Introduction

GIGABYTE was founded in 1986 and is committed to providing top-notch solutions that upgrade your life. Gigabyte has continuously brought unique new ways of digital worlds and created marvelous products that empower the users with meaningful and charming experiences. Gigabyte carries a wide range of the product lines including motherboards, graphics cards, PC Chassis, Power Supply Units, Laptops/Notebooks, Peripherals, desktop PCs and what not and currently stands among the few top manufacturers of the PC World. Aorus is a pinnacle of Gigabyte hardware excellence, to provide a full spectrum of innovative gaming products that deliver the ultimate performance and exemplify PC’s capability of bringing gamers unprecedented delights.

I was surprised, to say the least when Easetec sent me Gigabyte GT 730 graphics card for the review. My instant question was, “Why now? What would two generations old, basic entry level card bring them out of this content?” They were persistent in their call to test the card and see how it holds up. Gigabyte GT 730 is based on Kepler architecture. Since we are ready to welcome the new generation from Nvidia and already have seen Maxwell and Pascal, I will not be discussing the Kepler architecture here. GT 730 features GK208 chip from Nvidia having a 28nm technology and 87mm² die size. The card I am looking at is GV-N730D3-2GI with 2GB DDR3 VRAM and 64-bit interface. It is clocked at 902MHz. Memory clock is 1800MHz. It supports PCIe 2.0. This card is actually a graphics accelerator.

  • Product: GeForce GTX 730
  • Manufacturer: GIGABYTE
  • Price: PKR 7,800/- [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The card comes in a standard cardboard box. On the top side, there is a Gigabyte brand name printed on the top left. 2GB DDR3 is printed in a stamped format on the left side. The card is compliant with PCIe 3.0 motherboards. Card’s model no is printed on the bottom right side. 2048MB DDR3 is printed on the bottom right side. The backside of the packaging box has GEFORCE GT 730 is printed on the top left side. Main features of the card are printed in 9 different languages. There is a large sticker pasted on the right side having EAN, UPC, serial no printed on it. The opening side of the box has Gigabyte printed on the left side and GT 730 printed on the right side. The left and right side have identical printouts except that on the right side there is additional printing content with salient features of the card. The rear side is identical to the opening side.

 

Accessories

There are not a bunch of accessories supplied with this card. There are a quick guide and the Installation CD in the parcel.

Closer Look

The GT series of graphics cards from Nvidia are rather Graphics Accelerator rather than gaming. The GT 730 is not an exception to that. Nvidia targeted the GT 730 to accelerate the multimedia experience using the dedicated graphics card and to deliver 3x faster gaming performance than the integrated graphics. The Gigabyte GT 730 GV-N730D3-2GI is Gigabyte’s take on the GEFORCE GT 730. It is a single slot design with the small form factor. The dimension of the card is 27x167x115mm (HxLxW). The card supports maximum digital resolution of 4096×2160 through HDMI connector. It supports maximum Analog resolution of 2048×1536. Despite being that small it can hook up to 3 displays with HD content. The card has a support for DX12 and OpenGL 4.4. Recommended PSU Wattage is 300W.

 

The card has a simple design to it without any fancy lighting and backplate of any sort. The PCB is in blue color and made in China. There is a single 80mm fan delivering the cooling requirements of this card. There is a Gigabyte printed sticker pasted on the motor hub of the fan. There is a single aluminum block which is cut to mimic the fan-like design. This aluminum heatsink is covering the GPU and probably the VRAM chips. Something shocked me, to say the least when looking at the PCIe connector. GV-N630D3-2GI Rev: 1.0 is printed above the PCIe connector. Gigabyte is this a typo? Anyhow, GPU-Z confirmed it to be the GT 730 so it is GT 730 indeed. Nomenclature is something confusing. There is a single 3-pin header on the left side of the fan to power up the fan. The fan is throwing fresh air directly on the GPU, VRAM and power delivery sub-components on the PCB. There are pinout reading points on the right side of the PCB for additional referencing.

The backside of the card is as simple as it could get. There is no backplate which is understandable. There is a serial no sticker pasted on the left side. None of the spring-loaded screws are covered with Warranty Void sticker. I did not remove the cooler from the PCB due to restriction from the source. To remove the cooler, remove the spring loaded screws from the backside of the PCB. As expected, there is no power connector on this card. It is taking 75W from the PCIe slot of the motherboard. The card is featuring the Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 2 technology. It is using Low RDS (on) MOSFET Design and Ferrite Core Choke Design to minimize the power loss and all solid capacitors design.

