ASUS ENGT240 Review
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06
Reviewed on: February 7, 2010
Are you looking for a new video card for your system? Are you the type of user who is going to be playing the newest games on the market or are you just going to be using your computer as a workhorse for graphics and video editing? What ever you are planning on building the computer for, you may just want to check out ASUS's new ENGT240. The card is going to be able to play just about every DX10 game out there, and it is going to be able to add some power to your graphics and video editing software that you use on a daily basis, lowering rendering times. I am curious how well the ASUS ENGT240 is going to compare to the other cards that are currently out on the market in its class.
Looking at the packaging for the ASUS ENGT240 video card, the first thing that is going to pop out at you is the image of the warrior with a sword raised high atop a battle horse. This image gives you the impression that the card is ready for anything that you can throw at it - we will find out how well that holds true shortly. The other thing that grabbed my attention was at the bottom of the package where it lets you know what video card is packaged inside, the ENGT240, while to its right there is a GDDR5 print that is on fire. At the top of the package, on the left hand side, you are going to find the ASUS logo with the slogan "Inspiring Innovation * Persistent Perfection" printed below it, letting you know how dedicated to performance ASUS is. In the middle of the package, you are going to see the Xtreme Design logo, letting you know that the cooling solution on the card is not the standard reference cooler. Right above the ENGT240 print, you are going to find the 512MB badge, letting you know how much onboard memory the card has. To the right of that, you are going to find the HDMI, PhysX, and CUDA badges, letting you know some of the features of the card. On the back of the package is a list of the powerful features of the card in the green section at the top, and in the middle you'll find the ASUS Exclusive Innovations, such as Splendid, GamerOSD, SmartDoctor, and Xtreme Design.
Upon opening the packaging, you'll find the ASUS ENGT240 wrapped up nice inside an anti-static bag to help prevent any damages that may happen during the shipping/unpacking process. You are also going to see that the card itself is tucked away inside of the packaging nice and safely so that the card will not move and bounce around inside the packaging while it's being shipped to you. Under the card you will find the SpeedSetup booklet that has the Electronic User Manual and VGA Driver discs tucked away inside.
Now that we know exactly how the ASUS ENGT240 is packaged, it's time to take a nice close look at the card itself.
Taking the first look at the ASUS ENGT240, you'll notice that the heatsink/fan covers up just about the entire card from top to bottom and just about 75% of the card from end to end. The PCB of the board is a nice bright blue color. The heatsink/fan setup does not stick out too far, which is nice, as it won't interfere with any of the other components that you may have installed in the PCI slots next to it. The GT240 does come with 96 CUDA cores that are going to help you with your image/video editing software and reduce the rendering times that it would normally take. The large heatsink is going to help keep not only the GPU cool, but the GDDR5 chips that are placed under the cooler as well.
Looking at the outputs of the ENGT240, there is the standard DVI output, as well as D-Sub and HDMI outputs, which will come in handy as you are going to be able to use pretty much any type of display device that you want. The ENGT240 does use the PCI-E 2.0 standard, so you will need to make sure that your motherboard has a PCI-E slot that will allow the card to function properly.
When you remove the large heatsink/fan via the four screws on the back of the card, you'll get a view of the GPU and memory modules. The GPU is the GT215-450-A2 and the four memory modules that are installed on the card are by Samsung, with the model number of K4G10325FE HC05. Each memory module is 128MB. The GPU clocks in at 550MHz stock, with the Memory modules operating at 1700MHz stock.
Looking at the heatsink/fan setup itself, you can tell that it is designed quite similar to a stock CPU cooler - you have the large heatsink as the base that directly touches the GPU and memory modules where the heat will be transferred to the heatsink, which is going to be cooled by the fan that is installed atop of the heatsink .
After taking a close look at the ENGT240, it's time to look at the software that is bundled with the card and get it setup so we can use the card.
