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Savvy Duck Reviews: EVGA GeForce 210 Video Card
|Low-end video cards are many in number, but they can vary from decent to unreliable, satisfactory to downright awful. You'l never get spectacular performance, of cource, from a low-end card, but for a cost-conscious computer user who wants some basic graphics capabilities, it can be a great solution. So how does this one stack up? Can it provide the power necessary to play today's computer games? What are its limitations? You can find out that and more here.|
- Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x16
- Ports: VGA, DVI, HDMI
- Memory Type: DDR3
- Memory Amount: 512MB
- Clock Speed: 520 MHz
- Shader Clock Speed: 1238 MHz
- Effective Memory Clock Speed: 1200 MHz
- Stream Processors: 16 MHz
- DirectX: 10.1
- OpenGL: 3.1
The Box's Contents The card is very easy to install; just pop it in and run the CD. No complaints there. I have encountered and used two versions of this card, the 512-P3-1310-LR and the 512-P3-1311-KR, but they are nearly identical, so I will refer to both of them in this article. These cards come with the typical tiny manual and installation CD, and the card itself is physically small. In fact, the VGA port is removable, so you can use the EVGA 210 as a low-profile card, though only the 512-P3-1311-KR comes with a low-profile bracket. As far as I am aware, the only other difference between the two models is the cooling. The 512-P3-1310-LR includes a fan while the 512-P3-1311-KR is passively cooled. I have had problems with the fan in the LR (see reliability below), so I would definitely recommend finding the KR if you are interested in this card.
Technically, the EVGA 210 is highly capable. It is compatible with current standards and technologies in gaming and video display (as of the writing of this article). In fact, it has impressive screen output capabilities, supporting up to 2560x1600 resolution. I have installed a dozen of these in various types of computers while performing upgrades and repairs in the last year and a half or so, and subjectively, I would say that while the 210 appears flawless in the implementation of current technologies, its capabilities within those constraints are limited. While a card like this will never be up to the task of rendering video for the most graphically-intensive games, even mid-range games using this card suffer from low frame rates, low texture resolution, and the other typical pitfalls of an underpowered card.
While the performance of the EVGA 210 may be somewhat lacking, its reliability is another story. Of the dozed or so of these cards I have installed (including one on my own system), I have only ever had one develop a problem. A few months after installing a 512-P3-1310-LR for a customer, I was making a second service call to his business about an unrelated issue. While I was there, I noticed a buzzing inside his computer, and with his permission, I opened it up and tested the fans. Sure enough, the card I had installed a few months back had a flaw in the fan which caused it to develop a buzzing noise; the fan had become slightly loose and was vibrating against its housing. I replaced the card with a 512-P3-1311-KR and it has been running just fine ever since. So again, if you want one of these cards, I recommend that you seek out the KR model.
This is an all-around great budget video card. It includes all basic capabilities and some more advanced ones. It can output to high-resolution displays and TVs, and runs great with modern 3D-accelerated operating systems. However, if you want to use it for more than very basic gaming, I would recommend either looking elsewhere or reading your game's recommended specs carefully to make sure this card is up to the task. Other than that caveat though, go for it.