On the middle-end of video cards, there is a lot to choose from at affordable prices. The numbers look very similar, but in practice, it’s a whole other story. This is the case with NVIDIA GeForce GT 630, and the AMD Radeon R7 250.
Our tests used three games, Criterion Games’ 2009 racer Burnout Paradise, Blizzard Entertainment’s 2012 dungeon crawler Diablo III, and 4A Games’ 2013 survival horror first person shooter Metro: Last Light. This way, three genres are covered, and there is a low, medium and high setting graphical stress testing on the card. Keep in mind, these aren’t high-end cards, so hard-core gamers would want to look for something a little more powerful.
First up is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 630. It’s a pretty impressive card for its price tag of $76.99. While playing Burnout Paradise, it ran at a smooth 60 frames per second without a hiccup, but that was just the warm up. Diablo III was next and it held up, running at 60 FPS on low and high performance settings as well. There was quite a bit of action on screen too, but the card held up.
The real test was Metro: Last Light, and it was playable but not an amazing performance. It should be noted that this game is optimized with the NVIDIA chip in mind, so this gives a bit of an upper hand to this card. On high, it ran at 31 FPS, and on the low setting, it ran at almost 40 FPS. It’s not the super-slick 60 fps experience that some players demand for first person shooters, but that’s still functional. For its price the GeForce GT 630 is a solid video card, and it certainly deserves a recommendation.
That isn’t to say that the AMD Radeon R7 250 didn’t get the job done too. It just wasn’t as impressive. With a price tag of $99.99, it’s more expensive than its counterpart, and it doesn’t run quite as well. On Burnout Paradise, it ran at a smooth 60 FPS on high with no issues. Diablo III is where there's a difference. On low, it ran at 60 FPS, just like the NVIDIA. But on high, it dipped down to 40. It was still playable, even with a lot of action on screen.
Metro: Last Light however was a different story. On high resolution, it was unplayable, running at 25 FPS and ran worse on low. There’s no real explanation for why, it just does. Overall, the R7 250 is okay.
Both cards are solid options. With the exception of Metro: Last Light, their tests were very similar, with the NVIDIA slightly outperforming the AMD in every play through. That, mixed with a less expensive price, makes the NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 the better option.