When you get the card installed in your system, you are going to need to pop in the VGA Drivers Installation CD. Once you do, Autorun should kick off, and then the first thing you'll want to do is select the VGA Drivers button, which will open up the InstallShield application to install the Display Drivers. From here, you are going to need to follow the on-screen instructions to get the drivers installed on your computer. Once it has completed, you will get the InstallShield Wizard Complete screen letting you know that your drivers have been installed. It does not prompt you to restart your computer, but I always do just to be safe.
Now that you have the drivers installed on your computer, it's time to install the utilities from the option on the home screen of the CD. When you press the button, a new InstallShield Wizard will open up and you will need to go though the steps to get all the applications installed. I clicked the Custom Install option so that I could show you what applications are going to be installed - ASUS GamerOSD, ASUS SmartDoctor, and ASUS VideoSecurity. Once you have everything installed, you will need to restart your computer again to make sure that everything has installed properly.
NVIDIA Control Panel:
The NVIDIA Control Panel allows you to change a whole array of settings for your card. The Image Settings section comes with a rotating image that is going to give you a preview of what images will look like with the settings you are about to select, using a slider bar with one end being Performance and the other being Quality. The next screen is where you can change your 3D Settings, which include Ambient Occlusion, Anisotropic filtering, Antialiasing, etc. You can either have every application/game run off these settings, or you can go in and change the setting to be application-controlled. Another helpful screen in the Control Panel is the Change Resolution screen where you are able to change your resolutions, refresh rates, and color depth for every monitor that you have connected to the card.
The ASUS SmartDoctor application allows you to change a majority of the settings on your video card, such as your GPU, Shaders, and Memory clock speeds via the slider bars at the bottom of the screen. You can also view your GPU temperature in both °C and °F on the home screen. When you flip over to the Fan tab, you can view how fast your fan is spinning, not in RPM, but rather in a percentage from 0% to 100%. In the settings menu, you can change how quickly you want the information to refresh - five seconds is the default. The most interesting feature that SmartDoctor comes with, in my opinion, is the HyperDrive. In the HyperDrive tab, you can select the card to overclock itself up to 100MHz when the card is getting worked hard in either games or other applications. This feature is somewhat like the Intel SpeedStep technology that will give you a "boost" when it's needed.
Now that the software is installed and configured, it's time to take a look at the specifications of the card and then it will be time to get into the testing.
|PCI-E 2.0 x16|
- NVIDIA® Unified Architecture
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.
- NVIDIA CUDA™ Technology1
CUDA technology unlocks the power of the GPU’s processor cores to accelerate the most demanding system tasks - such as video transcoding - delivering incredible performance improvements over traditional CPUs.
- NVIDIA PhysX® Technology2
GeForce GPU support for PhysX technology, enabling a totally new class of physical gaming interaction for a more dynamic and realistic experience with GeForce.
- NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ Support
GeForce GPU support for NVIDIA 3D Vision, bringing a fully immersive stereoscopic 3D experience to the PC. A combination of high-tech wireless glasses and advanced software, 3D Vision transforms hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D. In addition, you can watch 3D movies and 3D digital photographs in eye popping, in crystal-clear quality.
- Microsoft® Windows® 7 Support
Windows 7 is the next generation operating system that will mark a dramatic improvement in the way the OS takes advantage of the graphics processing unit (GPU) to provide a more compelling user experience. By taking advantage of the GPU for both graphics and computing, Windows 7 will not only make today’s PCs more visual and more interactive but also ensure that they have the speed and responsiveness customers want.
- DirectCompute Support
Full support for DirectCompute, Microsoft’s GPU computing API.
- OpenCL Support
Full support for OpenCL GPU computing API.
- PCI Express 2.0 Support
Designed for the new PCI Express 2.0 bus architecture offering the highest data transfer speeds for the most bandwidth-hungry games and 3D applications, while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing PCI Express motherboards for the broadest support.
- GigaThread™ Technology
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.
- NVIDIA® Lumenex™ Engine
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy at ultra-fast frame rates.
- 16x Anti-aliasing Technology
Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges.
- 128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range (HDR) Lighting
Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects— with support for anti-aliasing.
- NVIDIA® GeForce® Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. NVIDIA® GeForce® drivers provide the best out-of-box experience for every user and deliver continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce® GPUs.
- OpenGL® 3.2 Optimization and Support
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.
- Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates–up to 2048x1536@85Hz.
- Dual-link DVI Support
Able to drive industry’s largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600 and with support for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).
- HDMI 1.3a Support
Fully integrated support for HDMI 1.3a including xvYCC, Deep color and 7.1 digital surround sound.
- NVIDIA® PureVideo® HD Technology3
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.
- Hardware Decode Acceleration
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV, DivX, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 HD and SD movies without the need for a dual or quad-core CPU.
- Dual-stream Hardware Acceleration
Supports picture-in-picture content for the ultimate interactive Blu-ray and HD DVD movie experience.
- Dynamic Contrast Enhancement and Color Stretch
Provides post-processing and optimization of High Definition movies on a scene by scene basis for spectacular picture clarity.
- Dual-link HDCP Capable4
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc format, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.
- Enhanced Error Resilience
Correct errors or losses in broadcast content to ensure crisp, high quality playback.
- Advanced Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing
Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.
- High-Quality Scaling
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.
- Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction)
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video (DVDs, 1080i HD content), providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.
- Bad Edit Correction
When videos are edited, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadence. PureVideo uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.
- Noise Reduction
Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.
- Edge Enhancement
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.
- Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 Support
DirectX 10.1 GPU with Shader Model 4.1 support.
Information courtesy of NVIDIA @ http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gt_240_us.html
Testing the ASUS ENGT240 is not a challenge, so much as determining what kind of gaming performance this card is capable of. The computing attributes make it a card that will help improve the everyday experience of a computer for the mainstream user. To test out the ENGT240 gaming credentials, I will run the card through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks, but since it won't be able to deliver playable frame rates at the settings I typically use, I will reduce the settings to a level that gives an expectation of playability. In reality, this card will most likely find its home in a mainstream computer with a 17" to 19" LCD panel in a home office or in the family computer. Testing will be limited from 1280x1024 to 1920x1200, with the revised settings listed at the top of each game page. 1280x1024 should be playable in all the games in the suite, so let's get to it and see if we can make it playable. Of course, overclocking will be part of the exercise. The drivers used for this test will be Catalyst 9.10 for all ATI cards and 191.07 for the NVIDIA cards.
- Processor: Intel Core I7 920 150x20
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Eclipse SLI
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20
- Video Card: ASUS ENGT240
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800 watt Modular power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD-RW
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition SP2 64-bit
- Case: NZXT Beta Evo
Comparison Video Cards:
- Axle GeForce G210
- Inno3D GT 240
- Inno3D GT 220
- Palit Sonic GT 220
- Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate
- ASUS HD 4770 Formula
- BFG GTS 250 OC
- Sapphire HD5670
- ASUS 630/1534/1860
The ASUS ENGT240 was quite simple to overclock. I started by bumping up the memory clocks by 20MHz, until it became unstable, bringing it down 5MHz at a time and then retesting. This got me all the way up to 1860MHz. Once I had the memory overclocked as high as I could run benchmarks, it was time to move onto the GPU - this was just as simple as the memory. I started working my way upwards, bumping by only 10MHz at a time on the GPU, running a few benchmarks at the new clock speed to determine stability. I was able to get it all the way up to 645MHz for a few of the benchmarks, however it did keep crashing in a few, so I was forced to bump it down a little bit to 630MHz, which is lower than the Inno3D GT240 card that I recently worked on. The end result was an overclock of 14.5% on the GPU, 14.7% on the shaders, and only 9.4% on the memory. I was quite impressed that during all the testing, the GPU never got higher than 64°C.
- Far Cry 2
- Crysis Warhead
- Darkest of Days
- Call of Duty: World at War
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Resident Evil 5
- Left 4 Dead
- 3DMark 06 Professional
- 3DMark Vantage
Far Cry 2:
Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main story line of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.
- DirectX 10
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Game Settings: High
- VSync: Off
The ENGT240, at stock speeds, was able to give the Sapphire HD4670 a run for its money.
Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Game Settings: Mainstream
- DirectX 10
The ENGT240 was able to beat out every card except for the ASUS HD4770 and the GFT GTS 250 OC.
