Like the rest of graphics cards available on the market, the GeForce GTS 450 offers hardware acceleration for decoding video content in modern formats. Let's see how good it is at that.
When playing our VC-1 movies, the new card has a somewhat higher CPU load than the 460 model, yet its result is low enough for comfortable watching of Blu-ray discs.
Even being behind the GeForce 460 series, the 450 model features an exceptionally low CPU load when playing MPEG4-AVC movies. The new card can ensure smooth playback of movies with lots of dynamic scenes even on a rather weak CPU.
Like with the more widespread MPEG4-AVC and VC-1 codecs, the GeForce GTS 450 copes perfectly with the old MPEG2 HD format.
Nvidia made its inroads into the HTPC market with the GeForce GTX 460 and now gets a firmer foothold there by releasing the 450 model. Power consumption, noise, and price are all lowered in the new card.
The GeForce GTS 450 supports hardware decoding of all popular formats including MPEG2, MPEG4, MPEG4-AVC/H.264, MPEG4-MVC, VC-1, WMV-HD, Adobe Flash 10.1, etc. Thus, it is potentially the most advanced of the inexpensive graphics cards capable of playing Blu-ray 3D movies among other things (if you have such discs and an appropriate TV-set, of course).
We must confess that the new card did not score as high as the 460 model in the DVD playback and upscaling tests from the HQV 2.0 DVD suite but we guess this must be due to the driver (which was beta in late September) rather than to the GPU itself. Moreover, if the DVD movie is remastered properly, its upscaling on the GeForce GTS 450 should satisfy even the most fastidious user. As for HD content playback, we have not noticed any difference between the GeForce GTS 450 and the competing solutions when using Blu-ray movies even though the HQV 2.0 Blu-ray results of the new card are lower than those of the ATI Radeon HD 5 series.