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Tom's Graphics Card Guide: 32 Mid-Range Cards Benchmarked

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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 4:00:03 AM

There are numerous graphics cards in the range between $100 and $250, but which of them delivers the best bang for your buck? Which is the most efficient or least noisy product related to its performance? We set out to find the best graphics cards on the

Tom's Graphics Card Guide: 32 Mid-Range Cards Benchmarked : Read more
July 20, 2011 4:17:29 AM

This confirms that the 560 ti belongs in TH best graphics cards for the money ( they werent recommomended the past 2 months)
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July 20, 2011 4:19:53 AM

560ti is an amazing card for the money
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Related resources
July 20, 2011 5:02:42 AM

arent the 6950s in this price range also? there are 2gb ones going for $250
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July 20, 2011 5:14:35 AM

You have a 560 Ti eVGA Superclock for $215~ after rebate on Newegg. Then you have the 6870 from a few various brands for about $169~ after rebate.


Is the TI worth another 40+ dollars?
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July 20, 2011 5:14:42 AM

In every benchmark its the souped up overclocked versions of the GTX 560 Ti that are on top.

The standard Geforce GTX 560 Ti is still getting beaten by the standard Radeon 6950
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July 20, 2011 5:23:17 AM

The GeForce GTX 550Ti wiould be a bargin if nvidia put the price below 100 dollars in which it should be considering it's performance doesn't justify the extra 30 or 40 dollars.
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 5:27:45 AM

Yup, considering its performance, the GTX550Ti should have replaced the GTS450 price point, which was $110. Since the GTX550Ti was included here, I would have liked to see where the cheaper HD5770/6770 would have placed, probably higher than the GTX550Ti.

Also, can you guys do a story on how some classic cards match up to modern games? Stuff like 8800GTX's and 2900XT's which used to cost an arm and leg back in the day. Would be cool to see how the fare today.
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July 20, 2011 5:33:18 AM

No aftermarket 6950? Those 560ti cards that are topping the benchmarks are a good $40-$60 more expensive than a stock 6950 here in Oz. I think you should have included an OC'd 6950 (like the Gigabyte) which is still $20 cheaper than those ti's to make this a bit more interesting.
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July 20, 2011 5:53:52 AM

Gah, just as I was about to go to bed an interesting review come out... I'll keep it open to read first thing in the morning!
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July 20, 2011 5:54:59 AM

Geforces dominate benchmarks because we have used 10 variants of overclocked 560Ti cards against stock clocked few Radeons (6950) here and there. And also, we don't show which drivers and control panel settings we have used because that would reveal our trickery. Why is Tom always hating AMD/ATI?
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July 20, 2011 6:06:02 AM

There even seems not to be performance per $ which is ridiculous. Of course super clocked variants cost more than reference models. I'm sure Radeons have better performance per dollar. That's something "Igor" didn't want us to see.
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 6:08:25 AM

wher is the most important price/perfomance index.........
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Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 6:11:46 AM

and the choice of games is less than miserable......
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July 20, 2011 6:21:58 AM

This whole review is bs. Where are the OC 6950's? Did you really think that you could pass this review off as an unbiased review? If we can't trust this review, it makes the whole website suspect (except for the awesome forum people)

Seriously, update this review if you value the members.
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July 20, 2011 6:33:16 AM

Who still plays Mafia2?
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July 20, 2011 6:33:18 AM

can't help it, another pro nvidia review. where are the overclocked 6950 cards ?
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July 20, 2011 6:53:47 AM

I'm confused you have the base 560 ti ahead of the His iceQX 6870 in the enthusiast settings but it looks like all but one or two games the His card is better.
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July 20, 2011 7:08:14 AM

How can this author say, "from their top-end (AMD Radeon HD 6970, Nvidia GeForce GTX 570)?" I'm pretty sure that the GTX 580 is the top of the line. If it isn't, then what is it considered? Just because it doesn't have an AMD equivalent doesn't make it something exclusive.
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July 20, 2011 7:37:03 AM

Seems to be a lot of unhappy ATI users reading this but I don't know why. Look at best graphics cards for the money and ATI really dominates in a lot of categories.
Bottom line I got from this article is how oversaturated the market is with choice.
Use the car analogy, there are a lot of different mid priced cars and they all do a job but some are more comfortable, some more reliable, some quicker and some have more bells and whistles. Which is best comes down to what you want and maybe you just want that Ferrari that will kill them all but costs a packet.
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July 20, 2011 7:57:35 AM

yukijinThis confirms that the 560 ti belongs in TH best graphics cards for the money ( they werent recommomended the past 2 months)


The preamble of the review does not explain itself well. The 560 Ti card in this review are overclocked with custom coolers. The 6950 cards are stock reference cards. This gives the 560 Ti a false appearance of superiority.

If overclocked 6950s with custom cooling were included, they would have topped the charts.

