XFX R7 240 Review

RHKCommander959 - 2013-11-08 17:45:32 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: March 24, 2014
Price: 79.99

XFX R7 240 Core Introduction:

AMD has filled the market up from high- to low-end graphics card solutions. Rounding out the low-end at the bottom is the R7 240. XFX currently has seven models of the R7 240 to choose from — this is the R7-240A-CLH4. The CLH4 is a passively cooled low-profile card with 2GB of DDR3. This card supports most of the features of its more powerful brethren: GCN Architecture, AMD Mantle, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, and Quad Full HD/4K support to name a few.

The core is a 28nm Oland Pro clocked at 780MHz under boost, stock 730MHz. Five Compute Units provide 320 Stream Processors, 20 Texture Units, 32 Z/Stencil ROP Units, and 8 Color ROP units. On the memory front there is 2GB of DDR3 clocked at 1.6GHz paired with a 128-bit memory interface. Connectivity is through a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with video output through HDMI, VGA, and DVI.

XFX R7 240 Core Closer Look:

The box for the XFX R7 240 Core Edition is similar to that of the R7 250, reviewed last year. The main colors are black and white with some blue decorations and yellow to add some pop to the key features. At the bottom the main features are listed: 2GB DDR3 memory, HDMI, DVI, and VGA outputs, completely silent passive 6mm-heatpipe cooler, low profile with interchangeable brackets, Stereoscopic 3D graphics, and 3D Blu-ray ready. Turning the box over reveals features translated in six main languages, including PCI-Express 3.0 x16 bus interface, DirectX 11.2 support, Bullet physics engine, AMD GCN compute architecture, PCI Express 3.0 32GB/s Ultra wide bandwidth & 8GT/s, PowerTune 2, OpenGL 4.2 & OpenCL 1.2, AMD HD3D, Quad Full HD/4K video resolution, AMD PowerPlay, and 3D Blu-ray support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first side of the R7 240 box has the background art wrapping around. The center has a list of contents — XFX R7 240, Installation CD, Quick Installation Guide, Driver CD Guide, and Warranty Card. Below this in a very dark font is the copyright information for XFX and AMD. At the very bottom are the different certifications/compliances including FCC Declaration of Conformity, CE European Community, and RoHS Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive. The other side is mainly decorative although it does show the model in bold white font.

 

 

The top cover is where the self-adhesive card-specific label is placed. The part number for this XFX R7 240 is R7-240A-CLH4. This label also has the serial and UPC codes. At the top right of the label it says "Made In China". The bottom of the box has seven amendments to the points listed all over the box. The right side has the system requirements: one PCI-Express x16 slot available on the motherboard, 400W or greater power supply, for CrossFire another R7 240 and PCI-Express x16 slot on a AMD CrossFire Ready motherboard are needed, and only up to two cards can be used, minimum 1GB of system memory, and Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 are supported operating systems.

 

 

Lower-end graphics cards rarely have or need much in the way of accessories. The XFX R7 240 is protected by a black anti-static bubble wrap sleeve. With DVI, VGA, and HDMI connectivity most users are covered for immediate connection — DisplayPort is left out, but is not nearly as commonplace, especially at this level. XFX has a list of adapters and connectors with their various models and information on how to get them. A Driver/CD Installation Guide, Quick Install Guide, XFX Warranty Information Guide, AMD Graphics Card Driver CD, XFX Pro Series PSUs advertisement, XFX Warranty card with serial and model number for easier support, and two low-profile adapters round out the accessory pack. AMD CrossFire with these cards does not use or need a CrossFire dongle.

 

 

Next up is a view of the XFX R7 240 in detail!

XFX R7 240 Core Closer Look:

The XFX R7 240 is a low-profile and affordable card. It is at the bottom of performance since it is a budget solution. The R7 240 uses an Oland Pro core based on the Volcanic Islands GCN architecture — produced on 28nm fabrication technology. The memory is 2GB of DDR3 connected through a 128-bit memory bus (from two 64-bit dual channel memory controllers). This is a huge step back on memory bandwidth — some models have GDDR5. DirectX 11.2, Mantle, and OpenGL 4.3 are supported, but TrueAudio Technology is not. Apparently the Video Codec Engine (VCE) is not supported either. Eyefinity is limited to two monitors as well.

The XFX graphics card uses a passive heat sink with a large heat pipe running down its length. The card is a low-profile two-slot design due to the tall passive heat sink. This cooler allows the card to run silently except for any coil-whine that may be present. Video output is through on-board DVI and HDMI, while VGA is provided through a ribbon cable. The two brackets included are to reconfigure the card to fit into low-profile expansion slots. The slot is a full 16-lane in PCI Express 3.0. The back of the card is what you would expect — circuits abound. Four Hynix memory ICs flank the back of the GPU core. Two warranty-void stickers cover two of the four heat sink mount screws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The XFX R7 240 has the XFX logo cut into the expansion slot. Beneath it are the VGA, HDMI, and DVI ports. To swap to the low-profile brackets you have to remove four standoffs and a phillips-head screw and re-install these onto the new brackets. The back of the card is pretty uninteresting, there are no shrouds or power connections — only circuitry. You do get a view of the heat pipe here.

