ECS GeForce GTS 450 1GB Black Edition Video Card Review

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The ECS GTS 450 Video Card

The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 video card has proven to be a popular graphics card for mainstream gamers on a budget since it was released last month. When the card was released we took a quick look at the reference card along with designs from ASUS, EVGA and MSI and found the graphics card packed a decent punch and the price wasn’t that bad. We were contacted by ECS shortly after that review was posted and were told that they wanted to send out a card that they thought would be competitive with the others that we had already reviewed.

NVIDIA GF106 chip architecture diagram

Since you have gone back and read our original launch article you should know that the GeForce GTS 450 is based off a brand a ‘Fermi’ core that goes by the name of GF106. The GF106 is manufactured at TSMC using their advanced 40nm process and the GPU core features 1.17 billion transistors. The reference NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 PCI Express 2.0 video card ships with a 783MHz Core GPU clock,
1566MHz shaders and 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 900MHz (3600MHz
effective) on a 128-bit interface. The card that ECS sent out was their high-end GeForce GTS 450 Black series card with part number NBGTS450-1GPI-F. This card features a nice factory overclock that puts the clock speeds at 850MHz Core clock,
1700MHz shaders and a memory clock running at 100MHz (4000MHz
effective). ECS didn’t stop there, though, as they added the Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro GPU cooler to help keep the card nice and cool. 

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card Front

The ECS GeForce GTS 450 Black Series 1GB video card measures
8.5 inches in length
and the card stands at 5.5 inches tall due to the large HSF that is on the card. What makes this card so unique is that it features an Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro dual-slot
GPU cooler for maximum cooling performance.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card Back

Flipping the ECS GeForce GTS 450 Black 1GB video card video card over we
don’t find too
many interesting things, but we can make out some of the Samsung GDDR5 memory chips that are used for the card’s frame buffer. The card doesn’t have a back plate on it
behind the GPU, which is odd as the reference design does. The card does have a slight bend to it due to the pressure from the GPU cooler, but nothing too extreme.  Notice that along the top edge of the GeForce GTS 450 that one SLI
connector is placed on the card.  This means that SLI and 3D Vision
Surround configurations are supported, but it will not be able to run
triple-SLI, ever.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card PCIe Power Header

The ECS GeForce GTS 450 1GB video card requires a 400 Watt or greater
power supply with a minimum of 22 Amps on the +12 volt rail. It also
requires that the power supply has one 6-pin PCI Express power connector
for proper connection.
It should be noted that the NVIDIA minimum system power requirement is
based on a PC configured with an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz CPU. If you want
to run SLI we are not sure of the exact specifications, but an educated
guess would say that a 450 Watt or greater power supply would be needed.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card IO Panel

The ECS GeForce GTS 450 Black 1GB GDDR5 graphics card has a pair of
dual-link DVI-I outputs along with a mini-HDMI output header. The NVIDIA
GeForce GTS 450 features enhanced audio support over HDMI; this
includes bitstreaming support for both Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master
Audio over HDMI 1.4a. ECS does not include a mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter though, so be ready to buy one if you want to hook this to a HDTV or a monitor with an HDMI cable.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card HSF

The ECS GeForce GTS 450 Black Series 1GB video card is a very impressive
graphics card since it uses the Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo Pro
heatsink. The Accelero Twin Turbo Pro GPU cooler retails for $50 itself,
so to get it pre-installed on the ECS GeForce GTS 450 is a nice
touch. This cooler features two 92mm PWM fans and 4-heatpipe that
connect to cooling 35 fins achieve up to 120 Watts cooling capacity. The
GeForce GTS 450 has a TDP rating of 106 Watts, so this cooler can
easily handle an overclocked card like this. The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 reference design uses a single 75mm cooling fan, in case you are curious.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card HSF

One downside to this GPU cooler is the fact that it takes up three slots on your motherboard. Pictured above is the ECS GeForce GTS 450 1GB Black series card installed on the ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard that we use for GPU testing. As you can see it covers up a PCI slot and the secondary PCIe x16 slot that is ideally used for SLI. Most gamers use just one GPU, but if you want to run SLI in the future or want to have it as an upgrade option this should be noted.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card GDDR5 Memory ICs

The ECS GeForce GTS 450 Black 1GB reference card uses eight Samsung
GDDR5 memory ICs that are part number K4G10325FE-HC05. Each one of the
ICs is 128MB in size and that is how the card reaches its 1024MB frame
buffer. 

Let’s take a look at the test system before we take a look at some performance numbers!

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