The R7 240 may not be the most exciting graphics card to review but I think this review will still be interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the R7 240 is incredibly affordable at just $69.99. Believe it or not graphics cards in the sub $100 price bracket are actually the most popular even if they are not the most glamorous – so it will be very interesting to see what $70 actually gets you. Secondly, this is the first of our reviews on our new graphics card test system. As we detail further on the test system and procedures page this is a purpose built test system for low end to mid range graphics cards, we will continue to use our high end test system from upper mid range and enthusiast grade graphics cards. With a new test system comes a revised set of games, as chosen by your votes, and some new compute and mining tests to give you a wider perspective on what additional performance graphics cards can offer outside of gaming.
However, let’s get back to the product in hand for today’s review which is the XFX R7 240 Core Edition (R7-240A-CLH4) graphics card which features a fully passive cooling solution and 2GB of DDR3 VRAM. From the low profile, passive and compact design of this graphics card it should be quite clear that this is aimed at the HTPC market but also the light usage home PC or the budget gaming PC. This isn’t going to be powering a fully fledged gaming desktop PC, however, it will still play games at lower resolutions and detail settings despite what anyone may tell you.
XFX’s R7 240 Core Edition passive graphics card has identical specifications to a reference R7 240. The main difference between the reference design is that this Passive Core Edition model comes with a choice of only 2GB of DDR3 VRAM and has a premium of $15 over the $70 MSRP on the R7 240.
Packaging and Bundle
The XFX R7 240 comes with XFX’s usual style of packaging and the front of the box presents the key features – a passive cooling solution, a low profile design with interchangeable brackets and support for stereoscopic 3D and BluRay playback.
The back of the box has a more extensive list of features.
Included with the product is some documentation about installation, warranty and other XFX products as well as a driver CD.
Additionally XFX provide a low profile kit that allows you to change your rear I/O configuration.
Introduction – Dual Graphics (Hybrid CrossFire) on Kaveri
Kaveri represents another significant step forward for integrated graphics performance but realistically it still isn’t even on the same playing field as true discrete graphics solutions which aren’t as limited by memory bandwidth or physical space. However, AMD has always had a solution for making its APU graphics performance more competitive and this solution is known as “Hybrid CrossFire”. However, AMD has recently changed the nomenclature and Hybrid CrossFire is now dubbed “Dual Graphics” so this will be used in this article interchangeably with Hybrid CrossFire.
The term “hybrid” in Hybrid Crossfire is coined because it is a hybrid amalgamation of “discrete-class” integrated graphics on the APU with a discrete graphics card. The logic of CrossFire is still retained in Hybrid CrossFire – you should pair two similar graphics processors to scale extra performance through synchronisation and joint GPU processing. In the case of Hybrid CrossFire you aren’t dealing with only graphics cards like you would be with normal CrossFire, but instead GPUs so it can be problematic, though the objective is still to pair similar parts. AMD does set out some official recommendations for which R7 series GPUs you should pair off with each Kaveri APU – we will detail those recommendations on the next page. A final thing to briefly mention is frame pacing. AMD have released a driver fix for frame pacing which effectively fixes the problem of delayed “runt” frames. In our case we have enabled the frame pacing driver but we lack the equipment to show you how effective this frame pacing driver is. However, we can point you to PCPer who have investigated the driver fix to show that it does solve the problem and offers identical performance to what you would get with the frame pacing setting turned off.
In this article we will be taking a look at what AMD’s Dual Graphics can offer in terms of a performance upgrade for Kaveri APUs, so without any further ado let’s take a look!
With AMD introducing lots of new cards to the R7 series they’ve decided it is time to readjust pricing. Today the R7 265 has been launched and with a price of $149 it makes the R7 260X uncompetitive at $139. As a result AMD have made the wise decision to drop the price of the R7 260X to $119. AMD’s R7 Series now has the following MSRP pricing:
R7 265 – $139.99
R7 260X – $119.99
R7 260 – $109.99
R7 250X – $99.99
R7 250 – $89.99
R7 240 – $69.99
Of course the pricing of these cards will vary by retailer and by the model in question as AMD’s board partners will choose to modify the cards in many ways. Either way we can say that the AMD R7 series looks a significant amount more attractive than it did when it was first released. What do you think of AMD’s complete R7 series and the product pricing?
Launch day is finally among us for AMD’s hotly anticipated RX 2XX series. Today AMD unveils the R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, R7 250 and R7 240. That’s two cards from the enthusiast R9 series, shown above, and three from the entry R7 series, shown below. We’ve already got reviews ready for you to read of the R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X so be sure to click those links and check those out.
All the cards you see here today aren’t strictly new but are based on technology from the HD 7000 series. The only hardware difference is we’ve got higher performance from raised clocks and that is at lower price points. AMD have also introduced an updated feature set that includes Direct X 11.2 support, OpenGL 4.3 support, support for AMD’s new low-level Mantle API, improved audio with AMD TrueAudio and improved Eyefinity compatibility for Eyefinity 6 off most cards. This is only just the scratching the surface though so read on as we detail more about AMD’s new launches.
The guys over at WCCFTech have managed to grab some details of AMD’s upcoming Volcanic Islands GPU family via the HIS website. We tried to explain the new GPU naming system a while back but now we can bring you the exact naming of these new graphics cards from AMD. The new naming system will be as follows:
AMD R9-290 (Replacing HD 7990 Flagship)
AMD R9-280 (Replacing HD 7900 Series)
AMD R9-270 (Replacing HD 7800/7700 Series)
AMD R7-260 (Replacing HD 7770 Series)
AMD R7-250 (Replacing HD 7700 Series)
AMD R7-240 (Replacing HD 7600 Series)
Based on currently available information the new graphics card line up is believed to look something like this:
Apparently the majority of the graphics cards from the new R-200 series are to be refreshed or rebadged versions of current AMD HD 7000 series graphics cards. These include the R9-270X and below. As you can see from the above table, if this is true, then AMD have knocked to HD 7970 (Tahiti XT) down 3 places in the product stack essentially meaning the HD 7850’s successor is a HD 7970. Nvidia’s rebranding exercise only saw products knocked down by a single place in the product stack, as the GTX 680 became the GTX 770.
AMD’s Hawaii GPU will be for the top three fastest single GPU cards while Vesuvius/Tonga will be the dual GPU graphics card to replace the HD 7990. This will probably be based on a pair of Hawaii GPUs.
WCCFTech also noted that the HIS 280X iPower IceQ X² graphics card was listed with the following specifications:
3GB GDDR5 VRAM
384 Bit interface
Dual LinkDVI-I/HDMI/2xMini DP
The R9-280X is said to be based on the Hawaii XT GPU.