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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The GeForce GT 430 is currently the simplest DirectX 11 GPU from NVIDIA for the retail market (NVIDIA also has the GeForce GT 420, but this particular model is only available inside pre-built PCs). Let’s see how this factory-overclocked card from MSI fared in our tests.

The new GeForce GT 430 comes to replace the GeForce GT 220, which is a DirectX 10.1 part. It competes directly with the Radeon HD 5570, which is also DirectX 11. Since this is an entry-level video card, in our comparison we decided to include the performance of the integrated video available in the Core i3-530, which is an entry-level CPU.

The MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP comes overclocked, running at a core clock that is 12% higher than the default clock and a memory clock that is 22% higher than the default clock.

In the table below we compare the main specs of the video cards included in our review.

Video Card Core Clock Shader Clock Memory Clock (Real) Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Shaders DX Price
Core i3-530 733 MHz 733 MHz (system) (system) (system) (system) (system) 12 10
Radeon HD 5570 650 MHz 650 MHz 900 MHz 1.8 GHz 128-bit 28.8 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 400 11 USD 70 – 85
GeForce GT 220 625 MHz 1.36 GHz 790 MHz 1.58 GHz 128-bit 25.28 GB/s 1 GB DDR2 48 10.1 USD 65 – 80
GeForce GT 430 700 MHz 1.4 GHz 900 MHz 1.8 GHz 128-bit 28.8 GB/s 1 GB DDR3 96 11 USD 65 – 85
MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP 785 MHz 1.57 GHz 1.1 GHz 2.2 GHz 128-bit 35.2 GB/s 1 GB DDR3 96 11 USD 80

Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table and NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table tutorials. 

Now let’s take a complete look at this model from MSI.

[nextpage title=”The MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP”]

With high-end video cards, NVIDIA sells the video cards to their partners, which simply put their own sticker and box, at least at a first moment. Therefore, there is no difference buying the video card from partner A or partner B: the video cards are absolutely the same. Unless, of course, the manufacturer added some overclocking. At a second moment, manufacturers start moving from the reference model, changing the video card cooler and even developing their own printed circuit boards.

With the GeForce GT 430, however, NVIDIA didn’t provide a reference sample to its partners. This means that each manufacturer had to create its own video cards based on this graphics chip. So a GeForce GT 430 from manufacturer A is not identical to the GeForce GT 430 from manufacturer B.

MSI decided to use high-end components on their N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP, as we shall discuss in the next page. One of the highlights of the reviewed video card is that it can be “transformed” into a low-profile video card by simply replacing the rear bracket (the card comes with two low-profile brackets), making it an interesting choice for compact computers (e.g. HTPCs).

Below we have an overall look at the MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP.

GeForce GT 430Figure 1: MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP

GeForce GT 430Figure 2: MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP

This video card has one DVI-D, one HDMI, and one VGA connectors.

GeForce GT 430Figure 3: Video connectors

[nextpage title=”The MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP (Cont’d)”]

In Figure 4, you can see the video card with its cooler removed. Being an entry-level video card with a  GPU that dissipates only 49 W, there is no need for auxiliary power connectors.

MSI decided to use only high-end components on this video card, like solid caps and solid chokes, also known as “super ferrite chokes” or simply SFC, which are military-class components. Electronic components are available in two series, civilian and military. Military components are more expensive, but can work under a higher temperature range and have a tighter tolerance.

GeForce GT 430Figure 4: Video card with the cooler removed

Since the GPU doesn’t dissipate a lot of power, its cooler is made of aluminum.

GeForce GT 430Figure 5: The GPU cooler

GeForce GT 430Figure 6: The GPU cooler

The reviewed card uses eight 1 Gbit GDDR5 chips, making its 1 GB video memory (1 Gbit x 8 = 1 GB). Each chip is connected to the GPU using a 16-bit data lane, making the video card’s 128-bit memory interface (16 bits x 8 = 128).

