XFX Radeon R7 240 review

AMD Radeon R7 240 review

We've seen some rather impressive pixel-punchers from AMD over the last few months. The new AMD Radeon R7 240 graphics card, though, is about as lowly as it gets - and consequently comes with a bottom of the barrel-grazing £46 price tag. See also Group test: what's the best graphics card?

On the face of it, such a price tag isn't a great expense. But most of the potential customers of this product will be looking to replace their onboard graphics - which, likely, added next to nothing to the price of the system.

AMD Radeon R7 240 2GB review: Price

Given that it's a choice of spending nothing, or lavishing £46 on a card like this one, the decision over whether to buy suddenly looks more of a dilemma.

So who is such a product aimed at? Well, onboard graphics solutions are now sufficiently impressive that you can find good video reproduction without feeling the need to upgrade. Where integrated graphics solutions do still fall down, though, is gaming.

This AMD Radeon card won't put you in a position to destroy wave after wave of enemies in a top resolution; but it will, as we're going to see, add a significant burst to sluggish onboard frame rates. See all PC Components and Upgrades reviews.

AMD Radeon R7 240 2GB review: Hardware and specs

But first, let's get the big disappointment out of the way. Despite being a new product (at least in theory - these cards have effectively been floating around in OEM form for over a year now), the 240 doesn't get the benefit of the new features appearing on some of AMD's latest launches.

The significant omission is TrueAudio. That's may be a shame, as this feature would better surround sound with some games, and would be a very obvious selling point for those looking to add spice to their system. However, you will get support for Mantle, should AMD’s proprietary new graphics API take off, and DirectX 11.2 support is good.

This XFX version comes with 2 GB of GDDR3 RAM. There is also a 1 GB version, costing £5 less. Sapphire offers its version with 4 GB, which takes the card to the £66 mark. Frankly though, we can't imagine many users needing to push the 240 beyond 2 GB, so the 4 GB version really does seem like overkill.

The core-clock speed goes up to 750 MHz on this overclocked card. That's actually 20 MHz more than the standard-issue R7 240, although all these cards already have a Boost mode that maxes out at 780 MHz.

The XFX is slightly behind other examples on memory-clock speeds, and its figure of 400 MHz (1600 MHz DDR effective) is a notch down on the 450 MHz (1800 MHz) offered by some of the competition.

The 128-bit memory interface is fairly paltry, and doesn't permit the 240 to stretch its pins fully. Combined with the low 1600 MHz clock, the result is a memory bandwidth of 25.6 GB/sec.

The older HD 7770 is similarly hamstrung by its 128-bit interface, although stronger clock speeds do drive it to a better bandwidth figure of 72 GB/sec. The 240's 320 stream processors also struggle against the competition.

It's a diminutive little card, and there is a low-profile version available for more confined cases - the latter card does suffer from a quite hideous cooling system, though. Unsurprisingly given the less than stellar specification, the card is very quiet, even under load.

We mention the HD 7770 because, while it's £20 more expensive, it is a very much superior card; and the R7 250 is around £15-£20 more expensive. Again, there's a marked difference in performance. If £46 is your absolute budget, then clearly those cards will be out of bounds. However, it will be worth the extra if you can find it.

AMD Radeon R7 240 2GB review: Benchmarks

Even at medium and low levels of quality, the R7 240 struggled to get much above 40 fps in our tests. Its 43.2 and 37 fps in Stalker: Call of Pripyat (at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 respectively) are playable rates, but they struggle to compete with 87.0 and 75.8 fps on the HD 7770; or 68.1 and 63.4fps on the R7 250.

Again on BattleForge, the 240 averaged figures of 42.6 and 39.9 fps at those resolutions, while the 7770 managed a much more emphatic 87.0 and 75.8fps, and the R7 250 60.3 and 56.6fps.

Bioshock would hardly be playable on the 240 at normal settings, so we dropped it to low-quality settings. Here, the 240 managed respectable figures of 46.3 and 34.0, but that’s against the 7770's 90.1 and 77.6 fps.

XFX AMD Radeon R7 240: Specs

  • AMD Radeon R7 240
  • 2 GB GDDR3
  • 750 MHz clock (780 MHz Boost)
  • 400 MHz memory clock (1.6 GHz DDR effective)
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 20 texture units
  • PCIe interface
  • DirectX 11.2
  • 1x D-Sub
  • 1x DVI, 1x HDMI
  • no power connectors needed
  • 2-year warranty
  • AMD Radeon R7 240
  • 2 GB GDDR3
  • 750 MHz clock (780 MHz Boost)
  • 400 MHz memory clock (1.6 GHz DDR effective)
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 20 texture units
  • PCIe interface
  • DirectX 11.2
  • 1x D-Sub
  • 1x DVI, 1x HDMI
  • no power connectors needed
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

It is possible to get the 240's figures up to playable figures by really lowering the resolutions and quality settings. Nonetheless, you will get over twice the performance for half as much on the price tag when you buy the 7770. The latter may not be around for much longer. Until that time, it's hard to recommend the 240 at all. It's a respectable step up from onboard graphics. But you can get significantly improved firepower if you just shop around.