Best PCIe Card For ~$125: Tie
GeForce GTS 250 1GB (Check Prices)
Good 1920x1200 performance in most games
|GeForce GTS 250 1GB|
|Universal Shaders:|| 128|
|Texture Units:|| 64|
|Core/Shader Speed MHz:||738 / 1,836|
|Memory Speed MHz:||1,100 (2,200 effective)|
|DirectX/Shader Model:||DX 10/SM 4.0|
For $15 more than the 512MB version, an interested gamer can get the benefit of a full gigabyte of memory. At the highest resolutions and levels of anti-aliasing, this extra memory might provide a performance boost, though it's unlikely the GeForce GTS 250 is powerful enough to run at those detail levels. Still, many buyers might find the slight $10 price increase worthwhile in something like Grand Theft Auto IV.
Radeon HD 4850 1 GB (Check Prices)
Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
|Radeon HD 4850 1GB|
|Texture Units:|| 40|
|Core Speed MHz:|| 625|
|Memory Speed MHz:||993 (1,986 effective)|
|DirectX/Shader Model:||DX 10.1/SM 4.1|
Like its 512MB brethren, the Radeon HD 4850 1GB cards have also resurfaced with limited availability, allowing buyers a choice between the Radeon and GeForce in this price segment. Just remember, though, that more modern alternatives are available in the Radeon HD 5700-series for a few bucks extra.
Best PCIe Card For ~$145: None
Radeon HD 5750 (Check Prices)
Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
|Radeon HD 5770|
|Texture Units:|| 36|
|Core Speed MHz:||700|
|Memory Speed MHz:||1,150 (4,600 effective)|
|DirectX/Shader Model:||DX 11/SM 5.0|
While the Radeon HD 5750 offers similar gaming performance to it's less-expensive competition (the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250), it has better longevity appeal with DirectX 11 support. Sporting Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio and three monitor outputs, the 5750 might appeal to those who want a low-power gaming card appropriate for an HTPC.
Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 5750 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.