XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition Video Card Review
By Rafael Otto Coelho on April 24, 2014


Introduction

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Let’s analyze the Radeon R7 250 Core Edition (R7-250A-ZLF4) from the traditional manufacturer XFX, a low profile video card with 1 GiB of GDDR5 memory that competes with the GeForce GT 640 GPU from NVIDIA.

The Radeon R7 250 is a rebranded Radeon HD 8670 chip, although according to AMD, the HD 8670 is compatible with DirectX 11.1 and the R7 250 is DirectX 11.2.

It is important to notice that there are video cards based on the Radeon R7 250 GPU using DDR3 memory running at 1.8 GHz (providing a 28.8 GB/s bandwidth).

The Radeon R7 250 uses the PCI Express 3.0 interface, while its main competitor uses the PCI Express 2.0 interface. Although the chip supports PCI Express 3.0 x16, the video card we tested offers only half of the supported lanes and, therefore, it is a PCI Express 3.0 x8 card.

In the table below, we compare the main specifications for the video cards included in our review. The prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review and do not include rebates.

Video Card

Core Clock

Shader Clock

Memory Clock (Effective)

Memory Interface

Memory Transfer Rate

Memory

Shaders

DirectX

Price

Radeon R7 250

1,050 MHz

1,050 MHz

4.6 GHz

128-bit

73.6 GB/s

1 GiB GDDR5

384

11.2

USD 100.00

GeForce GT 640

900 MHz

1,800 MHz

1.6 GHz

128-bit

25.6 GB/s

2 GiB DDR3

384

11.0

USD 100.00

Radeon R7 240

780 MHz

780 MHz

1.8 GHz

128-bit

28.8 GB/s

2 GiB DDR3

320

11.2

USD 70.00

GeForce GT 630

810 MHz

1,620 MHz

1.33 GHz

128-bit

21.3 GB/s

1 GiB DDR3

96

11.0

USD 70.00

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 an in-depth look at the XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition.

The XFX R7 250 Core Edition

In Figure 1, you can see the box of the XFX R7 250 Core Edition, and Figure 2 shows the board itself. It is a dual-slot, low profile card, with no auxiliary power connector, since its TDP is only 65 W.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
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Figure 1:
Box

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
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Figure 2:
The XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

Figure 3 shows the solder side of the card.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
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Figure 3:
Solder side

The portrayed video card has three connectors: one VGA, one HDMI, and one DVI-D, but supports only two displays at the same time.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
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Figure 4:
Video connectors

The XFX R7 250 Core Edition (Contíd)

The XFX R7 250 Core Edition uses a simple cooler with a 50 mm fan. This cooler does not touch the memory chips. As mentioned, the Radeon R7 250 has a TDP of 65 W. The card is 7.0” (178 mm) long.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
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Figure 5:
Cooler removed

The video card uses a voltage regulator with two phases for the GPU and one phase for the memory chips. The voltage regulator circuit uses a digital design and is controlled by an APW7153B chip. All capacitors are solid.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
click to enlarge
Figure 6:
Voltage regulator

The reviewed video card uses four Elpida W2032BBBG-6A-F GDDR5 chips, each one storing 2 Gbits of data, comprising the 1 GiB of memory available on this video card. These chips can run up to 6,000 MHz. On this video card, they are accessed at 4,600 MHz, which means there is a good margin for safely increasing the memory clock.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
click to enlarge
Figure 7:
One of the four memory chips

The only accessories that come with this video card (besides a manual and a driver disc) are two brackets that can be used to install it in low profile cases, shown in Figure 8.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition
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Figure 8:
Accessories

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

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition (R7-250A-ZLF4) 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.

3DMark

3DMark is a program with a set of three benchmarks: Ice Storm, Cloud Gate, and Fire Strike.

The 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark measures DirectX 9 performance. Since it is compatible with very low-end systems, we ran it in the Extreme mode, which uses the 1920x1080 resolution and high quality textures.

The 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance. It runs at 1280 x 720 resolution.

And the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance, and is aimed on high-end gamer PCs. It runs at 1920x1080 resolution.

 XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

3DMark – Ice Storm Extreme

Score

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

66900

 

GeForce GT 640

44872

33%

Radeon R7 240

42199

37%

GeForce GT 630

32532

51%

 

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

3DMark – Cloud Gate

Score

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

11179

 

GeForce GT 640

8522

24%

Radeon R7 240

7273

35%

GeForce GT 630

5913

47%

  

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

3DMark – Fire Strike

Score

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

2014

 

GeForce GT 640

1399

31%

Radeon R7 240

1109

45%

GeForce GT 630

772

62%

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Released in 2013, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag uses the AnvilNext DirectX 11 engine. We adjusted the resolution at 1920x1080, setting all image quality options to “high”, adjusting anti-aliasing to “FXAA,” and disabling “vsync,” then played the first mission of the game three times, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition 

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

FPS

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

22

 

GeForce GT 640

16

27%

Radeon R7 240

13

41%

GeForce GT 630

9

59%

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is the latest installment in the Battlefield franchise, released in 2013. It is based on the Frostbite 3 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we walked our way through the first mission three times, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920x1080, setting overall image quality at “medium.”

The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

 XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

Battlefield 4

FPS

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

45

 

GeForce GT 640

29

36%

Radeon R7 240

26

42%

GeForce GT 630

18

60%

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is the most recent addition to the popular FPS franchise. It was released in 2013.

It is based on the Dunia 2 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we played the first mission three times, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920x1080, setting overall image quality at “medium.”

The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

 XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

FPS

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

25

 

GeForce GT 640

21

16%

Radeon R7 240

14

44%

GeForce GT 630

13

48%

Splinter Cell Blacklist

Splinter Cell Blacklist is an action/stealth game launched in 2013, based on the LEAD (Unreal 2.5) engine.

In order to measure performance using this game, we played the “Safehouse” mission three times, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920x1080, setting overall image quality at “high.”

The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

 XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

Splinter Cell Blacklist

FPS

Difference

XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition

26

 

GeForce GT 640

17

35%

Radeon R7 240

12

54%

GeForce GT 630

10

62%

Conclusions

Being a value video card, the Radeon R7 250 is not aimed on gamers who want to play the most recent titles. It is intended to be used as a replacement for the CPU’s integrated graphics for general use, or for casual gameplay.

In our tests, the frame rate in recent games, with medium or high quality in 1920x1080 resolution, was a little low for a good gameplay. On the other hand, the card actually ran those games and, at lower resolution and video quality settings, a casual player can actually use it to have fun even with high demanding games.

The Radeon R7 250 with 1 GiB GDDR5 was faster than the GeForce GT 640 in all tests. But you need to keep in mind that, if you compare a Radeon R7 250 card with DDR3 memory and a GeForce GT 640 card with GDDR5, this picture can be different. This is a problem with low-end/mainstream video cards: memory configurations can vary a lot from one model to another, making different cards based on the same chip to show a big difference in performance.

Finally, we can say that, if you are looking for a value video card for casual gaming, the XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition is a good choice.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/XFX-Radeon-R7-250-Core-Edition-Video-Card-Review/1848


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