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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

GeForce GT 240 is one of the mainstream video processors from NVIDIA and today we are going to review NGT240-512QI-F, which is a video card from ECS based on this chip with 512 MB GDDR5 running at stock clock settings and coming with a GPU cooler from Arctic Cooling.

This video card is quoted around USD 85-USD 90, which puts it exactly between Radeon HD 5570 (USD 85) and Radeon HD 5670 (USD 95). At this price range you can also find “older” video cards like GeForce 9600 GT (USD 90), GeForce 9800 GT (USD 95) and Radeon HD 4670 (USD 95).

In this review we will compare this GeForce GT 240 to Radeon HD 5570, Radeon HD 5670 and GeForce 9800 GT in order to answer two simple questions: is this video card better than Radeon HD 5570? Is it better to spend USD 5 more and get a Radeon HD 5670?

In the table below we compare the main specifications from the video cards we included in our review. As you can see, Radeon HD 5670 is basically a Radeon HD 5570 running at a higher clock rate and using a faster memory (GDDR5 instead of GDDR3). As you can see AMD-based models have as an advantage having more processors (“shader units”) and supporting DirectX 11, while on NVIDIA-based models the shader processors run at a higher clock rate (the second number under “core clock”). All cards reviewed were running at the chip manufacturer’s default configuration (i.e., no factory overclocking).

Video Card Core Clock Memory Clock (Real) Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Shaders DirectX
HIS Radeon HD 5570 650 MHz 900 MHz 1.8 GHz 128-bit 28.8 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 400 11
HIS Radeon HD 5670 775 MHz 1 GHz 4 GHz 128-bit 64 GB/s 512 MB GDDR5 400 11
ECS GeForce GT 240 550 MHz / 1.34 GHz 850 MHz 3.4 GHz 128-bit 54.4 GB/s 512 MB GDDR5 96 10.1
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 600 MHz / 1.5 GHz 900 MHz 1.8 GHz 256-bit 57.6 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 112 10

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table and NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table tutorials.

Now let’s take a complete look at this model from ECS.

[nextpage title=”ECS NGT240-512QI-F”]

ECS has nothing less than four different video cards based on GeForce GT 240. The one we are reviewing, NGT240-512QI-F, comes with 512 MB GDDR5, while the other three come with 1 GB DDR3 running at a lower effective clock rate (2 GHz vs. 3.4 GHz on the reviewed model, which translates into a 32 GB/s maximum theoretical transfer rate against 54.4 GB/s on the reviewed model). All four come with the same cooling solution from Arctic Cooling.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 1: ECS NGT240-512QI-F.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 2: ECS NGT240-512QI-F.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 3: ECS NGT240-512QI-F.

As you can see this video card has three outputs: VGA, HDMI and DVI-D, with the VGA and the HDMI outputs coming with plastic caps on them. Finally the manufacturers are dropping the S-Video connector and installing an HDMI output instead!

[nextpage title=”ECS NGT240-512QI-F (Cont’d)”]

The active heatsink that comes with this video card is definitely the highlight from this product. Kudos to ECS for picking a nice cooling solution from Arctic Cooling, based on their Accelero L2 Pro. The cooler, however, doesn’t touch the memory chips, as you can see in Figure 4.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 4: Cooler doesn’t touch the memory chips.

In Figure 5, you can see the video card with the heatsink removed, and we were surprised to see only solid capacitors and ferrite chokes, giving this card a top-notch component quality.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 5: Video card with heatsink removed.

The reviewed card uses four 1 Gbit GDDR5 chips, making its 512 MB video memory. The chips used are K4G10325FE-HC05 parts from Samsung, which support up to 1 GHz (4 GHz QDR) and since on this video card memory is accessed at 850 MHz (3.4 GHz QDR), there is a outstanding margin for you to increase the memory clock rate keeping the chips inside the maximum they support.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 6: Memory chip.

In Figure 7, you can see the accessories that come with the reviewed card: a generic manual and a driver CD.

ECS NGT240-512QI-F GeForce GT 240Figure 7: Accessories.

Before seeing the performance results, let’s recap the main features of this video card.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

ECS NGT240-512QI-F main features are:

  • Graphics chip: NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 running at 550 MHz (1.34 GHz for shader units).
  • Memory: 512 MB GDDR5 memory (128-bit interface) from Samsung (K4G10325FE-HC05), running at 850 MHz (“3.4 GHz”).
  • Bus type: PCI Express x16 2.0.
  • Connectors: One VGA, one DVI-D and one HDMI.
  • Video Capture (VIVO): No.
  • Cables and adapters that come with this board: None
    .
  • Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: One.
  • Games that come with this board: None.
  • Programs that come with this board: None.
  • More information: https://www.ecsusa.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 84.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Video resolution: 2560×1600 @ 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • Intel Inf driver version: 9.1.1.1019
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 10.3
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 196.27

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”3DMark Vantage Professional”]

3DMark Vantage measures Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supports PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Note that since we are considering only the GPU score provided by this program, physics calculations are not taken into account.

We ran this program under two 16:10 widescreen resolutions: 1680×1050 and 1920×1200, first using the “Entry” profile, which basically disables all kinds of video enhancements, and then using the “Performance” profile. The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

Radeon HD 5570 
3DMark Vantage – Entry 1680×1050 Difference
Radeon HD 5670

13555

15.0%
GeForce 9800 GT

13519

14.7%
GeForce GT 240

11789

 
Radeon HD 5570 10304 14.4%

Radeon HD 5570

3DMark Vantage – Entry 1920×1200 Difference
Radeon HD 5670

10880

16.5%
GeForce 9800 GT

10823

15.9%
GeForce GT 240

9341

 
Radeon HD 5570

8223

13.6%

Radeon HD 5570

3DMark Vantage – Performance 1680×1050 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT

4104

22.5%
Radeon HD 5670

4048

20.8%
GeForce GT 240

3350

 
Radeon HD 5570

2773

20.8%

Radeon HD 5570

3DMark Vantage – Performance 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT

3173

21.4%
Radeon HD 5670

3143

20.2%
GeForce GT 240

2614

 
Radeon HD 5570

2114

23.7%

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty 4″]

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will hapen
to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

We ran this game under two 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050 and 1920×1200, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was put on the maximum values on the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the game internal benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo for downloading here if you want to run your own benchmarks. We ran the demo five times, and the results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each video card.

