Home theater PC enthusiasts want their HD video and Blu-ray discs to run smoothly, dammit, and the HTPC doing to the leg work had better being whisper-quiet doing it. Zotac is a company that has made its name by catering to the demanding HTPC crowd, and a product they’ve announced today continues that razor-sharp focus: the GeForce GTS 450 ZONE Edition graphics card mixes DirectX 11 visuals with a fan-less cooling system that helps keep noise to a minimum.
Our Dream Machine 2010 featured three overclocked GeForce GTX 480 videocards in absolute tri-SLI bliss, and all told, the entire rig checked in at nearly 16 large. Would we all own such an obscenely spec'd rig if we had our druthers? Sure we would, but out in the in real world, few people have that kind of money to drop on a PC.
Nvidia's just released GeForce GTS 450 sits at the opposite end of the spectrum at a place we like to call entry-level, albeit at the upper end. For around $130, the 450 brings DirectX 11 to the table. According to Nvidia, it also has the muscle to push pixels at 1600x1050 and 1280x1024, the mainstream resolutions 56 percent of Steam gamers play at.
"The GTS 450 was specifically designed to excel at these resolutions with 4X antialiasing turned on, enabling more gamers than ever before to experience incredibly detailed characters, terrain, and game environments with blazing fast performance and awesome visuals," Nvidia claims.
As Nvidia pitches it, the GTS 450 is up to 65 percent faster than the closest competitive product (Radeon HD 5750) in games and apps that feature tessellation, and up to 30 percent faster in previous generation DX9 and DX10 titles.
From a reference specification standpoint, the GeForce GTS 450 comes with a core clockspeed of 783MHz, 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1804MHz on a 128-bit bus, and 192 CUDA cores. It's not uncommon for companies to tweak the reference specs, such as Palit did with its GTS 450 Sonic Platinum (see our review here).