The chips used are H5TQ1G63DFR-11C parts from Hynix, which support up to 900 MHz (1.8 GHz DDR) and since on this video card memory is accessed at 1.1 GHz (2.2 GHz DDR), this means the memory chips are working above their rated clock rate (i.e., they are overclocked).

GeForce GT 430Figure 7: Memory chips

In Figure 8, you can see the two low-profile brackets that come with this video card.

GeForce GT 430Figure 8: Low-profile brackets

MSI included their Afterburne
r overclocking utility with this video card.

Before seeing the performance results, let’s recap the main features of this video card.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP video card include:

  • Graphics chip: NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 running at 785 MHz
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR3 memory (128-bit interface) from Hynix (H5TQ1G63DFR-11C), running at 1.1 GHz (2.2 GHz DDR)
  • Bus type: PCI Express x16 2.0
  • Video Connectors: One DVI-D, one HDMI, and one VGA
  • Video Capture (VIVO): No
  • Cables and adapters that come with this board: None
  • Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: One
  • Games included: None
  • Programs included: MSI Afterburner (overclocking utility)
  • Extra Features: Low-profile brackets
  • More information: https://us.msi.com
  • Average Price in the US*: USD 80.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Video resolution: 1920×1080 @ 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • AMD video driver version: Catalyst 10.10
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 260.99
  • Intel video driver version: 15.17.12.64.2.226
  • Intel Inf driver version: 9.1.2.1008

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”3DMark Vantage Professional”]

3DMark Vantage measures Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supports PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Note that since we are considering only the GPU score provided by this program, physics calculations are not taken into account. 

We ran this program at 1920×1080 using two profiles, “Entry” and “Performance.” The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

GeForce GT 430

3DMark Vantage – Entry 1920×1080 Difference
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 9015  
Radeon HD 5570 8910 -1%
GeForce GT 430 8111 -10%
GeForce GT 220 4514 -50%
Core i3 530 1765 -80%

GeForce GT 430

3DMark Vantage – Performance 1920×1080 Difference
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 2870  
GeForce GT 430 2470 -14%
Radeon HD 5570 2390 -17%
GeForce GT 220 1006 -65%
Core i3 530 423 -85%

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty 4″]

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, exactly what will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

To get accurate results we had to disable the 80 FPS limit in the game. To do this, input the command, “/seta com_maxfps 1000” (minus the quotes) into the console (` key). It can be set to any number greater than 200.

We ran this program at 1920×1080, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was set to the maximum values in the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the internal game benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo here for downloading if you want to run your own benchmarks. We ran the demo five times, and the results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each video card.

GeForce GT 430

Call of Duty 4 – Maximum 1920×1080 D
ifference
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 38.4  
Radeon HD 5570 33.9 -12%
GeForce GT 430 33.6 -13%
GeForce GT 220 22.8 -41%
Core i3 530 12.8 -67%

[nextpage title=”Fallout 3″]

Fallout 3 is based on the same engine used by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and it is a DirectX 9.0c (Shader 3.0) game. We configured the game at 1920×1080 with “high” image quality settings, no anti-aliasing and no anisotropic filtering. To measure performance, we used the FRAPS running an outdoor scene at God mode, running through enemy fire, triggering post processing effects, and ending with a big explosion in front of the Dupont Circle. The Core i3-530 couldn’t run this game.

GeForce GT 430

Fallout 3 1920×1080 Difference
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 39.63  
Radeon HD 5570 34.46 -13%
GeForce GT 430 33.63 -15%
GeForce GT 220 16.80 -58%

[nextpage title=”StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty”]

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a very popular DirectX 9 game released earlier this year. Though this game uses an old version of DirectX, the number of textures that can be represented on one screen can push most of the top-end graphics cards to their limits (especially when the graphics settings are set at “Ultra”). StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty uses its own physics engine that is bound to the CPU and thus does not benefit from PhysX.

