immediately you can feel the step up in performance terms with this gaming-oriented card. With DiRT 3 and Far Cry 2 we saw the card hit 32fps and 52fps respectively, and that's with 4x AA running at very playable speeds.

The Shogun 2 and Metro 2033 scores, though, are much lower, with the Shogun 2 score especially highlighting Nvidia's performance weakness with this title.

But for £80-odd you can't complain. You could drop this into any system and be hitting gaming speeds across most modern titles at the modest 1680 x 1050 resolution.

Nvidia geforce gts 450

Should you not mind taking the performance hit, this card will also give you access to PhysX extras in game and 3D Vision, if you so wish. Realistically, the GF 106 GPU isn't powerful enough to really do either technology justice and still maintain playable frame rates. So in essence is more a check-box feature than a real selling point.

It's a well-engineered GPU, though, and stays relatively cool, even with the reference cooler at 100 per cent load. We measured it topping out at around 67C when it was constantly stressed at 100 per cent. It is, though, a rather power-hungry beast, pushing the system to 220W under load.

TechRadar Labs

TechRadar labs

Thermal performance
100% Load: Degrees Centigrade: Lower is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 67
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 80

DirectX 11 tessellation performance (2,560 x 1,600)
Heaven 2.5 Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 8.7
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 4.6

DirectX 11 gaming performance (1,920 x 1,080)
Shogun 2 Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 17
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 14

Power performance
100% Load Watts: Lower is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 220
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 135

DirectX 11 gaming performance (1,680 x 1,050)
DiRT 3 Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 32
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 21

DirectX 11 gaming performance (1,680 x 1,050)
Metro 2033 Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 11
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 8

DirectX 10 gaming performance (1,680 x 1,050)
Just Cause 2 Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 28
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 18

DirectX 10 gaming performance (1,680 x 1,050)
Far Cry 2 Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTS 450: 52
Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate: 31

Nvidia win?

At this price both the Sapphire HD 5670 Ultimate and Sapphire HD 6670 Ultimate are quite simply blown out of the gaming paddling pool – neither can come close to this Nvidia card's performance.

Unfortunately that doesn't equate to a price point win for the green company, as AMD's lineup of budget GPUs still has more tricks up its sleeve.

The big problem for the Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 is the fact the HD 5770 is still on the market for the same price, and that last-gen DirectX11 GPU is still one of the best budget cards around.

Sadly then, for Nvidia at least, the GTS 450 still has no place to call its home. It's head and shoulders above the lower-end AMD cards, but there are still more impressive options available to us consumers for the same price.

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Phil Iwaniuk

Ad creative by day, wandering mystic of 90s gaming folklore by moonlight, freelance contributor Phil started writing about games during the late Byzantine Empire era. Since then he’s picked up bylines for The Guardian, Rolling Stone, IGN, USA Today, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, VG247, Edge, Gazetta Dello Sport, Computerbild, Rock Paper Shotgun, Official PlayStation Magazine, Official Xbox Magaine, CVG, Games Master, TrustedReviews, Green Man Gaming, and a few others but he doesn’t want to bore you with too many. Won a GMA once.