There are 3 connectivity options on the I/O panel:

  • HDMI
  • Dual Link DVI-D
  • D-Sub

The card has a capability to support up to 3 displays for HD content.

Test Bench

Following test bench setup was used to test the performance of the graphics card:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Ballistix Elite 4x8GB @ 3000MHz
  • Noctua NH-D15
  • Corsair AX1200i
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD for OS
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB
  • PrimoChill Praxis WetBench

The CPU is overclocked to the 4.0GHz to avoid any bottlenecking. Following games have been tested: –

  • Battlefield 1 [DX11]
  • DOOM [Vulkan]
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • The Witcher 3
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider [DX11]
  • Call of Duty: World War II
  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider [DX11]

Microsoft Windows 10 x64 version 1702 was used. Nvidia graphics driver version 388.13 were used. FPS were monitored using MSI After Burner 4.40. Game settings were set from within the games, not from the GeForce Experience. All the reported framerates are average. All the games were tested at 1280×720 resolution.

Following synthetic benchmarks were used:

  • 3dMark
  • Unigine Superposition

Previously Unigine Heaven and Valley were a part of our testing but they have been dropped and only superposition will be featured from onwards. Let’s take a look at graphs.

3dMark

Since this is a graphics accelerator, I ran the Cloud Gate, Sky Diver benchmarks on it. Just for a reference purpose, Firestrike was also run on this card.

Unigine Superposition

The test was run on 720P Low and I have included the FPS numbers in the graph as well to indicate its gaming performance.

Battlefield 1

The game was tested on Low settings at 1280×720 resolution. 35.5 FPS was the count and gameplay was not pleasing at all.

DOOM

DOOM was tested using Vulcan API and Low settings at 1280×720 resolution. 22 FPS was the count.

Grand Theft Auto – V

Grand Theft Auto – V was tested at low setting without FXAA and MSAA at 1280×720 resolution. 49.16 FPS was the count. It was the only game with decent FPS though gameplay at lower resolution was not pleasing.

 Sniper Elite 4

This game was tested at low settings on 1280×720 resolution. 22.8 FPS was the count.

 Call of Duty: WWII

This game was tested at Normal settings on 1280×720 resolution. 24.8 FPS was the count.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The game was tested on low settings at 1280×720 resolution. 20.99 FPS was the count.

The Witcher 3

The game was tested on low settings at 1280×720 resolution. 16 FPS was the count.

The maximum temperature on the card was 61°C under stress testing. This was with the ambient temperature of 35°C. Though I did not measure the acoustic of the fan, it was silent. The card was tested on the open air test bench system which is close to where I sit. Under load, the system was drawing power of 290W. Mind you this is with the 140W TDP CPU.

Conclusion

Gigabyte GT 730 is a media accelerator graphics card coming from Nvidia’s GT series of cards. It is there to accelerate the multimedia performance of the given system using the dedicated card and to improve the gaming performance over the integrated graphics. This card is featuring the GK208 chip from the Nvidia with 28nm technology and 87 mm² die size. It has 8 ROPs and 32 TMUs. It has 384 shader units with pixel fillrate of 7.2 GP/s and Texture fillrate of 28.9 GT/s. This card has 2GB Samsung DDR3 chips with 64-bit interface with the bandwidth of 14.4 GB/s. This card supports DX12 and DX11. It supports PCIe 2.0 bus in addition to being compatible with the PCIe 3.0 motherboards. The chip is clocked at 902MHz and memory is clocked at 1800MHz. In terms of connectivity, this card has an HDMI port, D-Sub port, and Dual Link DVI-D port. It has a support for up to 3 displays with HD content. It has a single slot design and a small form factor design. There is no backplate or fancy RGB lighting on it which is understandable given its price and functionality.

The card is listed at PKR 7800/- at the time of the review. I have tested 7 games on this card all on 1280×720 resolution at low settings. Even then the average FPS count across all games was in the 20s with exception of few games. Since my i7 6850k does not have an integrated graphics, I can’t quantify the performance comparison between the Gigabyte GT 730 and integrated graphics. This card is intended for multimedia and rendering purposes than gaming and this is where this card would shine in particular. If you are in the market looking for media accelerator or looking for a card with better performance than the integrated graphics, you may want to take a look at the Gigabyte GT 730. If you are in the market looking for a budget graphics cards to drive your today’s gaming requirement at higher resolution, then this card may not be adequate for your requirement.