Conclusion

In wrapping things up, perhaps it’s best if we start off with the most positive news. Asus and EVGA have been able to take NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 240 and make from it some of the coolest and quietest cards we have ever tested. The Asus GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 in particular has the best balance of noise and GPU temperatures that we have ever seen, and if you don’t mind a double-wide card it’s for all practical purposes a well-cooled passively-cooled card – it’s that quiet.

Meanwhile the EVGA GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 Superclock not only does a good job of fitting the GT 240 in to a single-slot design, but it showcases the strong overclocking potential of the GT 240 GPU. Its only shame is that for a factory-overclocked card it really isn’t a notable overclock, thanks to the fact that EVGA is trapped by the 75W power ceiling for a PCIe card without secondary power plugs.

And that’s really all of the good news that there is.

I hesitate to call the GT 240 a “bad” GPU – neither NVIDIA or AMD have made a truly bad product in a number of years. Every product has its place if NVIDIA, AMD, and their partners can find it and put it there. However the DDR3-based GT 240s get quite close to this mark with their poor performance compared to their equally-priced GDDR5-based counterparts, and for that reason we must suggest to avoid the DDR3 GT 240 at all costs. If you have to get a GT 240, then get one with GDDR5, as the performance difference is simply too much to ignore.

Ultimately, NVIDIA and their partners repeated the GT 220 launch, having failed to find the right place for the GT 240 in the consumer market. As a result even for well-designed cards like the Asus and EVGA cards, they’re just not desirable cards worth purchasing at these prices.

The root of the problem is that NVIDIA has built other, better cards. Performance-wise the GT 240 is a fair replacement for the 9600 GT, a card that it trades blows with most of the time. It’s not any better in performance than the 9600 GT and the DX10.1 and VP4 video decode functionality are of very limited use, but if the 9600 GT were to disappear from the market and be replaced by the GT 240 at a lower price-point, I don’t think anyone would complain.

But with an MSRP of $99, that’s not what the GT 240 competes with. $99 is solidly in 9800 GT territory, with deals regularly bringing even top-tier manufacturers’ cards down to as low as $79. So even if you throw a rebate on a GT 240 card (we found the Asus for $85 after rebate), you’re still competing with 9800 GT cards. The GT 240 is no match for the 9800 GT when it comes to performance, so to price it at the same point is a mistake.

Worse yet for the GT 240 are the so-called “green” 9800 GTs. These cards are clocked slightly lower than a regular 9800 GT (550/1375/1800 versus 600/1500/1800), but in return their power consumption is low enough that they can forgo the PCIe power connector. There goes the GT 240’s power advantage, and such a 9800 GT is still going to be faster than the GT 240.

In some ways NVIDIA is a victim of their own success here. The G92(b) chip that the heart of the 9800 and GTS 250 series is an extremely popular chip that has sold well for over 2 years now, and there are no signs of that stopping in the near future. Unlike the GT200 chip found in the GTX200 series, the G92b has not yet been discontinued, so it’s going to continue to butt heads with the GT 240.

Like the GT 220, the GT 240 is a card that is going to be a card that only OEMs could love. It’s going to nicely fill out their spec sheets but it’s not going to bring lower prices or better performance to consumers.

For the price of the GT 240 it performs too slowly, and for the performance of the GT 240 it costs too much. We cannot under any circumstances recommend buying a GT 240, there are simply better cards out there for the price.

Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • BernardP - Thursday, January 07, 2010 - link

    Despite the fact that it *is* overpriced, I bought the Asus GT240 DDR5. Why? It fits in my small case while the "green" 9600GT and 9800GT don't. It has "good enough" performance for the light gamer that I am. It is a well-balanced match with my Athlon 64 X2 5400+. I'm staying with my current build and Win XP for the next 2 years, so DX10 or DX11 is not important. It's a near-silent HTPC card, my main use. I favor NVidia drivers, especially their ability to create and scale custom resolutions. Why has ATI still not included this feature in their catalyst driver? I don't want to fiddle with PowerStrip.

    With a bit of fine tuning of the fan speed profile in the Asus SmartDoctor utility, I'm able to keep GPU temps below 56 deg. Celcius while gaming, with little added noise. At idle, the card temp is hovering around 33-34 deg.

