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PCI Express Interface: $0 to $130

Best Video Cards For The Money: Sept '08

Best PCIe Card For $60:

Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR3
Codename: RV630
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 128
Texture Units: 8
ROPs: 4
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 800
Memory Speed MHz: 700 (1400 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10 / SM 4.0

The performance of the 2600 XT is a great gaming baseline, and it can handle most things at the 1280x1024 resolution. If you want a cheap gaming card to get you by, the 2600 XT will do the job—just make sure you get the GDDR3 version, not the slower DDR2 edition!

Best PCIe Card For $120

GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (aka GeForce 9800 GT 512MB)
Codename: G92
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 112
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 600
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (1800 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10 / SM 4.0

The 8800 GT offers incredible GeForce 8800 GTX-class performance at almost half the price. It beats both the Radeon HD 3870 and GeForce 9600 GT by a notable margin, and has never been seen as cheap as it is seen today. Even with all of the excellent cards in the $90 to $110 category, such as the Radeon HD 3850, GeForce 8800 GS, 9800 GSO, and 9600 GT, the GeForce 8800 GT at $120 trumps them all.

Also look for the 8800 GTs near-identical sibling, the 9800 GT, which is essentially an 8800 GT with 3-way SLI support.

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