We tested this game at 1920×1080. The quality of the game was set to the “high” preset, disabling both anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. We then used FRAPS to collect the frame rate of a replay on the “Unit Testing” custom map. We used a battle between very large armies to stress the video cards.

GeForce GT 430

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1920×1080 Difference
Radeon HD 5570 48.79 0%
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 48.57  
GeForce GT 430 40.84 -16%
GeForce GT 220 23.58 -51%
Core i3 530 6.07 -88%

[nextpage title=”Super Street Fighter IV”]

Super Street Fighter IV is a DirectX 9 game that implements a vast array of shaders and its own physics engine. The game was originally designed for consoles and, thus, its physics engine is CPU-bound.

We tested this program at 1920×1080 resolution with 2x anti-aliasing and no anisotropic filtering, and configuring all the settings to “high” and the “Extra Touch” feature to “off.” Our results are the number of frames per second generated by each video card.

GeForce GT 430

Super Street Fighter IV 1920×1080 Difference
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 70.43  
GeForce GT 430 64.37 -9%
Radeon HD 5570 61.22 -13%
GeForce GT 220 39.00 -45%
Core i3 530 11.16 -84%

[nextpage title=”Aliens vs. Predator”]

Aliens vs. Predator is a DirectX 11 game that makes full use of tessellation and advanced shadow rendering. We used the Aliens vs. Predator Benchmark Tool developed by Rebellion. This program reads its configuration from a text file (our configuration files can be found here). We ran this program at 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600 resolutions, with low texture settings, no anisotropic filtering and x2 anti-aliasing. The GeForce GT 220 and the Core i3-530 couldn’t run this program because they are not DirectX 11 parts.

GeForce GT 430

Aliens vs. Predator 1920×1080 Difference
Radeon HD 5570 22.6  
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 21.4 -5%
GeForce GT 430 18.9 -16%

[nextpage title=”Lost Planet 2″]

Lost Planet 2 is a game that uses a lot of DirectX 11 features, like tessellation (to round out the edges of polygonal models), displacement maps (added to the tessellated mesh to add fine grain details), DirectCompute soft body simulation (to introduce more realism in the “boss” monsters), and DirectCompute wave simulation (to introduce more realism in the physics calculations in water surfaces; when you move or when gunshots and explosions hit the water, it moves accordingly). We reviewed the video cards using Lost Planet 2 internal benchmarking features, choosing the “Benchmark A” (we know that “Benchmark B” is the one recommended for reviewing video cards, however, at least with us, results were inconsistent). We set graphics at “low,” anti-aliasing at “2x” and DX11 at “full” (the GeForce GT 220 ran as DX9). The results below are the number of frames per second generated by each video card. The Core i3-530 couldn’t run this game.

GeForce GT 430

Lost Planet 2 1920×1080 Difference
MSI N430GT-MD1GD3/OC/LP 18.20  
Radeon HD 5570 17.70 -3%
GeForce GT 430 16.40 -10%
GeForce GT 220 11.10 -39%

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Although serious gamers frown upon entry-level video cards, there are a lot of people who are occasional gamers that don’t have or don’t want to spend the money to buy a mid-range or high-end video card.

The GeForce GT 430 is an interesting option in the USD 65 &n
dash; USD 85 price range, and the MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP proved to be a no-brainer: it costs the same as the standard GeForce GT 430 and is between 9% and 20% faster. So, if you are willing to buy an entry-level video card and are contemplating the new GeForce GT 430, this particular model from MSI is the one that provides the best bang for the buck today.

Compared to its main competitor, the Radeon HD 5570, the MSI N430GT MD1GD3/OC/LP was faster in most games we ran, up to 20%. The only game where the Radeon HD 5570 was faster was on Aliens vs. Predator, where the AMD part was 5% faster.

The only “problem” with this video card is that is comes late to the party, as the Radeon HD 5570 is available since February.