Now that Palit has pretty much become an NVIDIA only partner, it means the company can really concentrate on just creating great variants of NVIDIA models. While they've left the higher end segment alone, they've done a fantastic job with the mid range one; first the GTX 460 and now the GTS 450.
NVIDIA partners have been very aggressive with the latest mid range models and there's no denying that Palit have been one of the most aggressive. Not only have they been able to offer this huge out of the box overclock, but they've also managed to keep the price at that perfect $150 mark.
Overall, the performance is very strong, and compared to the HD 5770 we have another model that's able to outperform it. Sure, this is overclocked extremely high, but honestly, the highest out of the box clock we've seen from the HD 5770 is a 50MHz core overclock from GIGABYTE on the SOC model. Nothing has come close to these 100MHz+ offerings that NVIDIA partners are doing.
The biggest worry I had with the card was the temperature; it really does run quite warm at 71c when compared to the other cards in a similar price bracket. I went to the effort to check with Palit that there wasn't a problem. Since the card arrived before launch, it's possible that there may have been an issue with the fan speed. Speaking to them, they said that instead of focusing on keeping the card really cool, they opted to keep the card really quiet.
This isn't a bad strategy; the only setup that was quieter than the Palit offering in Load was the HD 5770 Silent Cell from GIGABYTE which doesn't use active cooling. 71c is also way below the heat threshold of these models, so really there's nothing to be worried about. It's worth noting that the peace does come at a cost, though, and that is the extra heat. For some people it's not going to be an issue, while for others they may prefer to have something louder that does indeed run cooler.
The good news is if you're a fan of the cooler and the path that Palit has taken with it, but find that the Sonic Platinum version is a little too expensive and you're happy to do a bit of overclocking yourself, you can get just the Sonic version which carries with it an 880MHz core and a 3900MHz QDR memory clock for around the $130 US price tag, which is very impressive.
If you want to save some money and prefer to really do overclocking yourself, the Sonic Platinum version is probably a little bit of a waste. The Sonic version would be a more attractive option. The bottom line, though, is that there's still a lot of people out there who don't like to overclock, don't feel comfortable or just can't be bothered, and that's quite common at this price point. For those people the Sonic Platinum from Palit is a stand out model due to its massive out of the box clocks.