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PCI Express Interface: $325 and up

Best Video Cards For The Money: Oct '08

Best PCIe Card For $340:

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games, 2560x1600 in most titles with some lowered detail

2x Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire Configuration
Codename: RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 625
Memory Speed MHz: 993 (1986 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10.1 / SM 4.0

In the 4850 CrossFire benchmarks we’ve seen so far, AMD has really learned to squeeze the performance out of its new cards. It looks like while a single Radeon HD 4850 performs in the same realm as the GeForce 9800 GTX, two 4850’s in Crossfire mode will completely decimate the dual-GPU GeForce 9800 GX2 and even put the hurt on the powerful new GeForce GTX 280. Remember, the GeForce GTX 280 costs about $80 more than two Radeon HD 4850 cards!

Best PCIe Card For Over $500:

Good 2560x1600 performance in most games, some with lowered detail

In this author’s opinion, with exponentially increasing prices over $350 offering smaller and smaller performance increases, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than two Radeon HD 4850s. While the 4870, GTX 260 and GTX 280 perform impressively in multiple card configurations, there’s just not enough of a gain compared to two 4850s in Crossfire mode unless you play at resolutions beyond 1920x1200.

So while we recommend AGAINST purchasing any graphics card more than $350 from a value point of view, there are those of you for whom money might not be much of an object; who can afford a 30” LCD monitor; and who require the best possible performance money can buy. For those of you, we recommend the Radeon 4870 X2, the fastest video card the planet currently offers. It costs $550 at the time of writing:

Radeon HD 4870 X2
Codename: RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 1600
Texture Units: 80
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 750
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10.1 / SM 4.0

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