I understand that this is a mid-level card review and I understand that the 6950 stock card was included as a reference. I don't understand that the 560 Tis listed in this review are probably about the same price as the overclocked 6950s which were not included int he reviews.

I think it is a very good review, I just think they didn't explain their criteria very well.
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 8:16:17 AM

dco said:
In every benchmark its the souped up overclocked versions of the GTX 560 Ti that are on top.

The standard Geforce GTX 560 Ti is still getting beaten by the standard Radeon 6950



What he said !!

But when a casual gamer searches google and finds this article he will say, wow, nvidia has faster cards. 560ti is the one i will buy. So who make's money?
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July 20, 2011 8:49:45 AM

ionut19 said:
What he said !!

But when a casual gamer searches google and finds this article he will say, wow, nvidia has faster cards. 560ti is the one i will buy. So who make's money?


No one at Tom's is pushing GTX over AMD - just read the forums. In this review, they do not consider the 6950 to be a "mid-range" card and therefore only the "stock" version is included for reference. The reviewer's only fault was not explaining this better. Also it is questionable that the cost of the 560 Ti is not comparable to the 6950.

That being said it is a very informative review with a lot of good information. You have to carefully understand what they are shooting for - a review of "mid-level" video cards (not high-end). They are considering the 6950 to be high-end.
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a c 172 U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 8:53:04 AM

i just laughed in hysterics when i saw the cooler on the 560ti beast. Who would buy that ugly hunk of junk?
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July 20, 2011 8:53:43 AM

Come on TOM's this is not a good review at all. A couple years back when I was in the market for a new Grafix card I look at you reviews and the GTS 250 came out to be the best choice and that was a fair review between Nvidia and ATI, but now I am in the market again and this review does not help me at all. Please fix this asap.
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July 20, 2011 9:04:46 AM

Why is there no 6770 or 5870 video cards in this ?
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July 20, 2011 9:19:40 AM

scrumworksGeforces dominate benchmarks because we have used 10 variants of overclocked 560Ti cards against stock clocked few Radeons (6950) here and there. And also, we don't show which drivers and control panel settings we have used because that would reveal our trickery. Why is Tom always hating AMD/ATI?


Scrum,

The cards that were tested are what our German office has available to them. They don't get NV-based reference cards because Nvidia's Euro group apparently won't sample them. As a result, all of the cards are aftermarket/overclocked boards. AMD, on the other hand, is must better about this.

Now, if you actually read the story, and you actually get to the Efficiency charts, you'll see how poorly the 560 Ti really fares compared to the AMD cards. The power consumption is pretty ridiculous, overall.

So, yes, there are overclocked retail boards here. However, their attractive performance is still tarnished by the pricing and power usage data that we also include here.

Best,
Chris
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July 20, 2011 10:13:56 AM

cangeliniScrum,The cards that were tested are what our German office has available to them. They don't get NV-based reference cards because Nvidia's Euro group apparently won't sample them. As a result, all of the cards are aftermarket/overclocked boards. AMD, on the other hand, is must better about this.Now, if you actually read the story, and you actually get to the Efficiency charts, you'll see how poorly the 560 Ti really fares compared to the AMD cards. The power consumption is pretty ridiculous, overall.So, yes, there are overclocked retail boards here. However, their attractive performance is still tarnished by the pricing and power usage data that we also include here.Best,Chris


Why there is no performance/price chart ?
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July 20, 2011 12:19:22 PM

About the only mid-range graphics cards you tested here are the Radeon HD 6790 and the GTX 550 Ti. You're reviewers, you should know this. Anything from the Radeon HD 6850 and up and the GTX 560 and up is in the Performance market (6850, 6870, 560, 560 Ti) or the Enthusiast market (6950). There's no "Gamers" category, only Performance and Enthusiast.

Disregarding that, good and informative article.
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July 20, 2011 12:37:00 PM

hardcore_gamerWhy there is no performance/price chart ?

I think it would be useless... Prices change pretty much all the time based on the exchange rate. What is now a 30 euro gap, tomorrow may be 15 or it may be 40. Especially the more expensive the card is, the more variance in the price gap will be.

