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

GeForce GT 240: Low Power, High Performance, Sub-$100
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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 have 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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  • 20 Hide
    Ramar , November 17, 2009 12:17 PM
    I really can't justify this card when a Sparkle 9800GT is on newegg for the same price or less than these cards. Perhaps if energy costs are really important to you?
  • 18 Hide
    Uncle Meat , November 17, 2009 12:19 PM
    Quote:
    Before we get into the game results, something we want to stress is that all of the GeForce cards we used for benchmarking ended up being factory overclocked models, but that our Diamond Radeon HD 4670 sample is clocked at reference speeds.


    The memory on the Diamond Radeon HD 4670 is clocked 200Mhz below reference speeds.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    DeadCat , November 17, 2009 12:10 PM
    awesome for an HTPC!!
  • -5 Hide
    rodney_ws , November 17, 2009 12:13 PM
    Well, it appears I might be the first poster... and that's pretty indicative of how exciting this card truly is. At any price point it's just hard to get excited when a company is just re-badging/re-naming older cards. DDR5? Oh yay! Now about that 128 bit bus...
  • 20 Hide
    Ramar , November 17, 2009 12:17 PM
    I really can't justify this card when a Sparkle 9800GT is on newegg for the same price or less than these cards. Perhaps if energy costs are really important to you?
  • 18 Hide
    Uncle Meat , November 17, 2009 12:19 PM
    Quote:
    Before we get into the game results, something we want to stress is that all of the GeForce cards we used for benchmarking ended up being factory overclocked models, but that our Diamond Radeon HD 4670 sample is clocked at reference speeds.


    The memory on the Diamond Radeon HD 4670 is clocked 200Mhz below reference speeds.
  • 2 Hide
    rodney_ws , November 17, 2009 12:21 PM
    Also, the 9600 GSO was on the Egg for $35 after MIR a few weeks/months back. No, that's not a top-tier card, but at $35 that's practically an impulse buy.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , November 17, 2009 12:37 PM
    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/videocard/

    Looking at what cards people actually have (8800gt mostly), I think there are very few that would want to upgrade to this. Give us something better, Nvidia! The only reason why Ati doesn't have a 90% market share right now is that they can't make 5800s and 5700s fast enough.
  • 8 Hide
    jonpaul37 , November 17, 2009 12:42 PM
    the card is pointless, it's Nvidia's attempt to get some $$$ before an EP!C FA!L launch of Fermi
  • -8 Hide
    jonpaul37 , November 17, 2009 12:43 PM
    The card is pointless, it's Nvidia's attempt to get some $$$ before an EP!C FA!L launch of Fermi.
  • 9 Hide
    JofaMang , November 17, 2009 12:45 PM
    No SLI means they want to force higher profit purchases from those looking for cheap multi-card setups. That's dirty. I wonder how two 4670s compare to one of these for the damn near the same price?
  • 1 Hide
    KT_WASP , November 17, 2009 12:54 PM
    I too noticed the discrepancy in your stated numbers for the Diamond 4670. In the article it states 750MHz / 800MHz (1600 effective). But then in your chart it states 750MHz / 1000MHz (2000 effective).

    So, which one was used? Reference is 750/1000 (2000 eff.) Diamond had two versions, I believe, one at the reference speed and one at 750/900 (1800 eff.)

    Just trying to understand you pick so we could better understand the results.
  • 4 Hide
    hundredislandsboy , November 17, 2009 1:00 PM
    No idea what Nvidia is thinking with the the release of this card sine a new 9800 GT is $89. They either have to drop the price of these GT240s to below $70 soon or it'll be huge loss. But maybe not. The only reason I an think of as to why Nvidia made this card is they had a bunch of spare parts lying around and rather than junk them, try to squeeze out some pennies. But then again ATI is playing the same game so if you can't beat them, join them!
  • 0 Hide
    Aircraft123 , November 17, 2009 1:01 PM
    This card is nice but the price just is not right. For the same price you could get a 9800GT or save $20 (at least) and get a 4670

    From the benchmarks the change in performance isn't worth that large ramp up in price.

    BTW I have a 4650 going in my HTPC
    and 2 XFX4890s in my desktop/gaming computer
  • 6 Hide
    cleeve , November 17, 2009 1:26 PM
    rodney_ws At any price point it's just hard to get excited when a company is just re-badging/re-naming older cards.


    The GT 240 isn't a rebadge, it's a new GPU based on the same architecture as the GTX 200 series.


  • 7 Hide
    nforce4max , November 17, 2009 1:26 PM
    These cards are a waste of money. A used 9600gt/gso can be had for less. Even my 8800gtx cost me less and I am using it now. Even my vintage 7900gtx duo (early gx2) holds its own.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , November 17, 2009 1:29 PM
    Uncle MeatThe memory on the Diamond Radeon HD 4670 is clocked 200Mhz below reference speeds.


    Absolutely right, fixed!
  • 4 Hide
    cleeve , November 17, 2009 1:35 PM
    Aircraft123From the benchmarks the change in performance isn't worth that large ramp up in price.


    I totally agree with you, however launch pricing is always high.

    Remember, we don't get to see the actual launch pricing until you do. The article was written before the GT 240 was for sale, and we were told it was a sub-$100 card.

    The reason I've been positive about this card is that production costs should be low enough for Nvidia to compete on price very quickly. For example, look at the GeForce GT 220: $80 at launch a couple weeks ago, it's already down to the low $60 range.

    You'll need to use common sense. At $110, the Radeon 4850 is the obvious winner, and at $90 the 8800 GT is the way to go.

    But pricing should fall into place with the DDR3 GT 240 at Radeon 4670 prices, and the GDDR5 GT 240 just under 9600 GT prices. That's where the new card is a recommended buy.
  • -3 Hide
    cyberkuberiah , November 17, 2009 1:37 PM
    deadcatawesome for an HTPC!!


    yes , indeed.
  • 6 Hide
    dark_lord69 , November 17, 2009 1:48 PM
    If you are going to spend close to $100 on a video card then you might as well get the ATi HD 4870.
    I found it for only $11 over the sub $100 range.
    The performance difference would DEFINITELY be worth $11.

    http://www.eworldsale.com/powercolor-ax4870-1gbd5-pph-pcs-radeon-hd-4870-1gb-gddr5-pci-express-20_5882_29335.html
  • 1 Hide
    noob2222 , November 17, 2009 2:10 PM
    Not a bad article, but very misleading however. Sub $100 tested with cards over $100? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814261056&cm_re=240-_-14-261-056-_-Product

    At that price its competing with the 4770s not the 4670. But this is an Nvidia article, gotta make them look good by omitting certain facts.

  • 6 Hide
    rdhood , November 17, 2009 2:24 PM
    What dark_lord69 and noob2222 said. The 4670 is starting to see after-rebate prices of just $40. The $100 price point is closer to the 4770.
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