Nvidia’s DDR4-powered GT 1030 GPU is an abomination

Nvidia's DDR4-powered GTX 1030 GPU is an abomination

Nvidia’s DDR4-powered GT 1030 GPU is an abomination

Almost three months ago it was discovered that Nvidia had released a DDR4-powered variant of their GT 1030 graphics card, offering the same core configuration as its GDDR5-based counterpart while also delivering a staggering 66% drop in memory bandwidth, leaving the GPU crippled when it comes to gaming applications. 

DDR4 memory on a 64-bit bus is roughly equivalent to using single-channel memory in desktop terms, leaving the GT 1030 DDR4 with less memory bandwidth than an AMD Ryzen APU-based system with dual channel memory, especially with the memory clocked at a lowly 2100MHz. 

This change in specifications leaves Nvidia’s DDR4 GT 1030 in a position where it is extremely easy to hit memory bandwidth limitations, after all, there is a reason why higher-end Nvidia graphics cards use GDDR5 or faster memory on considerably larger memory bus sizes. This is what we had to say when we first heard about Nvidia’s DDR4-based GT 1030. 


Without dedicated testing, it is hard to know how much of a performance impact this downgrade would have on the GT 1030’s performance, though it is worth noting that the GT 1030’s memory configuration is equivalent to a single-channel memory configuration on a desktop CPU (64-bit). To be honest, it is hard not to see this having a negative impact on the gaming performance of the GT 1030, as we have seen AMD’s APUs suffer in this regard with over two times the memory bandwidth, albeit shared between a CPU and GPU. 

 
Today, we have dedicated like-for-like testing between Nvidia’s DDR4 and GDDR5-based GT 1030 graphics cards, revealing once and for all how much the memory bandwidth limitation of DDR4 affect the graphics card. 

Gamers Nexus goes into much deeper detail in their Gigabyte GT 1030 D4 2G review, calling Nvidia’s GTX 1030 DDR4 “A Disgrace of a Graphics Card”. The frametime graph below should show you why, with the DDR4-based GT 1030 taking around 2x as long to render a frame as its GDDR5-based variant. We will not go into further detail regarding this review here, as we recommend that you look at Gamer Nexus‘ results first hand. 

  

Nvidia's DDR4-powered GTX 1030 GPU is an abomination

(Image from Gamers Nexus)

  
With performance numbers like this, it is hard to call Nvidia’s DDR4 GT 1030 as worthy of holding the GT 1030 name, offering users a colossal performance downgrade in gaming performance thanks to its inadequate memory performance. 

Calling this a performance downgrade is an understatement, especially given how easy it is for consumers to purchase a DDR4-based version instead of a GDDR5-based version accidentally. Is it wrong for consumers to expect almost identically named products from Nvidia to offer similar performance? 

You can join the discussion on Nvidia’s DDR4-based GTX 1030 graphics card on the OC3D Forums.