Asus GeForce GT 740 OC budget graphics card review

Asus GeForce GT 740 OC budget graphics card review: A significant step up from the cheapest cards, and still offers great value

Asus' GeForce GT 740 OC budget graphics card offers a significant step up in performance from the cheapest graphics cards, and still offers great value. Read our Asus GeForce GT 740 OC review. (See all budget graphics card reviews.)

If your budget is closer to £65, the Asus GeForce GT 740 OC pushes the hardware ceiling that bit higher than the likes of the Radeon R7 240 and GeForce GT 730. One quick perusal of the specs, and it'll probably be the memory sub-system that impresses the most. For a start, the GDDR3 RAM has been jettisoned in favour of ultra-fast GDDR5. These memory chips allow for faster speeds, giving the manufacturers the chance to wring far more performance from the cards. And boy, does the GT 740 OC make that little extra count. (Also see: How to upgrade your PC's graphics card.)

Whereas the cheaper products were stuck on memory clocks of 800-900MHz, the Asus GeForce GT 740 hits the heady heights of 1250MHz. And because GDDR5 is better than GDDR3 at extending the capabilities of those clocks, the 'effective' difference between this and the cheaper cards becomes even more stunning, its figure of 5GHz finishing a good way ahead of the 1.6-1.8GHz of the cheaper cards. The memory bus itself remains at 128bit, but there's still a gulf in performance when you compare the GT 740's memory bandwidth to that of the R7 240 and GT 730 - whereas those cards record no more than 28.8GB/sec, the GT 740 notches up a massive 80GB/sec. This is also enough to place it ahead of the similarly priced Radeon R7 250X - which reaches just 72GB/sec.

The GT 740 OC also fares rather well in terms of texture handling. Its 32 texture units again give it a significant advantage over the 16-20 of the R7 240 and GT 730. However, while its texture fill rate of 33.1GT/sec is a big improvement on the 11.2-15.6GT/sec of the cheaper cards, the GT 740 still fades when compared to the Radeon R7 250X. The 250X has a lower core clock speed, but more than makes up the ground by having an extra eight texture units, giving it a fill rate of 38GT/sec, some 4.9GT/sec better than the GT 740's. (Also see: What's the best budget graphics card 2015.)

The GT 740 OC also falls behind its rival on stream processors - offering just 384 to its rival's 640. In all honesty, this difference is less dramatic than it might seem at first. The AMD architecture has tended to produce rather more stream processors on average than the nVidia equivalent. This has often not translated into superior performance, so we should take this with a pinch of salt. The 740 OC only has DVI and HDMI outputs - some cards will have DisplayPort as well. A single 6pin connector is required from the PSU, although the GT 740 is relatively light on power - offering a TDP of 60 watts against the 250X's 95. The GT 740 is very much the most efficient and power-conservative card at this price point. (Also see: What's the best graphics card 2015.)

Asus GeForce GT 740 OC: Specs

  • nVidia GeForce GT 740
  • 1GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 28nm manufacturing process
  • 1033MHz core clock
  • 1.25GHz memory clock (5GHz DDR effective)
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 80GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 384 stream processors
  • 32 texture units
  • 16 ROPs
  • 33.1GT/s texture fillrate
  • 1x DVI
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x VGA
  • 1x 6-pin power connector required
  • 60W TDP
  • 3-year warranty
  • nVidia GeForce GT 740
  • 1GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 28nm manufacturing process
  • 1033MHz core clock
  • 1.25GHz memory clock (5GHz DDR effective)
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 80GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 384 stream processors
  • 32 texture units
  • 16 ROPs
  • 33.1GT/s texture fillrate
  • 1x DVI
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x VGA
  • 1x 6-pin power connector required
  • 60W TDP
  • 3-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The GT 740 OC is a very nice card, and a significant step up on the £45+ cards - always above the 30fps mark at 1680x1050, it offers good frame rates as long as you don't seek the highest levels of detail and texturing. However, it's not the top choice at this price point. The 250X is simply faster, generally pulling out an extra 4-5fps on every game. The GT 740 will score well on power consumption, though, and if you're looking to create a decent gaming PC, but one that doesn't produce much wattage, this is a beautifully discreet option.