Sapphire Radeon R7 240 Boost budget graphics card review

Sapphire Radeon R7 240 Boost budget graphics card review

AMD's Radeon R7 240 Boost budget graphics card is a little behind its nVidia rival in performance, but also a few pounds cheaper. Read our Sapphire Radeon R7 240 Boost graphics card review. (See all budget graphics card reviews.)

The Radeon R7 240 GPU, seen here in this overclocked Sapphire edition, is far more straightforward than the 730. There are 64bit versions of the R7 240, but the 128bit bus-version is overwhelmingly the most popular and widely available. This particular R7 240 is kitted out with 2GB of GDDR3 RAM - more than ample for a card at this price-point. However, GDDR3 is a rather limited form of DDR RAM in comparison with GDDR5. (Also see: How to upgrade your PC's graphics card.)

Whereas GDDR5 can effectively quadruple the basic speed of the memory, GDDR3 has no more than a doubling effect. Both the Sapphire Radeon and the 128bit MSI GT 730 have a standard memory clock speed of 900MHz, which is then doubled by the GDDR3 to produce an 'effective' figure of 1800MHz. The resulting memory bandwidth of 28.8GB/sec suggests that the card will struggle to juggle too much data at once. This product will clearly fare rather better than its 64bit versions, but you're not going to get high-end gaming from any card at this price point. (Also see: What's the best budget graphics card 2015.)

The Radeon R7 240 offers a very respectable core clock speed of 780MHz. This places it some 80MHz ahead of MSI's 128bit GT 730, although it'll have an inferior figure to typical 64bit versions - the Palit GT 730, for instance, comes with a core clock of 902MHz. However, where the R7 240 excels is with the sheer number of texture units, its complement of 20 pushing it ahead of the 16 of the GT 730. The number of these units is crucial when it comes to texture fill rates, and the Radeon R7 240's rate of 15.6GT/sec is very much superior to the MSI GT 730's 11.2GT/sec. Even that Palit GT 730, with its high core clock, trails the Radeon by 1.2GT/sec.

With 320 stream processors, the Radeon has 64 fewer than the 730 GT. AMD architecture tends to lead to more rather than fewer stream processors, so this is a surprise. Otherwise, though, the cards are rather similar. The R7 240 has three ports - one each of DVI, HDMI, and VGA - and doesn't require an extra connector from the PSU. It's marginally lower on power than the 730, although there was rarely more than five watts behind the cards during testing. It's a very discreet card, too, with little fan or cooling noise. (Also see: What's the best graphics card 2015.)

Sapphire Radeon R7 240 Boost: Specs

  • AMD Radeon R7 240
  • 2GB GDDR3 RAM
  • 28nm manufacturing process
  • 780MHz core clock
  • 900MHz memory clock (1800MHz DDR effective)
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 28.8GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 320 stream processors
  • 20 texture units
  • 8 ROPs
  • 15.6GT/s texture fillrate
  • 1x DVI
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x VGA
  • 30W TDP
  • 2-year warranty
  • AMD Radeon R7 240
  • 2GB GDDR3 RAM
  • 28nm manufacturing process
  • 780MHz core clock
  • 900MHz memory clock (1800MHz DDR effective)
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 28.8GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 320 stream processors
  • 20 texture units
  • 8 ROPs
  • 15.6GT/s texture fillrate
  • 1x DVI
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x VGA
  • 30W TDP
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The R7 240 is marginally inferior to the MSI GT 730 on game frame-rates, but it's generally very close, with the lead generally exceeding around 2.2fps. Like the GT 730, though, the R7 240 will struggle at resolutions of 1680x1050 and above. For any kind of gaming, the R7 240 is probably a card you need to set your sights higher than.