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Best PCIe Card: ~$80 To $120

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: January 2010
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Best PCIe Card For ~$90:

GeForce 9800 GT (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

GeForce 9800 GT
Codename: G92
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 112
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 650 / 1,625
Memory Speed MHz: 1,000 (2,000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

The GeForce 9800 GT is essentially a rebadged GeForce 8800 GT, and offers the same great performance it has for years now (that sure sounds funny to say in reference to graphics cards).

With the rising price of ATI's Radeon HD 4850 giving it space to breathe, this legendary card is once again a recommended buy. But once again, we're looking forward to seeing technological progress put new, faster, and cooler products loaded down with more features in this space rather than revisiting history.

Fortunately, there's still PhysX and 3D Vision support to like about this aging board.

Best PCIe Card For ~$110: Tie

Radeon HD 4850 512MB

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

Radeon HD 4850 512MB
Codename: RV770
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 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 has showed a bit of a return to the sub-$110 price segment, but it probably won't last for long. If you're considering this graphics card, buy it while you still can. Availability is waning, and these products won't be around much longer now that the Radeon HD 5750 has arrived. On the other hand, bear in mind that the Radeon HD 5750 supports DirectX 11, Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio, and three monitor outputs. Its value might very well be better if gaming isn't your only concern.

GeForce GTS 250 512MB (Check Prices)

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games

GeForce GTS 250 512MB
Codename: G92
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 128
Texture Units: 64
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 738 / 1,836
Memory Speed MHz: 1,100 (2,200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

At $110, the 512MB version of this card offers respectable performance, and nothing else in the price range can compare to it. As fast as the Radeon HD 4850 and new Radeon HD 5750 are, the GeForce GTS 250 remains a viable option.

Bear in mind that going this route instead of the Radeon HD 5750 will cost you DirectX 11 support and Eyefinity. But in the context of gaming, you'll need to make other quality sacrifices long before trying to enjoy either value-add in the $110 range.

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