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PCI Express Interface: $100 to $150

Best Video Cards For The Money: Oct '08
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Best PCIe Card For $100: Tie

Good 1600x1200 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most titles with some lowered detail

Radeon HD 3870
Codename: RV670
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 320
Texture Units: 16
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 775
Memory Speed MHz: 1125 (2250 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10.1 / SM 4.0

Now at $100, the Radeon 3870 is an easy recommendation between the GeForce 8800 GT and the new Radeon 4670.

GeForce 9600 GT
Codename: G92
Process: 65 nm
Universal Shaders: 64
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 650
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (1800 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10 / SM 4.0

The 9600 GT is a good match for the Radeon 3870, and both are excellent choices at the $100 price point.

Best PCIe Card For $120

Good 1600x1200 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most titles with some lowered detail

GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (aka GeForce 9800 GT 512MB)
Codename: G92
Process: 65 nm
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 is priced very well for this performance level. 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 GT’s near-identical sibling, the 9800 GT. It is reported that some 9800 GTs have been found in the wild with three-way SLI support.

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