Sapphire Radeon R7 250X budget graphics card review

Sapphire Radeon R7 250X budget graphics card review

Sapphire's Radeon R7 250X budget graphics card is the best value graphics card you'll find today. Read our Sapphire Radeon R7 250X review. (See all budget graphics card reviews.)

£65 may not be enough to get you a top performer. But for that price you can expect a product that isn't ferociously cutting corners in every department. Indeed, in terms of figures, a product like the R7 250X seems to offer a bounty of primped and primed specs, effortlessly batting away even the similarly-priced Asus GeForce GT 740 OC. As with the 740, the RAM is of the GDDR5 variety, so it has the technology to make the most of some enhanced clock speeds. In fact, the R7 250X doesn't match the soaring clocks of the 740 OC, its memory speed topping out at 1125MHz - some 125MHz down on the 740 OC's. Take into account the quadrupling capabilities of GDDR5, and the 250X has an effective rate of 4.5GHz - half a gigahertz down on the 740 OC's 5GHz. That results in the R7 250X having a slightly inferior memory bandwidth of 72GB/sec - eight down on the 80GB/sec of the 740. (Also see: How to upgrade your PC's graphics card.)

Both the 740 OC and R7 250X have the same 128bit bus, but nowadays you'll have to push your bank to considerably higher heights if you want more than 128bit - none of the sub-£100 cards can better that. Both products are also landed with just 1GB of memory, which might concern some users. The extent to which you'd make use of the extra 1GB at this level of gaming is highly arguable. However, if there's one aspect of these cards we'd like to hike if possible, it's the amount of RAM. (Also see: What's the best budget graphics card 2015.)

These £65 cards can also deliver more textures. The Sapphire Radeon R7 250X lost out to the 740 on memory clocks, and it also trails when it comes to core clocks - offering 950MHz in reply to the 740's healthy 1033MHz. But here, at least, the Radeon R7 250X can fight back. That's because it comes with 40 texture units rather than the 32 of the 740. The superior quantity of texture units means that the 250X overtakes its rival when it comes to the overall texture fill rate - scoring 38GT/sec against the 740 OC's 33.1GT/sec - despite the 740 having a better clock rate. The £45 models, in contrast, produce paltry figures between 11.2GT/sec and 15.6GT/sec - much of this difference can be attributed to the £45 cards having far fewer texture units.

The 250X strikes another victory on stream processors, its 640 far outnumbering the 384 of the GT 740 OC. We expect Radeon GPUs to have more stream processors, and that doesn't always translate into superior performance. However, it's worth bearing in mind. The two cards are rather more equal in terms of ports and connectors, although the 250X's DisplayPort outlet gives it more versatility. The 250X does put out considerably more power, offering a TDP of 95 watts against the GeForce GT 740 OC's 60 watts. The actual difference between the two was around 20 watts, but if power output is a concern, the 740 will be a slightly better choice. (Also see: What's the best graphics card 2015.)

Sapphire Radeon R7 250X: Specs

  • AMD Radeon R7 250X
  • 1GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 28nm manufacturing process
  • 950MHz core clock
  • 1125MHz memory clock
  • 4500MHz DDR effective
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 72GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 640 stream processors
  • 40 texture units
  • 16 ROPs
  • 38GT/s texture fillrate
  • 1x DVI
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x DP
  • 1x 6-pin power connector required
  • 95W TDP
  • 2-year warranty
  • AMD Radeon R7 250X
  • 1GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 28nm manufacturing process
  • 950MHz core clock
  • 1125MHz memory clock
  • 4500MHz DDR effective
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 72GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 640 stream processors
  • 40 texture units
  • 16 ROPs
  • 38GT/s texture fillrate
  • 1x DVI
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x DP
  • 1x 6-pin power connector required
  • 95W TDP
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The R7 250X is a breath of fresh air compared to the cheap £45+ products. At a resolution of 1680x1050, it can effortlessly shatter the 30fps mark. Crucially, it's never far away from the 50fps mark. If you're getting close to 50fps, you should be having a very comfortable playing experience. The 250X is the fastest card at this price point, thanks mainly to its superior texture handling, and generally finishes ahead of the GT 740 by around 4-5fps. Pound for pound, it offers the best value of all the budget graphics cards we've reviewed.