Not too long ago, both AMD and Nvidia introduced new cards for the budget segment, costing around £60 - £70. AMD came out with the Radeon HD 7730, and Nvidia has a new version of the GeForce GT 640. We compared the two budget cards to each other, and to other similar cards.
AMD Radeon HD 7730
The Radeon HD 7730 is based on the 28nm Cape Verde GPU, which we first saw in the Radeon HD 7770 and Radeon HD 7750. Out of the total of 640 shader units, only 384 are enabled on the 7730. The GPU clock frequency has been reduced to 800 MHz. The 128-bit memory bus has been left intact, and that's impressive for a budget card.
There are two versions of AMD's card that cost almost the same. The one with 1 GB RAM uses GDDR5 memory running at 1125 MHz. Since GDDR5 can transmit data four times per clock tick, that corresponds to a memory clock frequency of 4500 MHz. The 2 GB model has standard DDR3 memory running at 900 MHz. DDR3 transmits data twice per clock tick, which translates to a virtual clock frequency of 1800 MHz. That means the 1 GB RAM will be much faster than the 2 GB RAM. For the resolutions that these cards are capable of, it's debatable whether that extra 1 GB is of any use.
Like the other 7000 cards, the Radeon HD 7730 is DirectX 11.1 compatible, and it contains AMDs UVD3 video decoder.
Sapphire sent us the Radeon HD 7730 2GB, which is available for an average of £65, compared to £63 for the 1 GB model. It's not a huge card with a modest cooler and single fan. It has three monitor connectors: VGA, HDMI and Dual-link DVI.
The Radeon HD 7730 basically takes the place of the Radeon HD 6670 for this price segment. The Radeon HD 6670 is based on the 40nm Turks GPU from the previous generation, containing 480 shader units and running at 800 MHz. The 1 GB 6670 had 1000 MHz GDDR5 RAM. Since it has 40 nm instead of 28 nm transistors, its TDP is 66 watts, compared to the 47 watts of the 7730.