For the lowest-end video cards, a common practice by manufacturers is to substitute in slower VRAM – recently, this meant swapping out GDDR5 for DDR3 – saving costs in a product that typically would not be able to utilize the extra memory bandwidth. For quite some time now, we have been used to seeing DDR3 in those ultra low-end cards – until now. Sometime last month, NVIDIA quietly released the GeForce GT 1030 DDR4, with several models filtering out through add-in board partners.

In addition to slower-clocked DDR4 VRAM, the GT 1030 DDR4’s core clocks have also been reduced, though the exact boost clocks differ between custom boards. The end result of 2100Mbps DDR4 from 6008Mbps GDDR5 does reduce the bandwidth from around 48 GB/s to 16.8 GB/s, though with no change to memory size and bus width. It appears that the DDR4 variants are also lower power, with a 20W TDP as opposed to 30W.

Specifications of Selected NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 Cards
  Palit GT 1030 MSI GT 1030 Gigabyte Low Profile GT 1030
Base Clock 1227 MHz 1151 MHz 1265 MHz 1189 MHz 1227 MHz (Gaming) 1151 MHz (Gaming)
1252 MHz (OC) 1177 MHz (OC)
Boost Clock 1468 MHz 1379 MHz 1518 MHz 1430 MHz 1468 MHz 
1379 MHz 
1506 MHz (OC) 1417 MHz (OC)
VRAM Clocks 6000 Mbps 2100 Mbps 6008 Mbps 2100 Mbps 6008 Mbps 2100 Mbps
Capacity 2 GB
Bus Width 64-bit
Power Consumption 30W 20W 30W 20W unspecified

Interestingly, some of the listed documentation shows two different core names: “GP108-300” and “GP108-310.” But while “GP108” is affiliated with the lower-clocked, lower TDP DDR4 variant, certain GDDR5 models (AERO ITX 2G OC, AERO ITX 2G OCV1, 2G LP OC, 2G LP OCV1, 2G LP OCV2) list both core names in their specification sheets but with everything else unchanged, leaving it unclear what the differences are between these two GP108 bins.

The official NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 product page mentions nothing of the change, though it does note that specifications of partner board may vary. In any case, each of the model names bar one differentiate the peculiarity with a “D4” moniker. Though the consequence of the bandwidth difference is much less with such low-end cards, particularly with ones under a tighter power budget, it is unclear how much of a performance hit this entails.

Nevertheless, given the overall shift away from DDR3 production, we should soon see future lower-end cards equipped with DDR4 over DDR3.

Source: MSI (via SH SOTN)

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  • mode_13h - Saturday, April 7, 2018 - link

    I know that, but @StevoLincolnite didn't say anything about cost.
  • StevoLincolnite - Sunday, April 8, 2018 - link

    I thought it would have been common sense if you were looking at the 1030.
  • StevoLincolnite - Sunday, April 8, 2018 - link

    Let me reiterate. "Consumer cards".
    Always someone who needs to be pedantic. xD
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - link

    Well, you can overclock the Ryzen IGP too. Overclock the bejesus out of it and run it with 3400+ RAM. So IDK seems like it would still run neck and neck. If you're buying higher-end chips for Intel OR AMD, the 1030 isn't enough. If you're going AMD on a budget, decent graphics are bundled in. So the best use case for the 1030 is Intel on a budget, and for the part of the market it does fine.

    With that being said, the DDR4 model is likely going to be a performance embarrassment unless they're selling it for $60. OEMs will love it though.
  • StevoLincolnite - Sunday, April 8, 2018 - link

    I think Pascal has proven itself in regards of how high she can clock though.
  • Harry_Wild - Thursday, April 5, 2018 - link

    There are now 1050 low profile 4GDDR card out there but have been mark up over MSRP. They seem to have cut corners when it comes to noise management features like the fan does not slow down or turn off when not needed for example. I will wait till they add back features found in the full size 1050 before I make purchase. Quietness is a top priority for me!
  • sburton84 - Saturday, April 7, 2018 - link

    I think the 1030 could also be a viable choice for older PCs like say C2D, C2Q, PCs from say 2007 till 2010 where a higher graphics card like say a 1050 or 1060 or higher would get bottlenecked.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, April 5, 2018 - link

    There are a lot of retired small-form factor business desktop PCs that have hard-to-replace power supplies. A 1030 is a significant upgrade for something like that where the upgrading the CPU or installing full height GPU isn't easily done. Also the 1030 anywhere between 3x and 5x faster than current Intel iGPUs (less Iris Pro and the new Radeon HBM versions).
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - link

    Hi Nate! One missing detail that is a make-or-break one for my interests (HTPC use): what spec is the HDMI port on these new lower-end cards? If the card supports the recent (current) HDMI standards, it might salvage my rig until the cryptomining craze dies down and prices for better cards return to planet earth.
  • evilspoons - Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - link

    Well, I can't speak to this new variant of the 1030 but I have an early GDDR5 one as an HTPC card and it works great. It has full HEVC hardware decoding that works in Kodi on Windows and supports HDMI 2.0b.

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