Last October Nvidia released a brand new graphics card aimed at the budget market, the GeForce GT 220, and unlike the shady GTS 250 this was actually a new product that deserved to be part of the 200 series. Built using a last generation manufacturing process and given the codename GT216, you'd be forgiven to be unaware of all this, as the 40nm GeForce GT 220 turned out to be a dud.
In terms of performance we were disappointed to find the theoretical bandwidth of 25.3GB/s placed this card alongside the old GeForce 9500 GT. The GeForce GT 220 would in fact be much slower than the GeForce 9600 GT, which we felt was a bit of a joke.
Not everyone can afford a high-end graphics card, of course, so we welcomed the addition for the sake of competition. But this is where things got even more ridiculous. Nvidia decided to slap an $80 price tag on the card, even when the far superior Radeon HD 4670 from ATI had been retailing for less for quite some time.
Prices have dropped slightly since then, but our opinion on it hasn't changed much. We feel the GeForce GT 220 was a pointless release, and as a result we must remain skeptical about this new card from Nvidia. The GeForce GT 240 is said to be considerably more powerful than the GT 220, though in terms of performance it should still sit well below the GeForce 9800 GT.
In other words, it appears that the GeForce GT 240 is picking up where the GeForce 9600 GT left off. With the remaining 9600 GT stock priced just under $100, Nvidia's newest card will start life here. This seems like the right product to take on the Radeon HD 4670, as we expect it to provide a similar level of performance, while keeping power consumption in check, but again carrying the wrong price tag.
Needless to say our expectations for the GeForce GT 240 are underwhelming, but that's not to say we won't give it a fair go. We really hope the tweaked version from Gainward that we are reviewing today can surprise us, so let's move on to check it out in more detail.