For the lowest-end video cards, a common practice by manufacturers is to substitute in slower VRAM – recently, this meant swapping out GDDR5 for DDR3 – saving costs in a product that typically would not be able to utilize the extra memory bandwidth. For quite some time now, we have been used to seeing DDR3 in those ultra low-end cards – until now. Sometime last month, NVIDIA quietly released the GeForce GT 1030 DDR4, with several models filtering out through add-in board partners.

In addition to slower-clocked DDR4 VRAM, the GT 1030 DDR4’s core clocks have also been reduced, though the exact boost clocks differ between custom boards. The end result of 2100Mbps DDR4 from 6008Mbps GDDR5 does reduce the bandwidth from around 48 GB/s to 16.8 GB/s, though with no change to memory size and bus width. It appears that the DDR4 variants are also lower power, with a 20W TDP as opposed to 30W.

Specifications of Selected NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 Cards
  Palit GT 1030 MSI GT 1030 Gigabyte Low Profile GT 1030
Base Clock 1227 MHz 1151 MHz 1265 MHz 1189 MHz 1227 MHz (Gaming) 1151 MHz (Gaming)
1252 MHz (OC) 1177 MHz (OC)
Boost Clock 1468 MHz 1379 MHz 1518 MHz 1430 MHz 1468 MHz 
(Gaming)
1379 MHz 
(Gaming)
1506 MHz (OC) 1417 MHz (OC)
VRAM Clocks 6000 Mbps 2100 Mbps 6008 Mbps 2100 Mbps 6008 Mbps 2100 Mbps
Capacity 2 GB
Bus Width 64-bit
Type GDDR5 DDR4 GDDR5 DDR4 GDDR5 DDR4
Power Consumption 30W 20W 30W 20W unspecified

Interestingly, some of the listed documentation shows two different core names: “GP108-300” and “GP108-310.” But while “GP108” is affiliated with the lower-clocked, lower TDP DDR4 variant, certain GDDR5 models (AERO ITX 2G OC, AERO ITX 2G OCV1, 2G LP OC, 2G LP OCV1, 2G LP OCV2) list both core names in their specification sheets but with everything else unchanged, leaving it unclear what the differences are between these two GP108 bins.

The official NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 product page mentions nothing of the change, though it does note that specifications of partner board may vary. In any case, each of the model names bar one differentiate the peculiarity with a “D4” moniker. Though the consequence of the bandwidth difference is much less with such low-end cards, particularly with ones under a tighter power budget, it is unclear how much of a performance hit this entails.

Nevertheless, given the overall shift away from DDR3 production, we should soon see future lower-end cards equipped with DDR4 over DDR3.

Source: MSI (via SH SOTN)

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  • Jad77 - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    If prices stay the way they are with Crypto inflation, this may be my new market segment! The better 1030's are still in the $100 range but, it may be a generation or two before they qualify as an upgrade! Reply
  • ozzuneoj86 - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    5-6 year old second hand Kepler cards are the new go-to for gaming systems if you ask me. A 680 or 770 isn't that far off from a 1050 Ti in performance in many games and they are very reliable cards. A 660 or something similar will certainly outpace a 1030 in every situation aside from efficiency. Since efficiency isn't that great, they aren't good for mining, so the prices haven't gone through the roof. They certainly higher than they used to be though. I remember reliably finding 660, 670 and 680 cards for $50-$80 a year or so ago, now they're starting to creep up over the $100 mark all the time because they are selling well at those prices. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    Yep, I picked up a 770 dirt cheap ($130) on fleabay and it's fine for anything in 1080p. About 2x the power consumption of a 1050Ti but otherwise similar performance, and for the few hours a week I game it's a wash. Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, April 05, 2018 - link

    The 770 is 25% faster than the 1050 Ti. Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    The 1030 isn't a good choice for gaming, you'd be better off with a used card. It's barely any better than the current Intel iGPUs and runs neck and neck with Ryzen's iGPU. Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    I wouldn't quite say "not a good choice". Running neck and neck with Ryzen APUs, yes, but that still means it's 3 times faster than the "common" (GT2) intel IGPs (Skylake/Kabylake/Coffeelake). Of course if it makes sense or not also depends on how close in price it's to the next step up (GTX 1050) - and in fact while with the official MSRP you'd be better off with just going with the latter, "thanks" to the mining craze the GT 1030 looks quite reasonable.
    But of course, the ddr4 version will sacrifice quite a bit of the advantage over intel's igp.
    It is imho especially disappointing they went with bottom-of-the-barrel ddr4 - nowadays that speed grade you'd hardly find acceptable even as system memory.
    Reply
  • kfishy - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    I have the mobile equivalent (MX150) and it’s a LOT faster than Intel iGPUs. Keep in mind that a discrete card has a separate TDP and does not compete for main memory bandwidth. When a game uses both the CPU and GPU heavily, the iGPU slows to a crawl. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    Overclock the 1030... It beats the Ryzens IGP every day of the week.

    I have a secondary PC which is small-form factor, slim... With 8GB DDR2, Core 2 Quad Q9650.

    The only cards I can have in that rig are low-profile, single slot GPU's... And the 1030 with GDDR5 is currently the fastest GPU out that fits that description, hence why I got one.

    The rig still does and plays everything I want flawlessly (Overwatch, Age of Empires Definitive Edition, Homeworld Remastered and so on), with most games happily running at 1080P with settings dialed down.

    DDR4 though feels and looks like a step backwards in my eyes, the least nVidia could have done was made it 128bit to make up for the deficit.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - link

    > The only cards I can have in that rig are low-profile, single slot GPU's... And the 1030 with GDDR5 is currently the fastest GPU out that fits that description

    Wrong. Quadro P1000 is also single-slot LP, and it's nearly as fast as a GTX 1050.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, April 05, 2018 - link

    The P1000 retails for north of $320 on Amazon whereas the 1030 is currently selling there for $120 so that performance increase comes at a significant cost to the buyer. Reply

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