Radeon HD 5570
Call of Duty 4 – Maximum 1680×1050 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 70.7 26.1%
GeForce GT 240 56.0  
Radeon HD 5670 54.6 2.6%
Radeon HD 5570 36.8 52.4%
Radeon HD 5570
Call of Duty 4 – Maximum 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 59.4 19.3%
GeForce GT 240 49.8  
Radeon HD 5670 45.5 9.5%
Radeon HD 5570 30.3 64.4%

 

[nextpage title=”Crysis Warhead”]

Crysis Warhead is a DirectX 10 game based on the same engine as the original Crysis, but optimized (it runs under DirectX 9.0c when installed on Windows XP). We ran this game under two 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050 and 1920×1200, setting image quality to its lowest possible values, using the Airfield demo. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.

Radeon HD 5570
Crysis Warhead – Low 1680×1050 Difference
Radeon HD 5670

78

41.8%
Radeon HD 5570

73

32.7%
GeForce GT 240

55

 
GeForce 9800 GT

54

1.9%
Radeon HD 5570
Crysis Warhead – Low 1920×1200 Difference
Radeon HD 5670

78

41.8%
Radeon HD 5570

73

32.7%
GeForce GT 240

55

 
GeForce 9800 GT

54

1.9%

[nextpage title=”Fallout 3″]

Fallout 3 is based on the same engine used by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and it is a DirectX 9.0c (Shader 3.0) game. We configured the game with “ultra” image quality settings, maxing out all image quality settings, at two 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050 and 1920×1200. To measure performance, we used the FRAPS utility running an outdoor scene at God mode, running through enemy fire, triggering post processing effects, and ending with a big explosion in front of Dupont Circle.

Radeon HD 5570
Fallout 3 – Ultra 1680×1050 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 54.5 11.3%
Radeon HD 5670 51.0 4.0%
GeForce GT 240 49.0  
Radeon HD 5570 38.8 26.3%

Radeon HD 5570

Fallout 3 – Ultra 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 50.4 17.6%
Radeon HD 5670 47.7 11.4%
GeForce GT 240 42.8  
Radeon HD 5570 33.1 29.3%

[nextpage title=”Far Cry 2″]

Far Cry 2 is based on an entirely new game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10 when played under Windows 7 or Vista with a DirectX 10-compatible video card. We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game, setting image quality to the minimum allowed and running the “Ranch Long” demo three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

Radeon HD 5570

FarCry 2 – Minimum 1680×1050 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 41.7 2.6%
GeForce GT 240 40.6  
Radeon HD 5670 33.4 21.5%
Radeon HD 5570 29.6 37.1%

Radeon HD 5570

< tr>

FarCry 2 – Minimum 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 42.8 19.9%
GeForce GT 240 35.7  
Radeon HD 5670 31.9 12.1%
Radeon HD 5570 28.9 23.8%

[nextpage title=”Unigine Tropics”]

Unigine is a 3D engine used by some games and simulations. The developer provides two demos for this engine, Tropics and Sanctuary. We ran the Tropics benchmarking module under DirectX 9 mode at full screen with image quality settings maxed out. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.

Radeon HD 5570

Tropics – Maximum 1680×1050 Difference
Radeon HD 5670 23.8 66.4%
GeForce 9800 GT 21.7 51.7%
Radeon HD 5570 16.8 17.5%
GeForce GT 240 14.3  

Radeon HD 5570

Tropics – Maximum 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce 9800 GT 17.5 59.1%
Radeon HD 5670 14.5 31.8%
Radeon HD 5570 14.2  29.1%
GeForce GT 240 11.0  

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Against Radeon HD 5570, GeForce GT 240 is a no-brainer. From the six games and simulations we ran, GeForce GT 240 was better than Radeon HD 5570 in four of them. If the difference was small, we could say that they are “equal competitors,” but this is not the case: GeForce GT 240 was between 14% and 64% faster than Radeon HD 5570 on these games and simulations, depending on the resolution and image quality settings.

On the other hand, Radeon HD 5570 was faster than GeForce GT 240 on Crysis Warhead (33%) and on the Tropics simulation (between 17% and 29%). So it may exist other games that Radeon HD 5570 is a better product, but at least based on our results we would simply forget Radeon HD 5570 and buy GeForce GT 240.

Radeon HD 5670, however, presents a tough competition to GeForce GT 240: from the six games and simulations we ran, Radeon HD 5670 was faster in five of them, between 4% and 66.4%, depending on the program and video configuration. Costing, on average, only USD 5 more than GeForce GT 240, Radeon HD 5670 is definitely our pick today for a video card on the USD 85 – USD 95 price range.

There is one detail, though. ECS NGT240-512QI-F can be found at Newegg.com for USD 84 with a USD 20 mail-in rebate. If you can get this rebate this video card will cost you only USD 64, making it a terrific pick. If you can get this video card for this price, buy it. Otherwise get a Radeon HD 5670 instead.

And, of course, we have to mention that we liked that ECS added a cooler from Arctic Cooling on this video card.

Important: there are several different GeForce GT 240 models on the market, with different hardware configurations. We are talking about the GDDR5 model (see table on first page).