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Appeared on: Friday, October 29, 2010
Inno3D GT 430 review


1. Meet the Inno3D GT430

The Nvidia GeForce GT 430 is the first mainstream Fermi GPU for the PC using the same Fermi architecture in the GTS 450, GTX 460, GTX470 and GTX 480. The Fermi architecture was designed to run next generation DX11 titles and Blu-Ray 3D.

The GeForce GT 430 is considered as the replacement of the GTS 240 GPU. Its 40nm GPU is clocked at 700MHz, comes with 96 Cuda cores 2GB DDR3 memory running at 1800 Mhz and a 128-bit memory interface. The result is a memory bandwidth of 28.8 GB/sec and a Texture Fill Rate of 5.6 billion/sec.

GeForce GT 430 is specifically designed to power today's digital media PCs, providing enough power for photo and video editing, Blu-ray 3D, mainstream gaming, and the next generation of GPU-accelerated Web browsers. The card also supports CUDA Technology, PhysX technology and comes equipped with an HDMI 1.4 output.

NVIDIA believes that they’ve made the ultimate HTPC card, and that’s the line they’re going to be using to sell it. However, the company claims that it could also be used for gaming. Specifically, compared to the GT240, the new GT430 scores approximately 1200 points higher in the Vantage (Pro ) benchmark and also is more powerful in popular games such as "Crysis" and "Lost Planet," according to the company.

Below you see a comparison among the GT 430 with some other Fermi -based solutions. Fermi series. Looking at the specs, we can easily understand that the GT 430 series are a replacement of the GT 240. At $80, the GT 430 also goes directly up against the Radeon HD 5570 (DDR3 & GDDR5) and the Radeon 5670. However, all of these cards are faster in gaming performance, and that's why NVIDIA has chosen to presents the GT 430 as the optimum HTPC performer. But let's wait to see some benchmark figures first before drawing any conclusions.

 
GeForce GT 430
GeForce GTS 450
GeForce GTX 460
Stream (Shader) Processors
96
192
336
Core Clock (MHz)
700
783
675
Shader Clock (MHz)
1400
1566
1350
Memory Clock (datarate MHz)
3600
3608
3600
Memory amount
1024MB
1024MB
768~1024MB
Memory Interface
128-bit
128-bit
192~256-bit
Memory Type
gDDR5
gDDR5
gDDR5

Meet the Inno3D GT430

Today we will present the Inno3D GeForce GT 430 graphics card.

Specifications:

The Inno3D GT 430 retails in the following small package:

The bundle includes just ROM discs with drivers and not any cables. The half-height single- slot card is equipped with a small heatsink:

DVI-D, D-Sub and of course HDMI v1.4 ports are provided. The card is powered by the PCI-e slot so there is no need for any external power:

Below you see the card's basic specifications.The GPU core runs at 700MHz, the memory at 900MHz and the Shaders at 1400MHz. The Inno3D GT 430 runs at stock speeds leaving us with some hopes that it could be easily overclocked:


2. Test platform
- Setup

Here is our test PC setup:

Many games and applications were used in order to measure the performance (FPS) of each card.

DirectX 9

DirectX10

DirectX11

- Testbed DirectX9

For all the tests we used the default settings for 3DMark05 as you see below:

Again we left all the settings to default:

- Testbed DirectX10

We used the three built- in benchmarks to test the performance of each graphics card. We measured the performances at various resolutions using the "Performance" and up to the "Extreme" settings.

We used the built in benchmark with all the details maxed out.

We used the FRAMEBuffer benchmark tool for the resolutions of 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and finally 1920x1200. We used all the possible quality levels to get an idea what the graphic card can do at each corresponding resolution.

 

We used the built-in benchmarking utility and maxed out all visual details, under both DX9/DX10 and settings up to 16x AA/16x AF.


3. 3DMark Hall Of Fame
We start with the results coming out from Futuremark's benchmarks. These include the results of the 3DMark 05, 3DMark 06 and the 3DMark Vantage software tests.