    Overall, I am very satisfied with my Asus GT240 GDDR5
    Reply
  • knowom - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    I really like the low power, heat, and noise on the GT 240 a good fanless one would make a excellent HTPC/DAW candidate. A follow up review underclocking it and comparing it against a 9600GT and a bunch of integrated graphics and perhaps I5 as well. Reply
  • philologos - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    I have an aging Dell Dimension E510, for which I bought a Zotac GT240 512MB GDDR5 AMP! edition. I needed a single slot card with very little height, and I also was wary of using the 6-pin connector from my Dynex (aka Be$t Buy) 400w PSU. I really wanted a 5770, but the coolers would have interfered with Dell's CPU cooling "tunnel."

    I agree the price should be dropped ten to twenty dollars, but there's been a massive improvement from the 8500GT that it replaced. This should tide me over until can afford my first home-built. The GT240 might even serve as a PhysX processor if such things don't go the way of the dinosaurs. Basically, I think this card has a definite niche; I didn't look at the 9800GT Greens, unfortunately, but I have doubts one would even fit. There is precious little space for expansion cards in my 'puter.
    Reply
  • BelardA - Thursday, January 07, 2010 - link

    The 9800GT should fit... even some versions of the ATI 4850.

    Dynex PSUs are usually not that good... :(

    Check out the 12v rail requirements of the video card, but then again - the GT240 (stupid names) is in the same power class as the ATI 4600s.

    Yeah, some people have to bend some metal to make PSUs and cards fit in the Dell E510.
    Reply
  • asusmaun - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    Hi! I think the GT 240 models with GDDR5 are extremely sweet and I want to get one. I recommend it!

    Look at the fine features:
    * Low power / cool temps (69W)
    * Quiet
    * Small card (eVGA's card is even 1 slot)
    * Pure Video 4th and 5th generation (VP4/5). This might be the only card that does VP5 stuff right now.
    * Plays most games fine if quality/res not set too high. This is true, more or less, for all graphics cards at some point. You can never keep up with game graphics demands without spending a lot of money. If you can spend that much money, good for you, but many cannot.
    * Affordable price for a card with new technology

    The next Nvidia model up, the GTS 250 is a huge, hot (145W) card that is old technology dressed up with a new model name (again!). It only can do Pure Video 2nd generation (VP2) video acceleration. Sure, it can play games a little faster, but game performance isn't always the lone recommend factor for choosing your card. And, the GTS 250 does cost more when I looked at prices. If the GT 240 has enough game performance for you right now, then the GTS 250 is not a better card.

    I'm not going to talk about Radeon cards because I run on Linux and stay with Nvidia cards. If you are going Nvidia, the GT 240 is in the sweet spot for overall price/performance/features IMO.

    If the GT 240 is good enough for you now, the price is maybe low enough also that by the time it seems too slow for you, there will be much better cards with new technology for you to upgrade to later.

    To say the card doesn't matter and just not recommend it based on mainly game performance, isn't really looking at this card's features and market from a balanced point of view. The card could be highly recommendable for a computer used for watching movies and some game playing (HTPC or others). This card is just never going to please those kinds of users that are spoiled with the highest-end components all the time - the rest of us have to compromise some and the GT 240 can fit budget and purpose well right now.

    This review article, even though it does not recommend the card, might actually cause a lot of people to rush to buy these cards, for fear they will be discontinued! I was actually impressed with the game performance charts. So, this review article may very well still help sell a lot of these cards. :)
    Reply
  • AznBoi36 - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    Excellent points all around.

    I could see the GT240 as a viable upgrade for those on aging systems (Socket 939/478) and are on a tight budget. Why because the CPUs for those platforms most likely aren't fast enough to power many of the newer mainstream cards (ie: keeping the GPU well fed without being CPU limited). Also these users most likely have older monitors @ 1280x1024, and as shown the GT240 has enough oomph to run many of the new games at 1280x1024 with maximum detail and probably some AA/AF.

    New build? I can see this possibly going into a HTPC, but not anything else. There's much better cards out there. The 4670 is the better card overall for HTPC and light gaming IMO. Lower price, similar power requirements, heat and noise.
    Reply
  • Hauk - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    Man that article title.. ouch! ;) Reply
  • Spoelie - Thursday, January 07, 2010 - link

    It's actually the *message* NVIDIA sent out itself. Not even bothering to send review samples, you're telling the world these cards are low-key and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Reply
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    "I hesitate to call the GT 240 a “bad” GPU"

    You may hesitate but this review clearly shows that the GT240 paired with DDR3 memory indeed makes for bad GPU. NVidia should have mandated OEMs use DDR5.
    Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Wednesday, January 06, 2010 - link

    Your usage of "GPU" shows that you have no idea what one is.
    You probably think the "CPU" is the case.
    Reply

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