Closing Thoughts

After the launch of the GTX 460 series, we had been hoping to see NVIDIA continue to drive forward with the same level of hyper-competitiveness that we saw with the 460. In some ways that has happened today, and in some ways that hasn’t.

The GTX 460 was a card that made the comparable AMD card obsolete and brought significantly improved performance to the $200 market. NVIDIA had a card built to hit one of AMD’s weak spots, and it struck beautifully. The same cannot be said for the GTS 450 however. It’s not targeting an AMD weak spot – instead it’s going right for AMD’s stronghold that is the 5700 series, and this is a much harder job.

Had AMD kept the price of the Radeon HD 5770 at $140+, there would have been a well-defined place – however small – for the GTS 450. But instead for the time being AMD dropped the price of the 5770 to $130 and brought it in to direct competition with the GTS 450. The GTS 450 isn’t competition for the 5770; at best it’s as fast, at the worst it’s as slow as a 5750.

What’s funny is that in a roundabout way we have NVIDIA to thank for this, as their pricing tactics with the GTS 450 and GTX 460 made this price drop happen. So in a sense NVIDIA is definitely competitive on pricing. But what this gives us is a situation similar to the GTX 470 launch – a competent card priced right between two competition cards with a performance level that meant it was competitively priced, but not aggressively priced. It’s aggression that’s missing from today’s launch, the GTS 450 simply isn’t aggressive enough on a price/performance basis.

Ultimately the card is not so slow that we would completely write it off; if you need to be in the NVIDIA ecosystem for whatever reason you could grab the GTS 450 and be satisfied without feeling like you’re missing too much by not going with the Radeon HD 5770. But if you’re a free agent and have no attachment to NVIDIA’s ecosystem, there’s not a game we benchmarked today where the 5770 was more than a hair’s width slower. Thus at NVIDIA’s new $130 price point the card to get is not the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450, it’s the AMD Radeon HD 5770. It’s a bit warmer and a bit louder than the reference GTS 450, but the performance gap is hard to argue with.

Quickly, we’ll also touch on the factory overclocked cards. A good factory overclock can wipe out the 5770’s performance advantage, the only problem is that factory overclocked cards carry a price premium that make them more expensive than the GTS 450, and by extension the Radeon HD 5770. The cheapest factory overclocked card we looked at today was the Asus ENGTS450 Top, which provided 5770-like performance for only $10 more. Ultimately our nod still goes to the 5770 because it’s $10 cheaper, but at this point we’re basing things on what amounts to little more than lunch money. For $140 you could grab the Asus card or a similarly overclocked card and be quite happy with the purchase.

Finally, there's the GTX 460 factor. With the recent price drop to $170, there's only a $40 difference between the GTX 460 768MB and the GTS 450 - and less if we're comparing it to an overclocked GTS 450. The GTS 450 is at that point on the price-performance curve where an extra dollar goes a long way (and the 5770 is just as guilty of this). If you can only spend $130-$140 then what you see is what you can get, otherwise a GTX 460 768MB is much more than a simple step up, offering upwards of 50% more performance for at most 30% more in price. Given those conditions the GTX 460 768MB is in a sweet spot that makes both the GTS 450 and Radeon HD 5770 pale in comparison.

Wrapping things up, we still have 1 more NVIDIA launch to go with: GF108. With the basic details of the chip already announced earlier this month with NVIDIA’s mobile GPU launch we already have a solid idea of how the chip is built. At this point it’s safe to assume that when it launches it will be going up against AMD’s 5500/5600 series, so stay tuned for that battle.



View All Comments

  • FragKrag - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Why isn't there a SC2 bench? :(

    I saw them on the laptop reviews and expected them here :(((((
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Because of the vast number of cards in our library, we only refresh the GPU test suite twice a year. It will get refreshed later this fall, and SC2 is a very likely candidate. Reply
  • Gomez Addams - Sunday, September 19, 2010 - link

    When you do your refresh please include older cards like the GTX285 and those of its era. I find it helpful to be able to evaluate whether a video card update will be of any value. So far, it would be of very little value. Reply
  • ronnybrendel - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link Reply
  • eanazag - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Regretfully, I am patiently waiting for the test suite refresh. Reply
  • Leyawiin - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Prior to Newegg pulling them there were lower priced ones at $130 going up to $140. Its true if you play the rebate game you can get an HD 5770 at that price, but what's coming out of your pocket on the day you buy is generally $140-150. HD 5750s are sitting at $120-140. GTX 460 768MBs are down to $170 (no rebate) so the pressure seems to be on the Radeons as much as the GTS 450. The HD 5750 is almost a useless purchase when the others are clustered so closely to its price point. Reply
  • iwodo - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    It is too bad that we wont get a 28nm die shrink of the Fermi soon. But it seems the logical plan for Nvidia is to work on Frequency and Bandwidth.

    You mention Nvidia has a relatively poor Memory Controller for GDDR5 and that is why it had to use 384bit MC where 256 from a ATI design would be enough.

    It we get a MC upgrade, + some better Frequency Headroom, and unlock the last bit of the SP, Nvidia should be able to counter the Northen Island coming in 2 - 3 months time.

    As that would be the best we can get with 40nm limit and respin of Fermi.
  • DMisner - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    How does the 450 stand up to the 250 in power consumption and general gaming performance.

    Also, any word on how many PPD the GTS 450 will get in Folding@Home?
  • lecaf - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    in all these benchmarks the 450 beats the 460 is that right ?
    I've took a look at tomshardware review and there the 460 wins.

    Did I miss-look at something or the figures are wrong?
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Where are you seeing the GTS 450 beating the GTX 460? Reply

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