Starting with the 3D Mark 05 benchmark, the Inno3D GT 430 got just 14227 points, which is a low performance, even compared with its predecessor, the Nvidia GT 240 series:

At the 3DMark 06 benchmark the Inno3D GT 430 scored 8322 points, which is also low:

The 3DMark Vantage tests the performance of each card in different resolutions. We charted the GT 240, GT 430, GT 220 and an older 9600GT graphics card. According to the test, the GT 430 seems to be more powerful than the GT 220 series, but not the GT240:


4. Crysis Warhead, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark
- Crysis Warhead (DirectX9, DirectX10)

We proceed to the "Crysis Warhead" game, which supports both DirectX9 and DirectX10 rendering modes. The popular game is still the toughest game in our benchmark suite. Below are the test results from all the possible resolutions the anti-aliasing (AA) disabled.

The Inno3D GT 430 performed relatively good considering the high demands of the Crysis Warhead benchmark. Not surprisingly, we have to turn our settings way down even at 1680 to get a playable frame rate and of course, setting the quality any higher than the "Performance" level is out of question, especially for resolutions higher than 1280 x 1024:

Below you see how the Inno3D GT430 performs at Crysis : Warhead compared with a GT 240 graphics card.

Unfortunately the GT 430 is losing by several frames per second to the GT 240 under both DX9 and DX 10 modes no matter the resolution we set. This means that the card is also slower than the AMD's closest rivals, the 5570 and of course the 5670. So compared to the other cards in its price bracket the GT 430 seems to be underpowered. Let's hope that the GT 430 won’t lose all games by this much:

- S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark

 

The ' S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark' provides detailed information about a system's performance on various graphical modes. This benchmark is based on one of the in-game locations – Pripyat . The testing process includes four stages, those utilizing various weather and time of the day settings (day, night, rain, bright sun). In order to test the system thoroughly the benchmark is provided with a number of presets and options including different versions of DirectX (9.0 10.0, 11), screen resolutions, anti-aliasing etc.This makes it another one of the highly demanding games in our benchmark suite.

For our tests we set the visual details to the highest level and tested the Inno3D GT 430 graphics card under DX10 and DX11 at the resolution of 1920x1200:

- DX9

- DX10

- DX11

The GT 430 cannot support the specific game for the resolution of 1920 x 1200 and with the quality set to "Ultra." The game was more playable (avg. 30 FPS) at 1280 x 1024 with the quality set to the "Medium" level. Compared to AMD's solutions, this performance is close to what you should expect from an AMD 5570.


5. Company Of Heroes v1.71

The "Company Of Heroes" is a popular action/strategy game with many funs around the world. The game was the first ever to utilize DirectX10 and features great in-game physics. For this test, we used the maximum quality settings and measured the performance (FPS) of each card.

The Inno3D GT 430 was more powerful than the GT 240 at the resolutions of 1280x1024 and 1680x1050. At 1920 x 1200, the GT 240 took a small lead:


6. Far Cry 2, Left4Dead, StreetFighter IV, Unigine benchmark

- Far Cry 2 (DirectX 9/10)

Far Cry 2 supports both DirectX 9 and DirectX10 and its graphics engine is much lighter than the one the Crysis title is based on..

Under DX9, the Inno3D GT 430 is slower than the GT220. The gap between the two cards was smaller as we increased the quality settings:

 

Enabling the DX10 shaders, the "Ultra high" quality settings and AA worked better for the Inno3D GT 430, with the card to be faster than the GT 240. Of course, despite the advances made for Fermi’s ROPs, the specific game is not playable when the ant-alising is enabled, at least at 1920 x 1200:

 

- Left4Dead (DirectX 9)

Introduced in 2004, Valve’s Source engine continues to live on in new Valve games. Although this game is not very GPU limited to a significant degree we are using it in our testbed.

We used a custom time demo and measured the performance of the graphics card for the resolutions of 1280x1024, 1650x1080 and 1920x1200, with 16xAF enabled and all visual settings maxed out.

The Inno3D GT 430 could not reach the performance of the GT 240 but it remained faster than the GT 220:

 

- StreetFighter IV (DirectX 9)

Here are two more benchmarks from the Streetfighter IV and the Unigine Benchmark Engine (DX10) demonstrating the graphic performance of the Inno3D GT 430 graphics card.

Unigine is a proprietary cross-platform middleware, developed by Unigine Corp. It is used as either a game engine or as an engine for VR systems. Unigine currently has support for OpenGL 4.0 and DirectX 11 It supports hardware tessellation and Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0.

At the StreetFighter IV game, the Inno3D GT 430 gave less FPS than the GT 240 at 1280 x 1024 in most cases, except the case where we enabled 16xAA.