What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.
- 0x Anti-Aliasing
- 16x Anisotropic Filtering
- PhysX: Low
- Ambient Occlusion: On
- Quality: High
- Resolution: 1280x1024 - 1920x1200
When the ASUS ENGT240 was overclocked, it was able to give the Sapphire HD4670 some competition.
Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.
- Game Settings: Maximum
- AA 0x
- FPS measured via Fraps
The ENGT240 was only beaten by three cards, the Inno3D GT240, the ASUS HD4770 Formula, and the BFG GTS 250 OC.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.
- Vsync: Off
- Medium Preset
- Game Settings: Medium
The ENGT240 was still unable to beat the HD4770 or the GTS 250 OC in this benchmark until the BFG GTS 250 OC cracked under the pressure in the 1920x1200 resolution test.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter rivals, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to become the Dark Knight.
- 0x Anti-Aliasing
- PhysX: Off
- Ambient Occlusion: Off
- Quality: Medium
- Resolution: 1280x1024 - 1920x1200
The ASUS ENGT240 lost some ground here just like the Inno3D GT240.
Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City, who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and co-op multiplayer.
- 0x Anti-Aliasing
- PhysX: Off
- Ambient Occlusion: Off
- Quality: Medium
- Resolution: 1280x1024 - 1920x1200
The only card that was able to beat the ENGT240 when it was overclocked here was the BFG GTS 250 OC, with the exception of the ASUS HD4770 in the 1280x1024 test.
Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie "I Am Legend" comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job; survival!
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Anisotropic Filtering: x0
- Game Settings: Medium
The ENGT240 is still unable to beat the HD4770, the GTS250 OC or the HD5670, and was just barely able to beat out the HD4670.
3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest begins. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.
- SM2.0 Graphics Tests: GT1- Return to Proxycon, GT2- Firefly Forest
- CPU Tests: CPU1- Red Valley, CPU2- Red Valley
- HDR/SM3.0 Graphics Tests: HDR1- Canyon Flight, HDR2- Deep Freeze
You can really tell in the 3DMark 06 test shows you how little of a difference 300MHz makes on the GDDR5 clocks between the Inno3D GT240 (1400MHz) and the ENGT240 (1700MHz).
Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista-based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. "Entry" is 1024x768 progressing to "Extreme" at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.
- Settings (each preset): Default
- Entry: 1024x768
- Performance: 1280x1024
- High: 1680x1050
The ENGT240 was still unable to beat the HD4770 or the GTS 250 OC, however it was quite close at the lower resolutions.
The ASUS ENGT240 was able to perform quite well against the other cards that are currently out on the market, such as beating out the HD4670 in just about every single benchmark that we ran it against. The Inno3D GT240 and the ASUS ENGT240 were both quite close to each other during the entire benchmarking tests - the only difference between the two cards was that the Inno3D was able to overclock a little bit better than the ASUS card was able to, which was quite disappointing. The cooling solution that was on the ASUS ENGT240 did its job quite well - the highest that I saw the card get was 64°C during all the testing, which is not very high for a video card operating at 630MHz on the GPU and running through all these benchmarks back-to-back. I do like the fact that the ENGT240 does get all the power that it needs from the motherboard's PCI-E slot - there are no extra power adapters that need to be plugged into the video card. It was great to see that GDDR5 memory was installed on the ENGT240, however it would have been nice to see an extra 512MB of it installed to give you a total of 1GB. Doing so might have been enough to give the card a little more power in the benchmarks to get closer to its competition. The ability for PhysX and CUDA processing on the GT240 makes it quite valuable for anyone who is not going to be using the card for gaming - many applications will use the CUDA cores to lower the rendering times. All in all, if you are looking for a new graphics card on a budget and you are not looking for the newest graphics processors, you may just want to add the ENGT240 to your list. I would suggest this card for the casual gamer and anyone who is building either an HTPC or a computer for video/image editing.
- Power Connector
- PhysX and CUDA
- GDDR5 Memory
- Only 512MB GDDR5 Memory