Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Radeon R7 240 And 250: Our Sub-$100 Gaming Card Round-Up

Radeon R7 240 And 250: Our Sub-$100 Gaming Card Round-Up
By

Now that AMD's Radeon R7 240 and 250 are here, we want to know a little more about what the sub-$100 market looks like. Can the latest Oland-based boards serve up playable performance in the latest titles, or are there other hidden gems to discover?

Without a doubt, high-end gaming PCs can get really expensive. Even our definition of "mid-range" hovers around the $1000 mark. With a bunch of PC-derived technology at the heart of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, it's no wonder the latest consoles are so appealing at $400 and $500.

There's another way to think about the market, though. Consider how many people own desktops. Sure, a lot of them have old, crappy integrated graphics engines wholly insufficient for gaming. Often times, though, the only component differentiating a weak word processing machine and a capable entertainment platform is a decent graphics card. Adding one might turn a modest little box into a system strong enough for Battlefield 4 or Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

But what if you're on a strict budget? Can you achieve that goal with a hundred dollars or less?

Today we're going to compare inexpensive graphics cards to see what they're capable of in modern titles at fairly demanding settings. We're also going to scrutinize AMD's recently introduced Radeon R7 240 and 250 cards. Do they offer good value to gamers with limited funds for new hardware? 

Here are the cards we're comparing, along with their specifications:


GeForce GT 630 GDDR5GeForce GT 640 DDR3
Radeon R7 240
Radeon HD 6670Radeon HD 7730Radeon R7 250Radeon HD 7750 GDDR5
Radeon HD 7770
Shader
Cores
96
(Fermi)
384
(Kepler)
320
(GCN)
480
(VLIW5)
384
(GCN)
384
(GCN)
512
(GCN)
640
(GCN)
Texture
Units
16
3220
24
24
243240
Color
ROPs
4
168
8
8
816
16
Fab
Process
40 nm
28 nm28 nm
40 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm
Core
(Boost)
Clock
900 MHz
900 MHz730
(780) MHz
800 MHz
800 MHz
1000
(1050)
MHz
800 MHz1000 MHz
Memory
Clock
900 MHz DDR3891 MHz DDR3900 MHz DDR3900 MHz
DDR3
or
GDDR5
900 MHz
DDR3
1125 MHz GDDR5
900 MHz DDR3
1150 MHz GDDR5
1125 MHz GDDR5
1125 MHz GDDR5
Memory
Bus
128-bit
128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit
128-bit128-bit128-bit
Memory
Bandwidth
28.8 GB/s DDR3
28.5 GB/s DDR328.8 GB/s28.8 GB/s
DDR3
64 GB/s
GDDR5
28.8 GB/s DDR3
72 GB/s GDDR5
28.8 GB/s DDR3
73.6 GB/s GDDR5
72 GB/s72 GB/s
TDP
65 W
65 W30 W
44 W
DDR3
60 W
GDDR5
47 W
60 W
55 W
80 W
Newegg
Price
Range
$65
$60
to
$120
$70
to
$90
$70-$102
DDR3
$80-$125 GDDR5
$80
to
$125
(Amazon)
$87
to
$103
$100
to
$137
$100
to
$170
Typical
Price
$65
$80
$70
$80
DDR3
$90
GDDR5
NA
$90
$100
$110

A lot of these cards are available across a fairly wide price range. For example, the GeForce GT 640 goes from $60 to twice that number on Newegg. So, I'm citing the third-cheapest price I can find as "typical". No matter how you do the math, though, this is a bit of a challenge for nailing down value. We should still have enough performance data by the end of this story to draw sound conclusions, though.

Display 98 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • -5 Hide
    Hazly1979 , January 29, 2014 1:08 AM
    This card is slower than HD 7750AMD is playing [removed] now for sub par $100

    Watch the language - G
  • -7 Hide
    emad_ramlawi , January 29, 2014 1:40 AM
    No need to read the review, those parts are [removed]HD 7750 or the new Nvidia GTX 750 for the WIN

    Watch the language - G
  • -8 Hide
    blackmagnum , January 29, 2014 2:11 AM
    Just buy a bigger PSU and be done with these poor performance-for-the-dollar/watt cards.
  • 7 Hide
    tridon , January 29, 2014 2:13 AM
    These discrete cards that squeeze frames out with very little power drain are great. I recently bought one such cheap AMD-card for my fiancée when she wanted to play Guild Wars 2 with me. Having an aging low cost workstation with a weak power supply "Made in Hell", cards like these were the only option. At least without having to upgrade and tweak other parts of the PC. (Yes I'm lazy [and like to save money]).Don Woligroski: For the few(?) that are in the same situation as me it would be great to se an efficiency chart. Like average frames pr. average watt usage through a benchmark, or something in that vein.
  • 4 Hide
    Martell1977 , January 29, 2014 2:42 AM
    My brother has a HP s3500f slimline computer that I thought the R7 240 might work well in (at least better than the Geforce 6150se it has now). Problem is he has a 250w PSU, all the R7 240's list 400w minimum and it seems the only place to get one under $75 is eBay($43, new). 400w seems awfully high for such a low end card...
  • 17 Hide
    cleeve , January 29, 2014 3:13 AM
    Quote:
    My brother has a HP s3500f slimline computer that I thought the R7 240 might work well in (at least better than the Geforce 6150se it has now). Problem is he has a 250w PSU, all the R7 240's list 400w minimum and it seems the only place to get one under $75 is eBay($43, new). 400w seems awfully high for such a low end card...


    A 400W is overkill if you're running a power-efficient CPU.

    Look at the results, the most this system puilled with the R7 240 is 122 Watts under load. That's the whole system, with an overclocked Core i5-2500K!

