Lets face it, owning a GTX Titan or even a HD7970 is a pipe dream for most people, verified by the fact that the biggest chunk of sales for both AMD and Nvidia is under £100. To satisfy your budget cravings today we look at the latest HD7730 cards from Sapphire, in both GDDR3 and GDDR5 flavours.
Building a budget system can be tricky. Every penny counts, and budgeting more for a graphics card might mean you have to skimp on the power supply for instance. Sapphire's latest HD7730 2GB GDDR3 and 1GB GDDR5 cards are not in stock yet, but we have been told that the price for both will be around the £55 inc vat point. This will be very enticing for an enthusiast user working to a tight overall budget.
Sapphire sent us one 2GB HD7730 GDDR3 and two 1GB HD7730 GDDR5 cards – giving us the option to test the water with software Crossfire. We landed some other cards for comparison in this article today, the VTX3D HD7750, Asus GT630, eVGA GTX650 and Sparkle GTX650Ti.
This little selection of budget cards will detail performance between £50 and £110, including some Crossfire results from the HD7730 cards. Crossfire is interesting, as it may be perfectly practical to buy one HD7730 then upgrade the system later simply by adding another.
Above, the cards on test today. All are using the latest Catalyst 13.6 and Forceware 320.49 drivers, respectively for the AMD and Nvidia oriented solutions. The VTX3D HD7750 is included to show potential gains from spending that extra £25-£30 on the more expensive model. The HD7730 has 384 unified shaders and the HD7750 has 512 unifed shaders. Additionally, the ROP and TMU count increases from 8/24 to 16/32 respectively. All of these cards are tied into a narrow 128 bit memory interface.
The Sapphire HD7730 1GB GDDR5 memory runs at 1,125mhz (4.5Gbps effective), which is identical to the more costly HD7750 model. The HD7730 2GB GDDR3 model however is slower, with the memory running at 900mhz (1.8GBps effective – as its GDDR3). The memory bandwidth speeds are therefore reduced from 72.0 GB/s to only 28.8 GB/s which should have a largely negative effect on the frame rates.
The Nvidia cards start with the budget 2GB GT630, which is priced around £50 inc vat. The more expensive 4GB model is around £10 extra. This card has only 96 CUDA cores, compared against 384 and 768 on the GTX650 and GTX650ti respectively. The GTX630 has 4 ROPs and 16 TMU's compared to 16/32 on the GTX650 and 16/64 on the GTX650ti.
All of these cards are tied into a 128 bit memory interface and the cheapest GT630 has 2GB GDDR3 onboard, compared against 1GB GDDR5 on both GTX650 and GTX650ti. The GT630 produces memory bandwidth of 28.8GB/s, matching the 2GB GDDR3 Sapphire HD7730.