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PCI Express Interface: $150 To $300

Best Video Cards For The Money: August '08
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BEST PCI-E CARD FOR $150

GeForce 8800 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 3870 and GeForce 9600 GT by a notable margin, and only costs a few dollars more. As far as raw performance goes, if you have $150 to spend on a graphics card, you couldn’t do better than a nice 8800 GT.

BEST PCI-E CARD FOR $175:

Radeon 4850
Codename: RV770
Process: 55nm
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

The Radeon 4850 is the new people’s champion, instantly bringing yesterday’s $300 performance level down to the mainstream $175 price point. The Radeon 4850 will best the GeForce 9800 GTX, stand toe-to-toe with the newer GeForce 9800 GTX+, and do it all for less money. This card has a lot of potential when used on its own, and becomes a devastating force when paired with a second 4850 in a Crossfire configuration.

Best PCI-E Card For $280:

Radeon 4870
Codename: RV770
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 750
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10.1 / SM 4.0

The Radeon 4870 offers the same architecture of the 4850 series paired with its secret weapon: brand new GDDR5 memory. Because GDDR5 provides about twice as much throughput as GDDR3, its 900 MHz clock speed is comparable to a 3600 MHz effective memory speed! This edge allows the 4870 to up the ante and offer very compelling performance for the price, competing with the more expensive GeForce GTX 260 and sometimes even the GTX 280!

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