 

 

The sides are fairly open and with the heat sink being taller, it should make cooling more efficient without a fan. A black decorative band of metal has the XFX logo on it. The heat pipe is full length, but bends down to meet the heat sink base as is evident from a side view.

 

 

With the heat sink removed, it is possible to see the AMD Oland Pro Volcanic Islands GCN core. Four more DDR3 Hynix memory ICs were also hiding out under the heat sink. Other than that, the card is pretty sparse — a couple chokes, capacitors, and MOSFETs. It looks like there are two power phases for the core and one for the memory. The AMD Oland Pro core says "made in Malaysia". The core is produced on a 28nm fabrication process. This core has five Compute Units for a total of 320 Stream Processors. There are 20 Texture Units, 32 Z/Stencil ROP Units, 8 Color ROP Units, and 256KB of L2 read/write cache. DirectX 11.2 and OpenGL 4.3 are supported, along with dual-monitor solutions. The memory is Hynix H5TQ2G63BFR-11C 241A NWKBGG55H3. This IC design has been around since 2009 and the information is readily available from the Hynix website. These eight ICs are rated for 900MHz operation with 1.5V, XFX has them set for 800MHz. Hynix became known as SK Hynix in early 2012 after SK Group became a major share holder in the company.

 

On the next page are specifications and a features list for the XFX R7 240!

XFX R7 240 Core Specifications:

General
Product Description : CORE RADEON R7 240
780M BOOST READY 2GB D3 LP HDMI DVI VGA
UPC Number : 778656063174
Processor & Bus
Chipset version : Oland Pro
GPU Boost Clock : 780MHz
GPU Bus (bit) : 128
GPU Clock : 730MHz
Performance Category : Warrior
Stream Processors : 320
Memory
Memory Bus : 128bit
Memory Clock : 1.6GHz
Memory Size : 2GB
Memory Type : DDR3
Feature Technologies
AMD HD3D Technology : Y
AMD Hybrid Graphics Technology : Y
AMD HyperMemory : Y
AMD PowerPlay Technology : Y
AMD Stream Technology : Y
Environmental
RoHS : Y
Display Output
Dual link Support : Y
HDMI Ready : 1.4a
Max Supported Resolution (ANALOG) : 2048 x 1536
Max Supported Resolution (DIGITAL) : 4096 x 2160 (HDMI)
Output - HDMI : 1
Output - SL-DVI-D : 1
Output - VGA : 1
Physical
Card Profile : Single
Thermal Solution : Heatsink
Thermal Type : Dual slot
Card Dimension (cm) : 17.7 x 6.88 x 3.81
Card Dimension (inch) : 6.9 x 2.7 x 1.5
Master Carton Dimensions (cm) : 59.9 x 37.5 x 30.5
Master Carton Dimensions (inch) : 23.58 x 14.76 x 12
Master Carton Weight (Kg) : 12.94 est.
Master Carton Weight (lb) : 28.53 est.
Package Dimensions (cm) : 17.5 x 26.6 x 5.5
Package Dimensions (inch) : 6.9 x 10.5 x 2.1
Package Weight (Kg) : 0.60 est.
Package Weight (lb) : 1.32 est.
Units/Carton : 20
Includes
Driver Disk Installation Guide : 1
Installation DVD : 1
Promotional Bundles : PSU Cross Marketing Insert
Quick Installation Guide : 1
XFX Serial Number Card : 1
Requirements
Minimum Power Supply Requirement : 400 watt
XFX Recommended Power Supply : XFX 450W PSU

 

 

XFX R7 240 Core Edition Features:

 

All information courtesy of XFX @ http://products.xfxforce.com/en-us/Graphics_Cards/AMD_Radeon%E2%84%A2_R7_240/R7-240A-CLH4

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Testing of the XFX R7 240 Core will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 330.58 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 13.11 beta drivers.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

The memory overclock results were incredible; I expected to hit a ceiling much sooner. Pushing much further than this rate would cause instability. Everything was stable throughout testing, I had wondered if some form of ECC was aiding overclocking — multiple tests showed increases of scores even with the clock rates. XFX under-clocked the memory and there is the higher speed IC H5TQ2G63BFR-12C rated for 1000MHz. Maybe it is just a very good bin, the memory timings could be loose, and memory voltage could also be factors. Nonetheless the big boost of memory bandwidth really helped waken this little card up along with a 235MHz core overclock over the Boost speeds. To sum it up, the core speed increased over 30% over Boost speeds and memory 62.5%! The R7 250 reviewed before is the fully unlocked Oland XT core with six compute units, and 1GB GDDR5 memory with more bandwidth. Oddly, the XFX Oland-based graphics cards can only be had with either 1GB of GDDR5 or 1-4GB of DDR3. With the overclock settings it will be neat to see how the XFX R7 240 Core stacks up in comparison to the other cards.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.

