Graphics card prices have plummeted and we’re seeing prices normalise. An entry-level graphics card that’s capable of running most of today’s games is within reach for many. The recent comparison test we held for entry-level graphics cards concluded that some of the pricier cards in the Rs. 8,000 range offered great performance. Move down the price range and there are some interesting cards that are worth looking at. The MSI N450GTS Cyclone is one such card and it’s not just the name that gets our attention.
The MSI N450GTS is powered by NVIDIA’s GeForce GTS450 GPU. It’s based on the 40nm fabrication process like the rest of the GeForce 400 series of GPUs. The GeForce GTS450 GPU is clocked at 783MHz, but MSI’s OC edition of the card runs at 850 MHz, a small increment, but one that should hopefully help it challenge cards of a higher caliber and those based on newer GPUs. There’s one gigabyte of GDDR5 memory onboard the card on a 128-bit memory interface.
SLI support for an additional card
There are three video output connections - two DVI and one mini-HDMI. The package contains a molex to 6-pin convertor, as well as converter adapters for DVI to D-Sub and a separate mini-HDMI to HDMI. There’s also SLI support for upto two cards. In terms of power requirements, a single 6-pin power connector is required. NVIDIA’s card requires 106W of power on load, which isn’t a lot. A 450W power supply should suffice for a mid-range PC running a GeForce GTS450. MSI has employed Samsung’s GDDR5 memory chips on the card. Those aren’t cooled by the heatsink.
Design and Build quality
Although this is a budget graphics card, it’s pretty huge all thanks to its cooler. The card occupies two slots and you’re unlikely to be able to use a second card in the adjoining slot.
A mean looking card
The cooler is bulky and has two heatpipes running through two sets of heatfins. The main heatsink block itself is pretty thin, but has fins on them, which should all add up to offer good heat dissipation. The fan on the card is pretty small in size in comparison.
While the MSI N450GTS Cyclone is another one of the GeForce GTS450 cards, it’s overclocked and that gives it an edge over the rest of the GTS450. The ASUS GTS450 is slightly faster in overall scores, but it’s the most expensive of the GeForce GTS cards in the test.
Score in fps (frames per second) - Click to enlarge
The N450GTS beats all of its competitors in its price range easily. In general, it’s a good 20 to 30 percent faster than other cards in its range. Sure, it’s not as impressive as cards priced at Rs. 1,500 above it such as the XFX Radeon HD6790. It’s closest competitor is the ZOTAC GeForce GTS450. The other GTS450 cards fail to match its pace. Game frame touch 60 fps in games running at 1680 x 1050 resolutions with high details, which is pretty impressive. Lower the resolution and one can cross the 70 and 80 fps mark.
Power requirements - a single 6-pin connector
In terms of temperature, too, everything seemed stable. At idle, it managed 32 degrees celsius, which is extremely good and under a lot of load, it rose to a temperature of 53 degrees celsius, lower than most overclocked cards. With such temperatures, we feel that there’s space for more overclocking.
The GeForce N450GTS might be an older generation card, but with DirectX 11 complacency and sufficient oomph courtesy of the overclocked core, it manages to challenge cards priced higher and built around newer technology.
Massive cooling solution on the MSI N450GTS Cycle
The MSI N450GTS offers the best of both worlds - it gives a very solid performance for its price, despite being one of the better performing cards in its price range. Priced roughly at Rs. 7,000 in India, it makes for a great purchase. The only better value-for-money product out there is the XFX Radeon HD6770.
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