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

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.