Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The EVGA GT 640 rev 2. (GK208) GDDR5 SC

In a previous post I mentioned a video card upgrade.  Sad to say but the card was faulty, and had issues and I had to RMA it.  But the replacement arrived and it is working well.

The card I had:

EVGA GT 220 1GB GDDR3  (the 01G-P3-1226-LR) 

Nice HTPC card, low power, a bit overpriced but popular amongst Linux users wanting a little 3D oomph for video and/or occasional 3D application.

For the replacement, I basically wanted a similar card, quiet, low power draw, no additional 6 pin power needed.  And I needed Nvidia...because Nvidia cards perform better on Linux.

So I googled around and didn't find anything that seemed a good fit for my needs and budget...at least not till after Christmas shopping with an Amazon gift card when I found this, which I hadn't recalled seeing:

EVGA GeForce GT 640 Superclocked 1 GB GDDR5 64-Bit DVI-I HDMI Ready Graphics Card 01G-P3-2642-KR

I might not have seen it because until recently, GT 640's with GDDR5 were rare...they were at one time OEM only.  Also there are at least 4 versions of the GT640.  No, really, 4 versions at least.  You have to pay close attention to tell them apart.

There's the original Fermi version that has separate core and shader clocks but has only 144 CUDA cores.

Then TWO Kepler GK107 versions with core/shader clocks at the same speed, one with DDR3 and one with GDDR5 (which at the time was OEM only)  Some people did everything they could do to try to get the GDDR5 version.  AFAIK only Dell made theirs relatively available.

Then last  year (May) came the GK208 "Rev 2." version with GDDR5.  It seems to be a rare card, the only review I've seen for Rev 2. GT 640 is for the Gainward version.

Because of this, there's all sorts of confliciting info, because there's at least two versions of the GK208 die.  For example some sources say this card has 16 TMU's but others 32.  Considering EVGA says it's texture fill is higher than a stock GT 650's...I'm leaning towards the 32.

Here's the EVGA product sheet for it, it's hard to find.  The card itself isn't listed in EVGA's products.  I don't know why, it's easily one of the better HTPC cards in this configuration, perhaps because it might cut into sales of the higher priced 650's?  I got my card for $89, try finding one at that price now..they're going for over $100 now and they're out of stock on Newegg. Unlike the GT 650, (and the previous versions of the GT 640) the Rev 2 versions come with full size HDMI jacks not those silly mHDMI ones so you don't need one of those silly mini-HDMI to standard HDMI adapters.  It is, however, wide enough to be a 2-slot card though it doesn't have a 2-slot bracket so you might mistake it as a single slot card...it isn't.

Here's the specs for the 640's

and the 650

But this EVGA version is factory overclocked and has a separate faster shader clock.  Several sites mentioned the card easily had the thermal legroom to do it in the GK107 version and the GK208 runs cooler and uses less power.  It runs cooler and uses less power than the GT220 even.

It's still a crap card for SL, I mean sure, it doubles the frame rate with shadows and DoF on, but it's still not a great card.  It won't bust your budget or eardrums though.

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