Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best Video Cards For The Money: August '08

Best Video Cards For The Money: August '08
By

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great—that is, if you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, what a gamer needs is the best graphics card within a certain budget.

So if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to make the right decision, fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware Guide have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming cards offered for the money.

July Review and August Updates:

July saw some of the fastest dropping prices on high-end cards that we’ve ever seen in the history of these “best gaming graphics cards for the money” articles. While there are always some fluctuations, the prices we researched for July’s article were ancient history halfway through the month!

Things have tapered off a little by now, but we’ll use this opportunity to remind our readers that this article is only a guideline for the prices we’ve seen at the beginning of the month! You’re letting yourself down if you’re not looking for deals when you decide to purchase.

Other than pricing, July started to see availability of Nvidia’s new GeForce 9500 GT, which looks like it will be replacing the 8500 and 8600 series, carrying similar specifications and somewhat slower clock speeds. Even though the raw specifications of the 9500 don’t look all that impressive compared to its older sibling, performance looks promising, and seems to meet or slightly beat its predecessor. It has been rumored that there might be some problems with the 8500/8600 series GPUs, so the 9500 GT could be here to remedy that situation.

Finally, we’ve started to see glimpses of AMD’s soon-to-arrive high end Radeon 4870 X2, which will sport two 4870 GPUs in a Crossfire configuration on a single card. While we don’t know pricing or availability yet, the preliminary performance numbers look promising—keep your eye out for it!

Some notes about our recommendations

A few simple guidelines to keep in mind when reading this list:

  • This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, the cards in this list are more expensive than you need;
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t offer up-to-the-minute accurate pricing information, but we can list some good cards that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest;
  • The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail, your mileage will most certainly vary;
  • These are new card prices. No used or open box cards are in the list; they might be a good deal, but that’s outside the scope of what we’re trying to do.
Display 97 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • -1 Hide
    middeneast , August 5, 2008 8:18 AM
    The 2x 9800gtx's specs are wrong :)  Accidentally took the same specs as the 4850 in crossfire.

    Not that it matters a lot, but hey :D 
  • 0 Hide
    pulasky , August 5, 2008 8:29 AM
    Quote:
    Be forewarned that it’s been reported that the official AMD drivers don’t work with the AGP version of this card, but that the modified Omega drivers work fine.

    Serious look here http://support.ati.com/ics/support/KBList.asp?folderID=10551
  • 0 Hide
    aleluja , August 5, 2008 8:55 AM
    I wish i could get HD4850 for only 175$.
    It costs 230$ where i live :D  And that is the cheapest Gigabyte model.
    And HD4870 costs 340$.
  • 1 Hide
    otheos , August 5, 2008 9:09 AM
    I think you need to revise the texts on the AGP cards. Both for drivers (as noted above) and a few more clues regarding the performance.
  • 2 Hide
    Transsive , August 5, 2008 9:51 AM
    Would someone fix the table on the last page of this article.
  • -1 Hide
    gridener , August 5, 2008 10:00 AM
    I guess you forgot to mention the 9800GT. Its out for purchase and you can get one for around 140$-160$.
  • 1 Hide
    modtech , August 5, 2008 10:13 AM
    4850 costs $250 here and at that price it's still worth it.
  • 0 Hide
    kitsilencer , August 5, 2008 10:28 AM
    First time in a LONG time that ATI is dominating Tom's recommend list. Good to see.
  • 0 Hide
    tntom , August 5, 2008 1:03 PM
    There is something wrong with the table on the last page
  • 7 Hide
    Ignotus , August 5, 2008 1:05 PM
    THe 9800GT is mentioned... it's the 8800GT. :-D
  • 0 Hide
    hixbot , August 5, 2008 1:13 PM
    Can they take the time to write new paragraphs? Even just to slightly change the wording so we can see that the authors actually give a #$%5.
    Official drivers now work for AGP ATI cards. Get with it.
  • 0 Hide
    nottheking , August 5, 2008 1:19 PM
    Good to see another update; the list needed one. Though there are some comments I have to make... As well, of course, as my slight disappointment that it appears that while still a pinned thread, it appears that the thread in the Graphics & Displays forum is no longer quite connected with the list itself.
  • 0 Hide
    origosis , August 5, 2008 1:20 PM
    hixbotCan they take the time to write new paragraphs? Even just to slightly change the wording so we can see that the authors actually give a #$%5.Official drivers now work for AGP ATI cards. Get with it.

    Alot of Work Goes into Testing the cards ALOT! and besides this is a monthly article that most people will simply flip through to thier price point see what card they need then run to Newegg. So extra work on the article may fall on deaf ears.

    I agree I like to hears each persons opinion on each card, but even I just like to skim this article each month.
  • 0 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , August 5, 2008 2:12 PM
    It's very pleasant to see Radeon finally get some Face time on the BVCftM charts. It's been a GeForce world for so long, and even if I have dabbled in the dark side, it's always a pleasant relief to see my champion back on the board.
  • 0 Hide
    ahslan , August 5, 2008 2:14 PM
    great work guys! Keep it up!
  • 2 Hide
    gwolfman , August 5, 2008 2:15 PM
    I still think Tom's should recommend single board graphics cards at the higher end even though some crossfire/SLI configurations are better. Some people don't want SLI/CF configurations, power requirements, and some can't run it due to their chipset or limited PCIe slots.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , August 5, 2008 2:31 PM
    gwolfmanI still think Tom's should recommend single board graphics cards at the higher end even though some crossfire/SLI configurations are better. Some people don't want SLI/CF configurations, power requirements, and some can't run it due to their chipset or limited PCIe slots.


    I did. The 4870 is in there... that's the best performing single card for the money. The 260 and 280 are overpriced by my reckoning.

    If they lower the price, or the 4870 X2 comes in at a reasonable price, those will be put on the list too.
  • 1 Hide
    gwolfman , August 5, 2008 2:54 PM
    Even if the 280 is overpriced, isn't it still faster than the 4870? It's still good to see the 4870 in there and I'm sure the x2 will make it in somewhere.
  • 2 Hide
    spaztic7 , August 5, 2008 3:25 PM
    I think this review is much, much better than the July. Good stuff and thanks for the disclaimers at the beginning!!!

    Keep up the good work!
  • 0 Hide
    vladsinger , August 5, 2008 3:34 PM
    Ahem - the tables on the last two pages don't seem to be rendering.
Display more comments