If it’s time to upgrade your PC’s video card, there’s a lot to choose from. Low-end cards come with a cheap price tag, and limited functionality, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some gamers just want something simple to run smaller games. That’s why we tested out the NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 and AMD Radeon R7 240.
The review evaluation used three games. The 2009 racer by Criterion Games--Burnout Paradise, the 2012 dungeon crawler by Blizzard Entertainment—Diablo III, and the 2013 survival horror first person shooter by 4A Games--Metro: Last Light. Each game was played on both cards for pretty much the same amount of time. We looked at the frames per second (FPS) and recorded the playability of each game on each card.
The NVIDIA card was up first. We started it off with Burnout Paradise, to warm up. It ran at 60 FPS on high graphical settings with no problems. We then moved on to Diablo III. On low resolution settings, it ran 60 FPS, but bumping it up to high it dropped the frame-rate to around 45. It was still playable, and even with a ton of enemies on the screen, it didn’t lag. When we ran Metro Last Light, it was a mess. On low resolutions, the game chugged along coughing and choking between 24 to 13 FPS. On high, the game stopped working completely.
The AMD Radeon R7 240 didn’t fare much better. Like its counterpart, Burnout ran smoothly. Diablo III ran at 25 FPS on high, but it was still playable. On low, it vacillated between 35-49 FPS. The card had a slight advantage over its counterpart with Metro Last Light in the fact that the computer could still function, but not well. On low, the game started at 30 FPS before dropping to 10. Similarly, on high it started at 30 FPS, and then dropped to 15 before hitting eight. In other words, it was unplayable.
To be fair, most gamers using this card probably won't be interested in a game like Metro Last Light. Both ran Burnout and Diablo III fairly well. They're both decent for what they're meant to be, but between the two, the Radeon R7 240 worked better. It also has the better price tag of $79.99 compared to the NVIDIA’s $99.99. Both are low end cards, so if you’re looking to play older games that don’t use cutting edge technology, the AMD Radeon R7 240 is the better choice.