Nvidia landed an astounding blow to AMD last July pulling the GeForce GTX 460 out of nowhere and quickly taking the lead as the best mid-range graphics card on the market. It's only been a few weeks since and the 768MB version of this card can now be had for as little as $170, crushing the Radeon HD 5830, and questioning if the slightly cheaper Radeon HD 5770 is worth the money.

Those looking to spend a little more also have the GTX 460 1GB at $220, which we have found to be comparable to the more expensive Radeon HD 5850 on most scenarios. As we've been mentioning in our recent GPU reviews, it's not just the value and sheer performance of the GTX 460 that has helped to make it a hit, but the combination of that with wide availability, low power draw, and cool operating temperatures.

However there is still a huge market for sub-$200 gaming graphics cards. AMD has had a range of products in this segment for some time now, and just recently they cut prices all around likely ahead of any launch from competitor Nvidia. The Radeon HD 5770 ($140), 5750 ($120) and 5670 ($80) are all current generation GPUs, while Nvidia has had nothing new to offer in these price brackets. Until now, of course, as we check out the newly released GeForce GTS 450, code-named GF106.

Nvidia is keen to point out that they are targeting gamers on a budget with this new GPU. Those wanting to upgrade to a relatively inexpensive DX11-capable graphics card and using a monitor smaller than 24" (resolutions of 1280x1024 to 1680x1050), Nvidia says the GTS 450 will deliver in those fronts. Akin to the release of the GTX 460, card availability should be strong at launch with factory overclocked versions of this GPU expected to be present from day one.

With a suggested retail price of $129, the GeForce GTS 450 knows upfront what their competitors look like and how well they perform. At this price the GTS 450 is 24% cheaper than the GeForce GTX 460 (768MB) saving the consumer about $40. But the question remains as how much performance you are sacrificing in the process and how well it stacks up against the Radeon HD 5770/5750 competition.