There’s no doubt that the GPU shortage is really bad, but we never knew it was this desperate. In response to the overwhelming shortage of graphics cards, MSI is releasing a new GT 730 graphics card, which is seven years old.
Nvidia’s GT 730 launched in 2014, back when entry-level graphics cards would use DDR3 memory. This new card also comes with 2GB of DDR3 memory on a 64-bit bus, along with 384 CUDA cores and a 902MHz boost clock.
This isn’t a gaming card, and it was never meant to be. Passively cooled and powered through the PCIe slot, the GT 730 is a discrete graphics card and nothing else. MSI is releasing it specifically for builders who are using a processor without integrated graphics, such as AMD’s Ryzen series and Intel’s F-series processors. You soon won’t be able to use it for gaming at all, in fact. Nvidia will end support for the Kepler architecture — which is behind this version of the GT 730 — in an upcoming GeForce driver.
Still, the GT 730 is the second-most popular card from Nvidia’s 700-series, according to the most recent Steam hardware survey. For some context, the GT 730 earned a graphics score of 297 in 3DMark Time Spy. AMD’s RX 550, which launched in 2017 for an MSRP of only $79, scored a 1,189 in the same test. Bring in a modern budget GPU like the RTX 3060, and you’ll see scores over 10,000.
That’s what we’d expect from a half-height card that only consumes 23 watts of power (the RTX 3060, the least powerful card from Nvidia’s latest range, can consume as much as 170W). The card supports DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4 with up to a 4,096 x 2,160 output at 30 frames per second. That’s because of the antiquated port selection, which includes a dual-link DVI-C port, an HDMI 1.4 port, and a D-sub port. You can, however, use up to three displays at once by utilizing every port.
Although you can’t game on it, the GT 730 is a great alternative to integrated graphics. Many builders have turned to AMD’s budget APUs in response to the GPU shortage, but even some of those chips have gone up in price. This card — assuming you can get one in the U.S. — could help budget builders finally finish a rig.
According to Tom’s Hardware, the GT 730 N730K-2GD3H/LPV1 will sell for 4,565 yen in Japan, or about $42. Right now in the U.S., you can expect to pay at least twice that price for a GT 730. At least most GT 730 cards available in the U.S. come with a fan.