Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed
In this test the Geforce GT 240 with the GT 215 GPU has to show if Nvidia's architecture with its 96 Shaders and directX 10.1 support is worth the price of about 80 euros.
With the Geforce GT 240 the third DirectX 10.1 graphics card from Nvidia hits the markets. After the GT218 (Geforce G210) and GT216 (Geforce GT220) the new Geforce GT 240 now has, due to 96 Shader and 32 Texture Units, the power to become a low priced alternative for gamers. PC Games Hardware if the graphics card can fulfill this target.
The recommended price for the Geforce GT 240 is said to be specified with less than 100 USD. First partner cards that arrived in our office were tagged with about 80 Euros - depending on accessories and ex factory overclocking. It's clear that one shouldn't expect a performance monster in this price region of course. Nvidia rather offers a entry level card which is supposed to deliver an advantage in comparison to integrated graphics units and the cheapest video solutions below 50 Euros. So you can, as our test reveal, play most games on high details, but in challenging titles you won't get Full HD resolution or high-end anti Aliasing modes.
In our benchmark test the GT 240 has to compete with the Radeon HD 4670, HD 4770 and HD 4830 as well as its own predecessors Geforce 9500 to 9800 GT.
Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card: Specifications
Like all GT21x GPUs the GT215 also supports Microsoft's DirectX 10.1 API and is produced by TSMC in a 40 nanometer architecture - which is known to cause minor problems though. The clock speeds of GPU and Shader ALUs are disappointingly low. With 550 respectively 1,340 MHz even 96 Shader ALUs have a hard time to be faster than the predecessor Geforce 9600 - only the fastest GT 240 version with 1 GiByte GDDR5 VRAM is able to beat the older card continuously.
Another slowdown are the eight ROPs which link the 128 bit memory interface to the rest of the chip - the 9600 GT has, like the Radeon HD 4670, 4770 and 4830, twice the pixel performance. But the architecture of the GT215 should make up for some of those drawbacks since it is based on the improved GT200 design with 3x8 Shader Multiprocessors (SM) per Thread Processing Cluster (TPC) and Octo ROP.
In the chart below we listed the specifications.
|Hersteller||Nvidia Geforce||AMD Radeon|
|GT 240 GDDR5||GT 240 GDDR3||8800/9800 GT||9600 GT||9500 GT||HD 4770||HD 4670|
|Taktrate Chipkern (MHz)||550||550||600||650||550||750||750|
|Taktrate Shader-ALUs (MHz)||1.340||1.340||1.512||1.625||1.375||750||750|
|Taktrate Speicher (MHz)||1.700*||800||900||900||800||1600*||1.000|
|Direct-X-/Shader-Version||10.1 / 4.1||10.1 / 4.1||10 / 4.0||10 / 4.0||10 / 4.0||10.1 / 4.1||10.1 / 4.1|
Nvidia has announced a version of the GT 240 with GDDR3 video memory, but up to now we haven't received an appropriate sample. But such cards have already been listed by several online stores. The benchmarks reveal that the DDR3 version (no ‘G'!) with only 800 MHz memory frequency is running noticeably slower than the GDDR5 variant in some tests. Furthermore we see that a memory amount of only 512 MiByte can, even in this market sector, result in a lower performance. So pay attention to what you want to do with the card when thinking about buying one of them. As a dedicated video or physics accelerator DDR3 RAM might be enough but for gaming the GDDR5 version with 1 GiByte is the better option.
Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card: Board and Cooling
Due to the frugal GT215 graphics chip the board is quite straightforward. Nvidia's default design has an active single slot cooling solution. Manufacturers like Zotac stick to that with the overclocked versions while Gainward and Palit for example use a custom design with a simple aluminum heatsink and a different fan. Most likely some companies will also introduce passively cooled version soon, too.
From Gainward we received two identical boards - one Geforce GT 220 with GT216 chip and one GT 240 with GT215 GPU: Probably - Nvidia has not confirmed this yet - both the GPUs, which originate from the mobile sector, are pin compatible.
Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card: Power consumption and Loudness
For our tests of the GT 240 we didn't receive samples directly from Nvidia but were provided with custom design cards from Zotac, Gainward and Palit. In matters of cooling solution, frequencies and amount of memory those devices don't necessarily match the default specifications. Therefore we don't run loudness and power consumption tests in this chipset review.
According to Nvidia the idle power consumption is specified with 7 watt while the card needs up to 70 watt if stressed.
- 1Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Introduction, Specs
- 2Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Test system and Benchmark selection
- 3Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Benchmark Call of Duty: World at War (DirectX 9)
- 4Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Benchmark Fallout 3 + HD-Pack (DirectX 9)
- 5Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Benchmark Grand Theft Auto 4 (GTA IV)
- 6Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Benchmark Race Driver GRID (DirectX 9)
- 7Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - GPU-Computing
- 8Geforce GT 240: Nvidia's fastest DirectX 10.1 graphics card reviewed - Conclusion
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