While we usually try to bring you updated and updated facts from two of the top discrete GPU manufacturers, Nvidia and ATI, it hasn't been up to us recently to balance the coverage for each business. Of our last seven graphics card reviews, only one was a new GeForce GPU, and a terrible one.
Towards the end of last year, Nvidia launched a new graphics card, the GeForce GT 240. This unforgettable product should be between the GT 220 and the 9800 GT in terms of price and performance. However, similar to the GeForce GT 220 that was released a little earlier, the GT 240 was a huge disappointment. For around $ 100, we've seen no real reason anyone would pick up this card other than potentially using it as a dedicated PhysX card.
The older generation GeForce 9600 and 9800 GT offered better value for money at their respective prices. Most importantly, the Radeon HD 4770 destroyed the GT 240 for just an additional $ 10. For a further US $ 40, the DirectX 11-capable Radeon HD 5750 offers very playable performance in most games, even at 1920 x 1200. One could argue that the power consumption of the GT 240 compared to the 9800 GT, the Radeon HD 4770 or 5750 is better, but not relative due to its poor overall performance.
But it's a new year and we know that Fermi, Nvidia's next-generation GPU, is coming pretty soon. At CES, however, we quickly learned that Nvidia does not want to offer a new budget or even mainstream graphics products based on the new architecture, which leaves ATI a large gap in order to make the most of it. AMD has rested on its laurels and released a new $ 100 graphics card.
The Radeon HD 5670 is based on the same evergreen GPU that the HD 5800 cards are made of, albeit heavily trimmed to reach $ 100. The new card has a memory bandwidth of 64 GB / s compared to 128 GB / s on the Radeon HD 5850 and its core configuration has been halved compared to the mainstream HD 5770. However, the functionality is retained, so you support DirectX 11, Eyefinity, HDMI audio bitstreaming and of course low power consumption.
While the Radeon HD 5670 is supposed to offer DirectX 11 functionality to gamers on a budget, we're not too excited about it. The latest rendering technologies require higher performance to be fully utilized. Unless a game's visual settings are fully exploited with a reasonable level of anti-aliasing enabled, DirectX 11 won't attract a lot of glances.
On paper, it looks like AMD is going for the GeForce GT 240, and we have to worry that they haven't set their goals higher for the Radeon HD 5670. But that doesn't mean we won't get it fair, so let's go ahead and examine it in more detail.