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Conclusion

The GeForce GT 240 came out a well-made product. For all its lowered clock rates, it is a worthy successor to the GeForce 9600 GT. Although slower than the latter in some games, the GeForce GT 240 is far more economical and has broader HD video processing capabilities by incorporating the same fourth-generation PureVideo HD engine as the simpler GT216 and GT218 GPUs have. Thus, the GeForce GT 240 offers full hardware acceleration for all modern HD video formats including VC-1 and can output audio over HDMI without S/PDIF. The lack of Protected Audio Path prevents this card from supporting Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, though.

As for the gaming performance you can expect from the GeForce GT 240 GDDR5, the summary diagrams provide a clear picture of it.

 

When clocked at the frequencies recommended by Nvidia, the GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 is inferior to the GeForce 9600 GT in 7 or 8 tests depending on the resolution. The maximum gap is about 28% and the maximum advantage is nearly 70% (it’s at 1920x1200 in Crysis Warhead because the new card has 1024MB of memory and the older card, only 512MB). The factory overclocking of the Gainward and Palit cards adds 8-9% more and the number of lost tests is 7 at low resolutions and 5 at 1920x1200.

Unfortunately, the GeForce GT 240 cannot compete with the Radeon HD 4770, but the latter is more expensive. Nvidia’s card will only have problems if it does not cost less than AMD’s card in retail.

The GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 is quite a gaming card, particularly if pre-overclocked, except for some heavy applications like Crysis Warhead or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. In most other cases you will have a playable frame rate, especially if you don’t enable resolutions higher than 1680x1050 the GeForce GT 240 is not actually meant for (it can deliver a comfortable frame rate at 1920x1200 in certain games, though, if you turn FSAA off). Thus, if you don’t want to go AMD for some reason, the GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 can make a good choice for a rather fast but quiet and economical HTPC that can be used for gaming among other things.

As for the specific products, the Palit GT 240 Sonic and Gainward GeForce GT240 1024MB GDDR5 GS are both attractive, but the Gainward is somewhat better due to its quieter cooler and higher overclocking potential. We recommend using it for an HTPC. If you don’t mind the small difference in noise, the Palit GT 240 Sonic will be just as good as its twin brother, though.

Palit GT 240 Sonic and Gainward GeForce GT240 1024MB GDDR5 GS Summary

Highs:

  • Good gaming performance for its class;
  • Higher GPU and memory frequencies than the reference ones;
  • DirectX 10.1 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • Support for Adobe Flash 10.1 video;
  • High-quality HD video post processing with scalability;
  • 7.1 sound over HDMI, including HD audio and LPCM;
  • HDMI 1.3a support;
  • Goof overclocking potential;
  • Low noise (for Gainward solution);
  • Low power consumption and heat dissipation.

Lows:

  • Yields to GeForce 9600 GT in a number of cases;
  • No DirectX 11 support;
  • May be too large for compact HTPC cases;
  • No bit-streaming support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio formats.
 
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