GeForce GT 240: Low Power, High Performance, Sub-$100

Let's face it. The situation has been less than ideal for Nvidia over the past few months.

The first thing that comes to mind was the successful launch of AMD's new DirectX 11-ready Radeon HD 5000-series. Nvidia doesn't yet have its DirectX 11 answer ready. Admittedly, though, with scant availability of AMD's high-end Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 cards, this isn't the root of Nvidia's problems. The real thorn in the company's side is the fact that AMD has proven twice now, without a doubt, the smaller, scalable GPU and GDDR5 route it took with the Radeon HD 4000- and 5000-series is a winner from a price/performance/profitability standpoint.

As a result of AMD's success selling low-cost graphic cards with modest 3D performance, Nvidia has been forced to squeeze high-end GPUs into service as sub-$100 trench fighters. Take, for example, the GeForce 9600 GSO, 9600 GT, and 9800 GT, none of which were ever originally intended for the sub-$100 market. Complex GPUs and memory buses keep costs high, power usage is usually abysmal compared to the efficient Radeon HD 4670, and performance can't quite approach the Radeon HD 4850. The newer G96 version of the GeForce 9600 GSO helped cut costs a bit with its narrower 128-bit memory interface, but the majority of sub-$100 GeForces likely remain more expensive to manufacture than their Radeon counterparts.

With Nvidia's next-generation DirectX 11 flagship 'Fermi' delayed until next year, its prospects for wowing video card buyers in the near future are looking pretty dim. We had hopes that the recently-released GeForce G 210 and GT 220 would shake things up a little. And while the combination of 40nm lithography and DirectX 10.1 support helps the GeForce GT 220 bring a fight to ATI's Radeon HD 4650, the Radeon HD 4670 remains unchallenged when it comes to price/performance and low power usage.

Unchallenged, that is, until today.

The company is now officially unveiling its GeForce GT 240, the most powerful reference card that doesn't require an auxiliary PCIe power connector. It doesn't DirectX 11 support, but it has exactly what Nvidia needs right now in the sub-$100 category: low production costs, low power usage, and better-than-Radeon HD 4670 performance. Should it matter that ATI has a pair of entry-level DirectX 11 GPUs planned for Q1 of next year? Only if you're willing to wait. Let's see what Nvidia is offering today.

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18 comments
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  • mi1ez
    3D vision?! at what resolution? 240x320?!
    2
  • americanbrian
    so basically buying an old 8800GT is advisable over buying this new rip-off crap.
    1
  • redkachina
    its not crap..its designed for low end market, not for gamers in the 1st place..plus no 6 pin power = low power consumption..i wonder if its good for as a physx card..the ddr3 version is quite similar to a geforce 8800gs..
    -2
  • Anonymous
    I fear that your math skills on page two have let you down. Because the two figures are independent variables they cannot be linked. It would be like saying 10% of apples are rotten and 20% of apples sold are Golden Delicious, the number of rotten golden delicious would not neccesarily be 2 in 100 (infact it's likely to be somewhat higher for organic crops).
    2
  • rd20
    Wow, because cards like the Radeon 4770 and 5750 completely do not exist. Pathetic selection of GPUs just to try to mask how badly positioned this card is.
    1
  • americanbrian
    People should read the 5 pages of comments on the USA site. I find it really funny to read the masses of readers complaining about the poor value of the card and bias of the review, then you get some BLATANTLY hired "readers" that have catchy one-liners a la "this is great, no really..."

    I count about 5 shills on there.
    0
  • xupaguy
    id actually love one of these in my games machine!
    Before you laugh there's only one reason for it.
    At the min i use an ATI HD4890 and a Nvidia 9500GT to run PhysX, and at around £70 i think the 240 GDDR5 would do the job as damn site better than i can get out of the 9500. I can get all the PhysX effects going, but by god, i have to overclock the little blighter something unreal. This new 240 would be a dream in my machine!
    0
  • Dandalf
    Cool, I feel a bit sorry for NV at the moment, they are being attacked from both sides by AMD and Intel. Of course they like to price gouge and ATI is still the underdog, but overall I hope competition remains and we don't see any monopoly forming one way or the other.
    2
  • xupaguy
    damn right with that dandalf. lack of competion stiffles further development, and thats not what any of us, even the companys themselfs no doubt!
    0
  • bobster82
    I have ordered a HD4770 and I think its both cheap and better than the GTX240 but I wouldn't mind a comparison
    1
  • Anonymous
    This review doesn't benckmark the GT240 running with GDDR3 memory which is closer to the price of a 4670. With GDDR3 I doubt the GT240 would be any faster than the ATU 4670.
    0
  • jimb06789
    Which 96gso did you test? There's two versions, the 48SP and the 96SP.
    0
  • Anonymous
    As RD20!! Not sure why the HD4770 is not in the comparison? Lowest prices are around £60 for either although most stores have the HD4770 for less than the GDDR5 equipped GT 240. Nvidia bias anyone?
    0
  • americanbrian
    @xupaguy,

    I stand by my statement. You would still be better served by the 8800GT and could find one cheaper.
    0
  • arakrazy
    americanbrian@xupaguy,I stand by my statement. You would still be better served by the 8800GT and could find one cheaper.


    not here in the uk
    http://www.google.co.uk/products?q=geforce+8800gt&scoring=p&show=dd&sa=N&start=50
    occasionally £50 or so for 2ndhands, mostly £80+ once V.A.Tax and shipping included.

    an 8600 or 9600 can be found for £40 or so

    Me? Efficient 4650. £35 all in. When I have the £, upgrade time!
    0
  • americanbrian
    @Arakrazy,

    I agree that those options may suit you better than the 8800GT, my point is that if you are looking in the sub £100 market for a nvidia card and want it to game as well as for your HTPC then the older 8800GT simply outclasses this new offering.

    It would pour all kinds of hurt onto all the cards you have suggested in a performance review.
    0
  • arakrazy
    You're right, of course. If I could afford a bigger PSU and pricier card, it'd be the one to get...
    0
  • arakrazy
    Quote:
    I fear that your math skills on page two have let you down. Because the two figures are independent variables they cannot be linked. It would be like saying 10% of apples are rotten and 20% of apples sold are Golden Delicious, the number of rotten golden delicious would not neccesarily be 2 in 100 (infact it's likely to be somewhat higher for organic crops).


    lol. Just read this.

    If, from what was said, the 2 variables are truly independent, then it IS a good guess to then say 2 in 100 are rotten golden delicious. It's only when they are dependent/correlated/whatever the term is that their independent probabilities can't be simply combined.

    Then again, I can't see the article at the mo, and hence the actual point that was being made...
    0