    A good 250W PSU should be fine. AMD is kind of recommending overkill here, but they do that to protect people from poor quality PSUs. A 250W HP shouldn't be a problem as long as the platform isn't power hungry.
  • -7 Hide
    cats_Paw , January 29, 2014 4:38 AM
    Cleeve.... not true:http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_radeon_hd_7750_and_7770_review,7.htmlA stressed 7770 Requires at least a 400W good PSU (Note that 400W DOES NOT mean 400W on the 12V rail, but 400W in total. If you do that math in a 250W supply you get a lot less power on the 12V rail, who knows maybe 170... Also remmber that the GPU needs a fixed amount of power in a defined amount of cables. This means that if the PSU is not good, it wont be able to juice the GPU well enought).
  • 6 Hide
    Sakkura , January 29, 2014 4:47 AM
    In Metro: Last Light, the GT 640 gets exactly the same FPS and frame time variance at both 720p and 1080p. It looks like you accidentally input the data from one benchmark run in both places.

    *EDIT BY EDITOR*

    You're absolutely right! We fixed the charts, thanks for catching that!
  • 9 Hide
    Sakkura , January 29, 2014 4:50 AM
    Quote:
    Cleeve.... not true:http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_radeon_hd_7750_and_7770_review,7.htmlA stressed 7770 Requires at least a 400W good PSU (Note that 400W DOES NOT mean 400W on the 12V rail, but 400W in total. If you do that math in a 250W supply you get a lot less power on the 12V rail, who knows maybe 170... Also remmber that the GPU needs a fixed amount of power in a defined amount of cables. This means that if the PSU is not good, it wont be able to juice the GPU well enought).

    A good 250W power supply will have 18-20 amps on the 12V rail, which is fine for the R7 240.

    I don't know why you bring up the 7770, it clearly draws a lot more power than the R7 240.
  • 10 Hide
    InvalidError , January 29, 2014 4:53 AM
    Where do you get that 400W figure from that Guru3D article? The highest measured figure in there says: "System Wattage with GPU in FULL Stress = 231W" and further down they say they estimate the board's power to max out at ~86W which is just above 7A.That would be power measured at the wall which includes PSU losses... and their test system includes water pump for their OC'd i7-965, cold-cathode lighting and a bunch of other unnecessary stuff most low-end systems would not have that brings their idle power up to a whopping 155W instead of the 50-80W range for typical for current Intel-based mainstream setups.
  • -1 Hide
    boytitan2 , January 29, 2014 4:57 AM
    Thing is while the 7770 offers better performance it also offers a higher power consumption meaning most people who are just grabbing a graphics card for a prebuilt system will not be able to use the thing with out a psu upgrade which now means you should just get a better card since you are spending more money.
  • 1 Hide
    PunchGrinder , January 29, 2014 5:01 AM
    Think the question is what card/configuration is most sufficient/efficient/performance setup for Crossfire . With two of the R7 250s you have twice the GCNs. Which is better than that of the R9 270x. Or the same. However the card,mb configuration may not be adaqaute, or the price performance ratio might not match your requirements. Have read where the new A10 kaveris,can 'only'use the DDR3 type R7 240,250s. So there is a little consideration here for this. Some info from: http://wccftech.com/amd-kaveri-dual-graphics-works-ddr3-memory-based-radeon-r7-gpus/
  • 6 Hide
    digiex , January 29, 2014 5:09 AM
    How about R7 240 DDR3 vs R7 240 DDR5 vs A10 Kaveri?
  • 3 Hide
    lowguppy , January 29, 2014 5:51 AM
    The 7750 maintains a solid 10% edge over the R7 250, keeping it's crown as the most powerful low-profile, no extra power GPU on the market. With no fab shrinks expected until fall this doesn't look likely to change. Even if the R7 260 matches it in shaders it is unlikely to get much of an edge without adding external power.
  • 1 Hide
    blubbey , January 29, 2014 5:59 AM
    Hopefully with 20nm coming the 7750 and 7770 will be at the 340 and 350 positions respectively. That'd be a massive increase in value.
  • 6 Hide
    cleeve , January 29, 2014 6:40 AM
    Quote:
    Cleeve.... not true:http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_radeon_hd_7750_and_7770_review,7.htmlA stressed 7770 Requires at least a 400W good PSU (Note that 400W DOES NOT mean 400W on the 12V rail, but 400W in total. If you do that math in a 250W supply you get a lot less power on the 12V rail, who knows maybe 170... Also remmber that the GPU needs a fixed amount of power in a defined amount of cables. This means that if the PSU is not good, it wont be able to juice the GPU well enought).


    We were talking about the R7 240, not the 7770. ;) 
  • 7 Hide
    InvalidError , January 29, 2014 6:50 AM
    Quote:
    We were talking about the R7 240, not the 7770. ;) 

    Even the 7770 is only a ~86W card... just barely high enough to require a 6pin PCIe power connection.
  • 2 Hide
    gopher1369 , January 29, 2014 6:51 AM
    @blackmagnum, and how would you do that whilst staying under $100, exactly?
  • 0 Hide
    adbat , January 29, 2014 7:08 AM
    I just wonder why are there no tests at lower resolution? Games look a lot better when they run smooth in lower res with a bit of smoothing then choppy in HD.
  • 4 Hide
    Sakkura , January 29, 2014 7:09 AM
    Quote:
    I just wonder why are there no tests at lower resolution? Games look a lot better when they run smooth in lower res with a bit of smoothing then choppy in HD.

    What? What the heck are you talking about? :pt1cable: 

    Quote:
    Because we want a sense of the entire sub-$100 graphics card market, we're generating two sets of benchmarks. For the first set, we're dropping detail settings and resolutions to the point where very low-cost cards can contend (down to a minimum of 1280x720). The next set is at 1920x1080 at more demanding detail settings.
Display more comments