Nvidia GeForce GT 430 review
Nvidia’s Fermi architecture is gradually getting more efficient, and finally we have a card for those not on a high-end gamer’s budget. The GeForce GT 430 uses the new GF108 core, which has one Graphics Processing Cluster – down from the GTS 450’s two – with 96 stream processors divided among a pair of 1,400MHz multiprocessors. The core runs at a respectable 700MHz.
The 116mm2 die is just less than half the size of the GTS 450’s and it has half the transistors too, with 585 million. By way of comparison, the rival Radeon HD 5550 and HD 5570 both have 627 million transistors and 400 stream processors.
The GT 430 is the only Nvidia card in the current range to include 1GB of older DDR3 memory. It’s normally clocked at 1,800MHz, but our sample – a passively cooled card from Zotac – ran at a slightly slower 1,600MHz.
Performance, then, was suitably modest. An average of 84fps in our Low quality, 1,366 x 768 Crysis benchmark gave way to just 34fps in our 1,600 x 900 Medium quality test – that’s one frame faster than the HD 5550, but 12 frames behind the HD 5570.
Our Stalker: Call of Pripyat tests saw the Nvidia card sandwiched between the ATI pair, with the GT 430’s 22fps in the 1,600 x 900 Medium quality test proving six frames behind the HD 5570. It was quicker than the HD 5550, which could manage only 22fps at Medium quality when we reduced the resolution to 1,366 x 768.
Middling gaming benchmarks, then, but Nvidia intends for the GT 430 to be used in smaller, less demanding machines. To that end, it has enough power to handle 1080p video without kicking up a fuss, and it’s already available in a wide variety of configurations. A quick scan of online retailers reveals that single-slot, half-height and passively cooled models are all available, all with HDMI and some offering DisplayPort.
It should be noted that our passively cooled review sample ran extremely hot, hitting the dangerous 100-degree mark after mere minutes of stress testing. We’d be wary of using it in a poorly ventilated chassis.
The GT 430 will set you back between £50 and £60 exc VAT, which doesn’t sound like much. But the spanner in the works is the Radeon HD 5570, which is available for the same price yet bests the GeForce in all tests. Both will do a job in a media centre, but it makes little sense to buy the GT 430 when your money will stretch further elsewhere.
|Graphics card interface||PCI Express|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GT 430|
|Core GPU frequency||700MHz|
Standards and compatibility
|DirectX version support||11.0|
|Shader model support||5.0|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|7-pin TV outputs||0|
|Graphics card power connectors||N/A|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||84fps|
|3D performance (crysis), medium settings||34fps|
|3D performance (crysis) high settings||15fps|