On the other hand, the Unigine benchmark was too hard for the GT 430 and the card preformed the same way the GT 220 did:


7. Dirt 2, Alien vs Predator Benchmark v1.03, Lost Planet 2 Benchmark, Overclocking

- Dirt 2 (DirectX 11)

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 (known as Dirt 2 outside Europe and stylised, DiRT) is a racing game released in September 2009, and is the sequel to Colin McRae: Dirt. The game runs on an updated version of the EGO engine, which powered Codemasters' Race Driver: Grid as well. The engine features an updated physics engine and makes pretty through use of the DX11’s tessellation abilities.

 

We used the latest Dirt 2 game patch and used the built-in benchmark for the resolution of 1920x1200, various quality levels and with AA enabled.

With the Inno3D GT 430, the Dirt2 game is playable at 1920 x 1200 if you keep the quality settings as high as "Medium." That's not a bad tradeoff for a card of this category. The specific DX11 game also put the GT 430 in the lead over the Radeon 5670 OC and of course the 5570:

 

 

- Alien vs Predator Benchmark v1.03 (DirectX 11)

Rebellion has released a standalone DirectX 11 PC benchmark test based upon its shooter Aliens vs. Predator. The benchmark test requires a graphics support supporting DirectX 11, which are used to produce such fancy features as tessellation, advanced shadow sampling and DX11 anti-aliasing.

We used the default settings of the benchmark (resolution: 1920 x 1200, Texture Quality: 2, Shadow Quality: 3, Anisotropic Filtering: 16, SSAO: ON, Vertical Sync: OFF, DX11 Tessellation: ON, DX11 Advanced Shadows: ON, DX11 MSAA Samples: 1).

The Inno3D GT430 gave an average of ~10.50 frames per second, which is very low. It is obvious that the requirements of the game are very demanding for the card, at least for these settings. For comparison, even a a GTS 450 will give you an average ~22.60 FPS.

- Lost Planet 2 Benchmark (DX9/DX11)

The Lost Planet 2 benchmark allows you to measure the performance of your graphics card using a a pre-configured route within the game. The benchmark can be run under both DX9 and DX11. We will not present any numbers here since the Inno3D GT 430 could not produce more than 10 FPS under 1920 x 1200.

- Overclocking

We are ready to test the overclocking abilities of the Inno3D GT 430 graphics card.

For our overclocking tests we used the latest MSI AfterBurner utility which also allows you to unlock the card's voltages allowing further tweaking. We enabled the 'Core Voltage' slider (though the 'settings' tab). The Core Voltage slider can go very high to further increase the overclocking margins although we feel that you won't need to go very high here. The 'Core' and 'Shader' sliders are synched and move as one, allowing you to play with the 'Memory' slider as well. The package also includes the 'MSI Kombustor' application that stresses your graphics card and test its stability.

Without any extra efforts, we managed to get the GT 430 core run at 850MHz, the memory clock reached the 1080MHz and the shaders topped at 1700MHz. Under these circumstances, the reported temperature for the core was 72 degrees C, which is obviously high for the Inno3D's cooler to cope with.

Getting to some quick tests, this overclocking gave us 8 additional frames per second for the the Far Cry 2 , with the average gain to be around +5FPS. This means that overclocking the GT 430 could make the difference for some games.


8. Final words

Although the GT 430 is Nvidia's proposal for all those who want to replace their GT 220, it should be mainly considered as a graphics card for HTPCs. The $80 GT 430 cannot compete with AMD's offerings at this price range (5570 and 5670) in gaming performance, so Nvidia tried to present it as a capable graphics solution for the HTPC environment, compact in size, future-proof with an HDMI 1.4a port on board and also quiet enough during operation.

From that perspective, the Nvidia GT 430 and specifically Inno3D's implementation we tested today, is a good and affordable choice. The card features D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI 1.4a outputs for 3D playback (if you have Nvidia's 3D Vision kit), and also media playback is enhanced and accelerated by CUDA. The Inno3D GT 430 also comes equipped with a distinctive and quiet cooling system on board, which does not add any volume to the card for easy installation into HTPCs.

On the other hand, if gaming added to your interests, the Inno3D GT 430 will let you play the latest games at resolutions of up to 1280 x 1024, with some extra FPS to be easily achieved by taking advantage the card's overclocking margins.

As an entry-level card, the $80 Inno3D GT 430 could grab some market share mainly for its 3D autostereoscopy capabilities rather for its gaming performance, where AMD's corresponding offerings are more capable.



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