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

The Sub-$100 Graphics Card Market

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 DDR3Radeon R7 240Radeon HD 6670Radeon HD 7730Radeon R7 250Radeon HD 7750 GDDR5Radeon HD 7770
ShaderCores96 (Fermi)384(Kepler)320(GCN)480(VLIW5)384 (GCN)384 (GCN)512(GCN)640(GCN)
TextureUnits1632202424243240
ColorROPs41688881616
FabProcess40 nm28 nm28 nm40 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm
Core(Boost)Clock900 MHz900 MHz730(780) MHz800 MHz800 MHz1000(1050)MHz800 MHz1000 MHz
MemoryClock900 MHz DDR3891 MHz DDR3900 MHz DDR3900 MHzDDR3 orGDDR5900 MHzDDR31125 MHz GDDR5900 MHz DDR3 1150 MHz GDDR51125 MHz GDDR51125 MHz GDDR5
MemoryBus128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit128-bit
MemoryBandwidth28.8 GB/s DDR328.5 GB/s DDR328.8 GB/s28.8 GB/s DDR3 64 GB/s GDDR528.8 GB/s DDR372 GB/s GDDR528.8 GB/s DDR373.6 GB/s GDDR572 GB/s72 GB/s
TDP65 W65 W30 W44 W DDR360 W GDDR547 W60 W55 W80 W
NeweggPriceRange$65$60to$120$70to$90$70-$102 DDR3$80-$125 GDDR5$80to$125(Amazon)$87to$103$100to$137$100to$170
TypicalPrice$65$80$70$80DDR3$90GDDR5NA$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.