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Appeared on: Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Gainward GT240


1. Features, specifications

After the launch of the 40nm GT210/GT220 series, Gainward released the Gainward GT 240 series of graphics card, featuring with 1 GB of DDR3 memory. The new card promises to offer even higher performance than the GT210/GT220 solutions. As always, Gainward releases improved versions of Nvidia's reference designs and the GT 240 series we have in our hands is "Golden Sample" featuring increased memory and core clocks.

Below is a comparison among various Nvidia-based products and their retail prices as they are found in online stores:

GeForce
GT 220
Radeon
HD 4670
GeForce
GT 240
Gainward
GT 240
GeForce
9600 GT
GeForce
9800 GT
Shader units
48
320
96
96
64
112
ROPs
8
8
8
8
16
16
GPU
GT216
RV730
GT215
GT215
G94
G92
Transistors
486M
512M
727M
727M
505M
754M
Memory Size
512 MB /
1024 MB
512 MB
512 MB /
1024 MB
1024 MB
512 MB
512 MB
Memory Bus Width
128 bit
128 bit
128 bit
128 bit
256 bit
256 bit
Core Clock
625 MHz
750 MHz
550 MHz
585 MHz
650 MHz
600 MHz
Memory Clock
790 MHz /
1012 MHz
1000 MHz
1700 MHz /
1000 MHz
1890 MHz
900 MHz
900 MHz
Price
$69 - $79
$67
$99
$150
$80
$90

- Retail package

The Gainward GT 240 is packaged in a small box compared to other graphics cards.Of course there is no need to use a larger box since the card's board is rather small.

Gainward's card retails for around €129 (including VAT), which is almost twice the price of a Gainward GT220 card.

The package is easily identified with a light green color and the the GT 240/1024 GDDR5 and Golden Sample logos on it:

As we see with the most of the samples we test, the graphics card is well-packaged into an anti-static bag. Other than the card, the box includes an installation kit and a CD-ROM with drivers and software. These is the typical bundle for a low-priced graphics card so don't expect to find any extra games or connectors here:

As you may notice, there are similarities between the board of the GT 240 and the one met with the GT 220 series. However, the GT 240 has a much bigger cooler covering the GPU area. In addition, the GT 240 will occupy two empty slots at the back of your PC, but fortunately not any external power supply due to its 40nm design.

The Gainward GT 240 comes with a VGA, an HDMI and a DVI-D output, making it a truly universal product for most of the users.

After installation and according to the GPU-Z utility, the card's GPU core runs at 585MHz, the memory is clocked at 1890MHz and Shaders at 1424MHz:


2. Testing platform

All the test were conducted using the following PC setup:

Many games and applications were used for the evaluation of the performance of each graphics card. In addition we used the FRAPS software to measure the in-game performance when needed.

DirectX 9

DirectX10


3. Testbed DirectX9/DirectX10
- Testbed DirectX9

For all the tests we used the default settings of the 3DMark05 software as you can see below:

Again we left all the settings to default:

- Testbed DirectX10

We used the three built- in benchmarks to test the performance of each graphics card. We measured the performances at various resolutions using the "Performance" and up to the "Extreme" settings.

We used the built-in benchmark with all the graphics detail settings maxed out.

We used the hocbench Crysis benchmark tool at the resolutions of 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and finally 1920x1200. We run the benchmark software with "High" and "Very High" details enabled in order to identify the optimum settings for a decent game play.

We used the FRAMEBuffer benchmark tool at 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and finally at 1920x1200. All the possible quality levels were set in order to get an idea of what each graphics card can offer.

We used the built-in benchmarking utility and maxed out all visual details, under both DX9/DX10 and settings up to 16x AA/16x AF.


4. Benchmarks - FutureMark Hall Of Fame

The Futuremark benchmarks have been highly discussed among gamers and reviewers. For your information we post the results from 3DMark 05, 3DMark 06 and of course the latest 3DMark Vantage benchmarking software, which give you a rough idea of the performance of each graphics card.

As you can see below, the Gainward GT 240 has much more power than its smaller brothers, the GT210 and the GT220 series:

The 3DMark 06 also confirmed the previous findings with the we GT 240 to score much higher than the GT 220 series:

The 3DMark Vantage offers a a clearer view of the card's performance at various resolutions. The Gainward GT 240 proved to be more powerful than the 9600GT series here and is also competitive with much higher-priced graphics cards. Later on, real life gaming will unveil more on the card's strengths:


5. Benchmarks - Crysis (DirectX10)

Let's move on with the very demanding "Crysis" game. The most other tested graphics cards offered acceptable frame rates at 1280x1024 (high quality settings) and fortunately this also applies to the Gainward GT 240 sample. The card gave an average FPS of 29.0 ( High details) outperforming many other graphics cards:

Enabling the "very high quality" settings and pushing up the resolution isn't a great idea but anyway the below scores are available for your consideration:


6. Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead (DirectX9, DirectX10), S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark
- Crysis Warhead (DirectX9, DirectX10)

This is another version of the popular Crysis game, the "Crysis Warhead". Compared to the original game, Crysis Warhead features many visual improvements in both DirectX9 and DirectX10 rendering modes. Below are the test results we wrote down for various resolutions with the anti-aliasing feature disabled.