Plus, I find performance per watt is much more interesting.
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July 20, 2011 12:47:29 PM

Won't a better GPU imply in higher CPU usage, thus meaning higher CPU power draw? Which would mean higher system power draw, which could mask the results, increasing the best gpus consumption accordingly?
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 1:08:12 PM

Is a HD 6950, really a mid range card ? And a GTX 560 Ti ?
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July 20, 2011 1:20:21 PM

A BIG THANKS for reporting the effective power consumption of each graphics card!!! Much appreciated!!
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July 20, 2011 1:40:30 PM

How about a test of the best cards for both Folding and Gaming?
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 1:50:20 PM

When I saw the first benchmark show with those non-reference GTX50 Ti, I stop reading it as I can tell this review is going to be nonsense. And I was right! THG used to be a good site where I come here to read on items I would like to buy. Now it's a bunch of kissing asses just to make the manufacture happy.
Overall it's a bunch of bullshit. No seriously it really is as the stock GTX 560Ti never made it to the recommended charts. A uneducated person will follow your advice, get a standard GTX 560Ti and wonder why the f*ck the card they buy does not perform like they're suppose to.
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July 20, 2011 1:56:08 PM

I wonder if HD 5770/6770 is better than GTX 550 Ti. The hierarchy chart from the July "Best Graphics Card for the Money" article says they're on the same tier.
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July 20, 2011 1:58:47 PM

Those b@$t@rd$ at nVidia keep becoming bigger and bigger fat peaces of meat from selling their card becoz of cr@p reviews like this one.
They probably paid this guy or He's one old,ugly nV fanboy.
realisticly how can you only put 2 refernce hd 6950 boards gainst
5 non-refernce , overclocked gtx 560 ti's!!!
Tom's should fire you,!!
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July 20, 2011 2:28:13 PM

I have to agree that this is a pretty biased review, for a mid-ranged review why is there no price/performance chart. Surely the reason why someone buys mid-ranged cards is for the best price/performance.
Also why only include reference 6950 seeing as the aftermarket 6950 are around the same price.
Shame on you Igor
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July 20, 2011 2:57:10 PM

If they'd have overclocked the ATI cards then they would have topped the charts; AMD owns ATI and so Toms doesn't do that. Instead, we get overclocked nVidia cards (and likely unstable after hours of gaming) at the top of most of the charts, actually losing to the stock 6950 in some of the benchmarks, and an artificial result that makes nVidia look good, when really, the truth of it is that they have to be overclocked to compete!
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July 20, 2011 3:01:58 PM

This is an informative article if you actually read the content :p 

But yes, I agree that it could be done a bit better. For the price of the frozr hawk 560 ti, you could easily find various overclocked 6950 versions which would be right up there in competing, at least in the US market. A price comparison could be nice too but again, prices change daily and even a $5 difference could be huge. I would more welcome overclocking results.

But in my view, the main thing to get out of this is that the twin frozr cards are excellent in general if you can pay the premium, with smart engineering that actually works. If they had a bit more robust warranties, it would be a no-brainer.
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July 20, 2011 3:14:11 PM

Not all of the MSI twin Frozr cards are good. There are several versions for the 6950 and for the 560 Ti and you have check the reviews of the various versions to find the better cards. Some of the different variants of the Frozr are not that great and some of the Frozr cards are ridiculously expensive.

For example, one Frozr 6950 costs nearly as much as a 6970. Now as good as the 6950 is, the 6970 still kicks its ass.
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a c 197 U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 3:26:40 PM

It will take me some time to digest all of this, and figure out where the various data is most relevant. I don't think I could choose a card based on this article alone, but I could rule out the HD6790 and GTX550Ti as general disappointments.
I would like to have seen the 1GB GTX460 included, as it is still available, and is a solid mid-range card. At the lower end, I also always welcome more data on cards like the HD6670 and HD6770.
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a c 197 U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 3:34:10 PM

Also, I'd like to see at least two more resolution/settings combinations tested, as I believe they'd be common: 720p at the highest possible settings (for those wishing to play games on their HDTVs), and 1920x1080 with "Gamer" settings (for those with larg[er] monitors, possible for work, who also want to play games and are willing to lower their settings.
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 4:00:03 PM

Pricing of which cards shown here are exactly "Mid-Range"?!
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July 20, 2011 4:03:33 PM

Good comparison. Personally I'd spring for an Nvidia card since you're not under full load all the time; for an infrequent game player like me, a card with efficient idle usage is much more important.
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2011 4:13:40 PM

So I find this benchmark interesting that I have a 6950 with an AMD cpu and in mafia with max settings I can get a 67 AVG on the benchmark. Now I do have my card OC so thats part of it but it seems that at least for that game the sandy bridge does not have an advantage?
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July 20, 2011 5:10:35 PM

Chris please tell me the point of a video card review like this. You have chosen a very narrow scope of cards....I have always said that you all need to show a better range of cards and include previous generation cards for comparison. To me this is an ok review but not really that great. You all can do better.
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July 20, 2011 5:22:52 PM

wow this site is very bias. I thought it was a rumor but its true.
32 cards tested and no overclocked/unlocked 6950's? Also, what drivers did you use, because I did not see them on the setup page. WTF?
Did you guys see the "Radeon HD 6970 OC." wtf is that about?! Reference overclocked??

Bye Tom's, you are free from my bookmark bar. Just can't trust you anymore.
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July 20, 2011 5:25:05 PM

^edit

Radeon HD 6790 1GB OC
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!