 

 

  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
  3. Bioshock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 3
  7. Batman: Arkham City
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  9. 3DMark

 

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the follow-up to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game, set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones, you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results for Metro: Last Light are predictable. At stock clocks, with medium settings, this is more of a fancy slideshow than a game. Overclocking helped raise frame rate by about 7 FPS; still not enough, but at low settings with a smaller resolution I bet it could be done.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the sixth installment in this franchise. Released in mid August 2013 in the US, it is published and distributed by Ubisoft. This game is built around the Unreal 2.5 game engine and uses Havok Physics. A new feature in this third person perspective game, is a new game mechanic called Killing in Motion.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist the XFX R7 240 has the same trend as before. The XFX R7 240 gained approximately 8 FPS while the other two AMD-based cards only gained 2-3 FPS.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Bioshock Infinite, much like the first two installments of the franchise, is a first-person shooter known for its strong story and atmosphere. This third installment of the franchise no longer takes place in the underwater world of Rapture, but in the could city of Columbia. Utilizing many of the gameplay characteristics of the original games, Bioshock Infinite has garnered critical acclaim. Taking the player through a maze of outdoor and indoor scenarios, the action is not constrained by territory. Developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games, this iteration uses the Unreal 3 game engine.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bioshock Infinite was much more playable than previous games. Overclocking showed huge results for all four cards tested. The XFX R7 240 is able to play decently, even at stock.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

This third installment of the Crysis franchise, developed by Crytek and distributed by Electronic Arts, uses the CryEngine 3 game engine and requires a DirectX 11 ready video card and operating system due to its demanding graphics engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing Crysis 3 at stock on the XFX R7 240 was brutal. Overclocking helped, but wasn't enough to make it playable at these settings.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Far Cry 3 is the latest iteration in the Far Cry series. Released in the US in early December 2012, it uses the Dunia 2 game engine and is published and developed by Ubisoft. This action-adventure, first-person shooter offers both single player and multi-player modes.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far Cry 3 was jittery at stock, but overclocking helped on the XFX R7 240. Lowering the settings a little further would greatly enhance playability.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield 3 uses the Frostbite 2 game engine and is the direct successor to Battlefield 2. Released in North America on October 25, 2011, the game supports DirectX 10 and 11.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overclocking the XFX R7 240 helped a ton in Battlefield 3! There is a 9 FPS spread between stock and overclock results.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum released in 2009. This action-adventure game based on DC Comics' Batman super hero was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal 3 engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman: Arkham City is easily playable at the overclock settings on the XFX R7 240. At stock it did well too, but there were a few low frames that caused jitters.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes – Moderate, Normal, and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11, and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unigine Heaven Benchmark is another pretty slideshow on the XFX R7 240. Overclocking increased frames by about 50%!

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

3DMark: The just-released version of Futuremark's popular 3DMark suite is designed to let a wider range of the user base make a comparative analysis of the gaming prowess of their systems from entry level PCs to notebooks and extreme gaming PCs.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 3DMark testing, the XFX R7 240 responded very well to overclocking. While being under-powered in comparison to the other cards, it did come close to the XFX R7 250 in Fire Strike Extreme — comparing R7 240 overclocked to the R7 250 stock.

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1080 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a twenty-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Considering the XFX R7 240 is passively cooled by a fan-less heat sink, I would say it did fantastic! At stock speeds it did average, while overclocked it did a few degrees worse than the NVIDIA card. There is an unused fan header at the back of the card, a 2-pin style common on graphics cards. You can either buy a fan with this header or find adapters. Two 80mm fans strapped to this card with some volt mods would be a great way to push it further!

XFX R7 240 Core Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A fifteen-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest power usage recorded as the final result. The idle results will be measured after fifteen minutes of inactivity on the system with the lowest recorded power usage as the final result.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idle power consumption should be similar between the XFX R7 240 and R7 250 since they are the same architecture — the main differences being: DDR3 vs GDDR5, one Compute Unit, and clock rates. Power results should be obvious, the R7 240 is the least power-consuming because it is the least powerful. At full load the system barely consumed 126 Watts.

XFX R7 240 Core Conclusion:

The XFX R7 240 is a low-end graphics card intended for very casual consumers, those on a tight budget, or office usage. This card is not intended for gaming. Honestly, if you are on a tight budget, but also a gamer, you should be looking at cards from previous generations as they will give more bang-for-your-buck. The XFX R7 240 is the smallest iteration on the GCN architecture — the Oland Pro core is a 28nm die that has five of the six Compute Units enabled for a total of 320 Stream Processors. The R7 250 has all six enabled.

Overclocking was surprising, especially on the memory front. I expected over 1GHz on the core after looking at this architecture. In the end I was able to get 1015MHz core and 1300MHz memory stable! All without having voltages unlocked; the only option was setting the power limit to 20%.

Obviously this line of graphics cards is not intended for hardcore gaming, but for its intended uses it does well. As always, for just a little more money, there are more features higher up. This is the bottom rank of the AMD GPU ladder, but it does have roles to fill. Taking that into consideration, none of those are cons. This card operated perfectly and gave me no issues. As a reminder of the prior points I have listed performance as a con, but really it shouldn't be held against it.

For those looking for a low-profile, dual-slot graphics card, with passive cooling, and this level of performance — the XFX R7 240 is a great solution!

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: