GeForce GT 440 512 MB GDDR5 vs. 1 GB DDR3 Video Card Review
By Gabriel Torres on May 10, 2011


Introduction

The GeForce GT 440, an entry-level DirectX 11 video card, can come with two memory configurations: 512 MB GDDR5 running at 3.2 GHz (51.2 GB/s) or 1 GB DDR3 running at 1.8 GHz (28.8 GB/s), both costing exactly the same. So, which is the better option, a GeForce GT 440 with less but faster memory, or a GeForce GT 440 with more but slower memory? Check it out.

In the table below, you can see the differences between the two video cards.

Video Card

Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock (Real)

Memory Clock (Effective)

Memory Interface

Memory Transfer Rate

Memory

Shaders

Price

GeForce GT 440

810 MHz

1.62 GHz

900 MHz

1.8 GHz

128-bit

28.8 GB/s

1 GB DDR3

96

USD 76 – 90

GeForce GT 440

810 MHz

1.62 GHz

1.6 GHz

3.2 GHz

128-bit

51.2 GB/s

512 MB GDDR5

96

USD 76 – 90

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table and NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table tutorials. 

Now let’s take a complete look at the two versions of the GeForce GT 440.

The GeForce GT 440

We bought the two GeForce GT 440 video cards from the same vendor, Sparkle. The 512 MB version seems to be a reference model provided by NVIDIA, since it has “NVIDIA” written on it. The 1 GB version seems to be designed by Sparkle.

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 1: GeForce GT 440 512 MB GDDR5 (left) and 1 GB DDR (right)

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 2: GeForce GT 440 512 MB GDDR5 (left) and 1 GB DDR (right)

Both of them have one HDMI, one VGA, and one DVI-D connector.

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 3: Video connectors

The GeForce GT 440 (Contíd)

In Figure 4, you can see the video cards with their coolers removed. Both use only solid capacitors and ferrite-core coils (which make the regulator present higher efficiency because they present lower energy loss than iron-core coils). The voltage regulator circuit of the 512 MB GDDR5 model has one phase for the graphics chip and one phase for the memory chips, which is a low-end configuration. The 1 GB DDR3 model, however, has two phases for the graphics chip and one phase for the memory.

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 4: Video cards with their cooler removed

The GPU heatsink used by these models from Sparkle can be seen in Figures 5 and 6. It is an all-aluminum model with a 65 mm fan.

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 5: The GPU heatsink

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 6: The GPU heatsink

The main difference between the two cards is, obviously, on the memory configuration. The 512 MB model uses four 1 Gbit GDDR5 memory chips that make up its 512 MB of memory (1 Gbit x 4 = 512 MB). The chips used are H5GQ1H24AFR-T0C parts from Hynix, which support up to 2 GHz (4 GHz DDR), and since this video card memory is accessed at 1.6 GHz (3.2 GHz DDR), there is a 25% margin for you to increase the memory clock rate while keeping the chips inside the maximum they support. Of course, you can always try to overclock the memory chips above their specs.

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 7: Memory chip used on the 512 MB GDDR5 version

The 1 GB model from Sparkle uses 16 512 Mbit DDR3 memory chips that make up its 1 GB of memory (512 Mbit x 16 = 1 GB). The chips used are SP64H51208D3-13X parts from a company labeled SPower, however, there is no such company listed on the entire Internet, so it is obviously a sub-brand from another company. Unfortunately, we don’t know who is the real manufacturer.

GeForce GT 440
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Figure 8: Memory chips used on the 1 GB DDR3 version

Before seeing the performance results, let’s recap the main features of this video card.

Main Features

The main specifications for the GeForce GT 440 video card include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

How We Tested

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Driver Versions

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, exactly what will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

To get accurate results, we had to disable the 80 FPS limit in the game. To do this, input the command, “/seta com max fps 1000” (minus the quotes) into the console (` key). It can be set to any number greater than 200.

We ran this program at two 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1440x900 and 1680x1050, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was set to the maximum values in the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the internal game benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo here for downloading if you want to run your own benchmarks. We ran the demo five times, and the results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each video card.

GeForce GT 440

Call of Duty 4 - Maximum

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

62.1

9%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

56.8

 

GeForce GT 440

Call of Duty 4 - Maximum

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

45.8

13%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

40.4

 

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a very popular DirectX 9 game that was released in 2010. Though this game uses an old version of DirectX, the number of textures that can be represented on one screen can push most of the top-end graphics cards to their limits (especially when the graphics settings are set at “ultra”). StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty uses its own physics engine that is bound to the CPU and thus does not benefit from PhysX.

We tested this game at 1440x900 and 1680x1050. The quality of the game was set to the “medium” preset, disabling both anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. We then used FRAPS to collect the frame rate of a replay on the “Unit Testing” custom map. We used a battle between very large armies to stress the video cards.

GeForce GT 440

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

78.1

2%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

76.4

 

GeForce GT 440

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

73.6

3%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

71.6

 

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead is a DirectX 10 game based on the same engine as the original Crysis, but optimized (it runs under DirectX 9.0c when installed on Windows XP).

We used the HardwareOC Crysis Warhead Benchmark Tool to collect the data for this test. We ran this program at 1440x900 and 1680x1050 at “high” image quality (but with no anti-aliasing and no anisotropic filtering) and using the Airfield demo. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.

GeForce GT 440

Crysis Warhead

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

28.2

8%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

26.1

 

GeForce GT 440

Crysis Warhead

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

22.4

11%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

20.2

 

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2 is based on an entirely new game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10 when played under Windows Vista with a DirectX 10 compatible video card.

We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game at 1440x900 and 1680x1050, setting image quality to “high” (with no anti-aliasing) and running the “Ranch Long” demo three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

GeForce GT 440

Farcry 2

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

66.70

5%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

63.41

 

GeForce GT 440

Farcry 2

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

49.34

4%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

47.36

 

Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator is a DirectX 11 game that makes full use of tessellation and advanced shadow rendering. We used the Aliens vs. Predator Benchmark Tool developed by Rebellion. This program reads its configuration from a text file (our configuration files can be found here). We ran this program at 1440x900 and 1680x1050, with texture set at “low,” shadows set at “low,” no anisotropic filtering and no anti-aliasing.

GeForce GT 440

Aliens vs. Predator

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

20.0

9%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

18.4

 

GeForce GT 440

Aliens vs. Predator

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

16.5

6%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

15.6

 

Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2 is a game that uses a lot of DirectX 11 features, like tessellation (to round out the edges of polygonal models), displacement maps (added to the tessellated mesh to add fine grain details), DirectCompute soft body simulation (to introduce more realism in the “boss” monsters), and DirectCompute wave simulation (to introduce more realism in the physics calculations in water surfaces; when you move or when gunshots and explosions hit the water, it moves accordingly). We reviewed the video cards using Lost Planet 2 internal benchmarking features, choosing the “Benchmark A” (we know that “Benchmark B” is the one recommended for reviewing video cards, however, at least with us, results were inconsistent). We set graphics at “medium,” no anti-aliasing and DX11 at “full,” at 1440x900 and 1680x1050. The results below are the number of frames per second generated by each video card.

GeForce GT 440

Lost Planet 2

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

29.0

8%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

26.8

 

GeForce GT 440

Lost Planet 2

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

20.4

6%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

19.2

 

3DMark 11 Professional

3DMark 11 Professional measures Shader 5.0 (i.e., DirectX 11) performance. We ran this program at 1440x900 and 1680x1050, selecting the four graphics tests available and deselecting the other tests available. We used two image quality settings, “performance” and “extreme,” both at their default settings. The results being compared are the “GPU Score” achieved by each video card.

GeForce GT 440

3DMark Vantage - Entry

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

1004

6%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

946

 

GeForce GT 440

3DMark Vantage - Entry

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

874

5%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

834

 

 

GeForce GT 440

3DMark 11 - Performance

1440x900

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

939

6%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

887

 

GeForce GT 440

3DMark 11 - Performance

1680x1050

Difference

GeForce GT 440 (512 MB GDDR5)

736

6%

GeForce GT 440 (1 GB DDR3)

692

 

Conclusions

This review was done to answer a simple question: which one is better for a GeForce GT 440, more memory or more memory bandwidth (i.e., speed available between the graphics and the memory chips)?

Our results are clear. Except on StarCraft II, where both models achieved the same performance level, the 512 MB GDDR5 model was between 4% and 13% faster than the 1 GB DDR3 model. Since they cost exactly the same thing, you should pick the model with the faster memory, although you will have less video memory available (which is not a problem).

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/GeForce-GT-440-512-MB-GDDR5-vs-1-GB-DDR3-Video-Card-Review/1272


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