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MSI N450GTS Cyclone 1GB Review

Had nVidia managed to hit its original schedule, then the GTX 460 and GTS450 cards would almost certainly have been released six months ago. By giving AMD such a long run in the field unchallenged, not only has a huge lead in DX11 marketshare been built up – but we’re now facing the launch of the complete 6000 series refresh from AMD, which promises a next generation DX11 experience.

Without question, the GTS450 is still an attractive proposition. With the vanilla cards expected around the £100 mark, MSI’s neatly overclocked N450GTS 1GB Cyclone commands a little more money by giving you a solid package that combines improved cooling with pre-configured overclocking and the promise of more to come if you’re prepared to get your hands dirty with a manual overclock.

In their documentation nVidia are pushing the vanilla GTS450 in a head to head against the sub-£100 HD5750, but our MSI N450GTS sample is priced at £120, which means it needs to be compared against the HD5770 series.

As our MSI sample is overclocked, we felt it was only fair to compare it against one of the industry standard overclocked HD5770’s, the excellent Sapphire HD5770 Vapor X, which is still retailing at £145 inc vat. Therefore with a £25 price differential in its favour, MSI’s overclocked GTS450 seems to be a really strong deal right now. When you factor in the additional headroom for manual overclocking it really is a very tempting solution.

Recapping over the results we can see that with Tessellation intensive rendering, the GTS450 comes out on top. Unigine Heaven Benchmark, Stone Giant and Metro 2033 all favour the nVidia solution. Far Cry 2 has always performed better with nVidia hardware/drivers and the MSI Cyclone GTS450 outperforms the overclocked HD5770 with this engine also.

It isn’t all plain sailing for nVidia however as the HD5770 Vapor X had a clear performance edge with Resident Evil 5. Additionally, Mafia 2 and Aliens V Predator although closer matched, delivered better frame rates on the HD5770. Tom Clancy H.A.W.X. was so close it was tough to call.

So while performance between the two overclocked boards was tight, the MSI N450GTS Cyclone has the overall edge with the synthetic tests and game engines we used. nVidia’s developer relations team must be working overtime to get more game developers to include higher levels of Tessellation.

Focusing on the MSI N450GTS, we can wholeheartedly recommend this card, because it offers a formidable package at a mouth watering price point. For £120 you get a video card which can handle the most taxing  game engines at 1680×1050 without a problem and it will deliver sensible frame rates for almost every other game at 1080p. Power consumption is a very efficient 100W under load and the Cyclone cooler keeps the temperatures under 60c, even with Furmark synthetic stress testing. We see no reason to buy a reference cooled card, unless you are on an extremely tight budget.

KitGuru says: Although six months late to the party, with the highly-overclockable GTS450 nVidia have released a very strong DX11 solution that’s also very affordable. MSI’s 1GB GTS450 Cyclone is a fantastic card.

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Rating: 8.0.

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