The Gainward GT 240 will not let you down as soon as you set the quality settings not any higher than the "Mainstream" level. Both "Gamer" and "Enthusiast" levels should be avoided in order to have a decent gameplay.

- S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat Benchmark

The "Call of Pripyat" benchmark is freely available for everyone in order to have an idea of the visuals of the upcoming game and also test your system with the game and share your score online with other users. We used the highest detail settings under DX10 and a resolution of 1920x1200. The results are very encouraging for the the Day/Night/Rain scenarios but on the other hand, the performance of the Gainward GT240 card is low at the SunShaft preset. Probably reducing the quality settings as well as the and resolution would give higher FPS:


7. Benchmarks - Company Of Heroes v1.71 (DirectX 10)

Company Of Heroes is a popular action/strategy game with many fans around the world. The game it was the first ever to utilize the DirectX10 and the game physics are very impressive. We maxed out all the visual details and the built-in benchmark provided the in-game FPS for each card.

The Gainward GT 240 performed pretty well in this game, at least for a mid-priced card. Still, it is more powerful than an Nvidia 9600GT card:


8. Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 (DirectX 9/10), Left4Dead (DirectX 9), StreetFighter IV (DirectX 9)

- Far Cry 2 (DirectX 9/10)

Far Cry 2 is one of the hottest game titles right now. The game supports both DirectX 9 and DirectX10 and its graphics engine is much lighter than the one used by the "Crysis" game title. As a result, most of the graphics cards graphic cards perform very well even at 1920x1200 with 16xAA/16xAF enabled.

At 1280x1024, Gainward's card performed very well no matter if we set the visual details to the "Ultra High" Increasing the resolution has a performance penalty as the resolutions increase. The DX10 makes it even more difficult for the GT240 to keep up with the requirements:

- Left4Dead (DirectX 9)

With the Left4Dead gaming title we used a custom timedemo and measured the performance of the graphics card using the the embedded console, for resolutions up to 1920x1200 with 16xAF enabled. and maximized all visual settings. The Gainward GT 240 gave a good performance, slightly lower than the 9800GT solution.

- StreetFighter IV (DirectX 9)

Here are two more benchmarks from the Streetfighter IV and the Unigine benchmark demonstrating the performance of the card in test.

 


9. Benchmarks - Half Life 2 Episode 2 (DirectX 9)

Half Life 2 is a first person shooter game that everybody has played and loved. The Episode 2 of the game features several image quality improvements and hopefully all tested cards perform pretty well. We enabled the 4xAA and 16AF.

The Gainward GT240 card gave an adequate score, closely to the performance of the 9600GT card.


10. CUDA Compatibily, Overclocking

The Gainward GT240 support's Nvidia's CUDA technology, which can accelerate various tasks under an appropriate software environment. For example, CUDA could offload the CPU of a system during video playback or encoding. Here we used the CyberLink PowerDVD 9 software, which is compatible with CUDA.

As you can see below, enabling the hardware acceleration significantly drops the utilization of the CPU:

The CPU usage dropped down to 1%, meaning that all the rendering load passed to the GPU leaving our CPU free to deal with other tasks. Low-powered systems (i.e. Intel Atom) would be highly benefited from such a help. CUDA could also help a lot with applications such as Adobe's Photoshop, TMPGEnc etc...

- Overclocking

Let's now see the overclocking limit of the 40nm Gainward GT240. Since Rivatuner didn't support the card out-of-the-box, we used Nvidia's own OC tuner.

The Gainward GT 240 operated with great stability with 674MHz/1995MHz/1701MHz for core, memory and shaders, respectively.

It is also possible to get an even higher performance if you set the card's fan speed to 100%. We got a somewhat better result here but not high enough to justify the emitted noise:


11. Conclusion

The Gainward GT 240 Golden Sample is a new proposal for higher 3D performance compared to the already introduced GT210/GT220 series. Gainward got the generic Nvidia board and added some additional 512MB of GDDR5 memory reaching a total of 1024MB. This increase gave a wider overclocking margin, as it was confirmed in our tests.

Passing to the raw performance numbers, we can safely say that this card is faster from the GT210/GT220 series as well as the previous generation Nvidia 9600GT cards. However it remains slower than other graphics cards that would cost you slightly more. This seems to be the biggest "problem" of the GT 240 series.

Listing more positive for this card, we can say that it doesn't need any external power but it will occupy two empty slots at the back of your PC, due to its large GPU cooler. The support for the CUDA technology is definitely a plus.

The GT240 series faces the strong competition from other Nvidia-based products (9800GT) as well as from ATI's newest series (HD5750) at the €110~120Euro price range. A look around the stores for the best price could be a good choice before making a purchasing decision.



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