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NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 Roundup (EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, Sparkle)

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Conclusions (EVGA & Gigabyte)

Conclusion


The NVIDIA GT 240 512MB was originally released without much pomp or even retail marketing for that matter but it represents several advances that make it stand out even against tough competition from ATI. With the switch to the much-maligned 40nm manufacturing process, this card is actually quite efficient and provides performance that outstrips the similarly-priced HD 5570 with relative ease. However, the GT 240 1GB does have a bit harder time of things especially considering its price.

These aspects also allow the GT 240 512MB to be one of the best cards out there for consumers who want a low-cost, low noise GPUGU card as our Folding@Home numbers showed. In terms of HTPC functionality it is slightly behind the ATI cards with their capability for Dolby TrueHD and Master Audio but for the majority of users, the formats supported by the GT 240 (DTS and company) will do just fine. We actually think too many people have forgotten that the GT 240 exists at an extremely competitive price point and in the end, DX11 is just marketing mumbo jumbo on sub-$100 cards.

We’ll be the first to admit that the GT 240 series won’t win any awards for blazing a new trail in the GPU market but it does get the job done for consumers who are actively watching how much they spend. Unfortunately, as this roundup showed; there aren’t many distinctive GT 240 cards currently on the market. The only thing that really distinguishes one from the next is the cooling solution chosen rather than anything interesting in the way of clock speeds.


EVGA GT 240 Superclocked

EVGA has always won awards around these parts because of their high quality products that are backed up by a lifetime warranty. While the GT 240 Superclocked version has looks great and presents itself with increased memory clocks, it makes do with a distinctively short warranty of two years. This lack of warranty length will probably be a non-issue to most users but coming from a company like EVGA that prided itself on their lifetime warranties, it is a major disappointment.

As for the card itself, the higher than stock memory speeds do give it an edge when compared to a reference card and it is also good to see a sleek single slot cooler that performs extremely well. Unfortunately, the actual clock speeds are nowhere near what its “Superclocked” designation would lead you to believe. There is however a lot to like about this card, especially if you can find it during an instant rebate sale but there just isn’t enough here to win it any awards in this roundup.



Gigabyte GT 240 512MB

Gigabyte’s GT 240 512MB is simply a dolled up GT 240 that doesn’t provide increased performance or anything unique for that matter other than its disproportionately large cooler. Considering its size, this heatsink provided disappointing performance when compared to the smaller examples in this roundup. That being said, this card is one of the quietest in this roundup while retailing for (at the time of writing) about 10% less than the competition. If you can put up with the large, somewhat cheap looking heatsink, Gigabyte’s GT 240 512MB represents an extremely good value for your money and as such wins our Dam Good Value award. Just try to ignore its horrendous looking heatsink shroud.

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Gigabyte GT 240 1GB

The 1GB product from Gigabyte is actually an interesting card simply because it uses an overclocked core even though its name doesn’t allude to any increased clock speeds. Granted, a 50Mhz bump isn’t anything to write home about but it does push performance above a reference-based 1GB card. The main problem however is its price / performance ratio since you end up paying more than a higher performing 512MB GT 240 simply for the bragging rights associated with 1GB of memory .

The defining feature of Gigabyte’s GT 240 1GB is a wickedly huge heatsink. That amazingly cheap-looking cooler sitting atop its PCB may end up on the butt-end of jokes yet it cools down the core like no one’s business. This is unfortunately the only real saving grace for this product (and 1GB GT 240s in general) considering we feel its price premium is totally unjustified.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Conclusions (MSI & Sparkle)

Conclusions



MSI GT 240 OC Edition

MSI’s GT 240 proved to be a breath of fresh air throughout testing simply because it combines the best of every world into a product that deserves a place at the head of this roundup. It won’t wow anyone with its overall speed simply because its clocks are identical to those of the EVGA Superclocked version but it can overclock quite well when compared to other cards in this roundup. However, your results may vary when it comes to overclocking though.

We know some people will likely decry the use of a dual slot cooler and its accompanying backplate but at least we get some extremely good temperatures and a low acoustical profile out of it. The only real issue we have with this card is its availability here in Canada but south of the border, things look a bit better. With a near-perfect combination of performance, cooling prowess and near-silence, the MSI GT 240 OC Edition receives our Dam Good Award.

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Sparkle GT 240 512MB

Much like the Gigabyte GT 240 512MB, Sparkle’s card is nothing more than a references design with one lone difference: a custom heatsink. This heatsink works quite well considering its diminutive size and operates at surprisingly low decibel levels. Performance is about what you would expect but overclocking with this card is poor to say the least.

As we said throughout the review, Sparkle is anything but a household name among North American gamers but they are working hard to make inroads into this market. With the addition of some highly custom GT 240 designs which were released too late to be included in this roundup, it looks like they are well on their way. However, we would advise expanding their distributor network as their cards are still a bit hard to find.



Sparkle GT 240 1GB

What can we say? This is unfortunately the least appealing of the cards we tested for this roundup simply because of the inherent poor performance of the 1GB GT 240 cards coupled with their needlessly high pricing. Sparkle does make this card slightly more palatable with the inclusion of a reasonably good single slot heatsink but when push comes to shove, that’s the only thing it has going for it.

It’s not all doom and gloom though since we’ve seen this card retailing for substantially less than its current $110 CAD price tag. If you can find it for less than the 512MB version’s $94.99 price tag, it could become a perfectly acceptable purchase.



 
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