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Best PCIe Card: $190 To $270

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: September '09
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Best PCIe Card For ~$190: 

Two Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire Configuration (Check Prices)

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

Two Radeon HD 4850 in CrossFire Configuration
Codename: 2 x RV770
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 1,600 (2 x 800)
Texture Units: 80 (2 x 40)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 16)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 625
Memory Speed MHz: 993 (1,986 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

With the price of the Radeon HD 4850 at $95, two of these cards in CrossFire is going to deliver great performance.

This setup provides a startlingly powerful solution for $190, easily beating out the Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 275 at similar prices. The only drawback: you'll need a CrossFire-compatible motherboard and a decent power supply.

Best PCIe Card For ~$225: None

Honorable Mention: Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB (Check Prices)

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

Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB
Codename: 2 x RV770
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 1,600 (2 x 800)
Texture Units: 80 (2 x 40)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 16)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 625
Memory Speed MHz: 993 (1,986 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

The Radeon HD 4850 X2 is essentially two Radeon HD 4850s in CrossFire mode on a single card, capable of even putting the hurt on Nvidia's more expensive GeForce GTX 285.

Right now, the Radeon HD 4850 X2 2 GB card might cost a few dollars more than a pair of Radeon HD 4850 cards, but this single card can be used with any PCIe motherboard, making it a compelling solution for folks without a CrossFire platform.

*** A NOTE OF WARNING ***

Hey, there's no guaranteeing that the upcoming Radeon cards will affect any of the following recommendations. However, if you even suspect some of the rumors to hold any truth, you might want to consider holding off on a graphics card purchase over $250 for a month or so to see if any new cards arrive and affect the market.

Best PCIe Card For ~$260:

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance in most games, good 2560x1600 performance in most titles

Two Radeon HD 4870 512MB cards in CrossFire configuration  (Check Prices)

Two Radeon HD 4870 512MB in CrossFire Configuration
Codename: 2 x RV770
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 1,600 (2 x 800)
Texture Units: 80 (2 x 40)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 16)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 750
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3,600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

Two Radeon HD 4870 cards also make for a powerful combination, and with the price of a Radeon HD 4870 at $130, recommending two in CrossFire is only natural. Just make sure you have a CrossFire-compatible motherboard and a good power supply in order to get the most out of them.

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