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Best PCIe Card: ~$150 To $300

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: January 2010
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Best PCIe Card For ~$155:

Radeon HD 5770 (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5770
Codename: RV840 "Juniper"
Process: 40nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 1,200 (4,800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

While the new Radeon HD 5770 isn't any faster than its older Radeon HD 4870 cousin (we've found that it's even slightly slower in many instances), it does have something the Radeon HD 4870 doesn't have: full DirectX 11 and Eyefinity support. Indeed, while the Radeon HD 5770 doesn't run away with any performance crowns in this category, it does look good from a longevity/value standpoint.

Perhaps more importantly, at the $155 price point there is nothing to compete against it, now that the Radeon HD 4870 is gone and the GeForce GTX 260 is suffering from rising prices.

Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 5770 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$200:

Radeon HD 4890 (Check Prices)

Excellent 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 4890
Codename: RV790
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 975 (3,900 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

The Radeon HD 4890 is essentially an overclocked Radeon HD 4870. However, the tweaks that AMD made to the newer RV790 die result in higher overclocking headroom. At stock speeds, this card is worth the $200. But to get the most out of it, some overclocking is in order. And now that the prices on Radeon HD 5850 cards are through the roof, there's not much between this board and ATI's next-fastest solution.

Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 4890 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$250: Tie

2 x GeForce GTS 250 1GB in SLI Configuration (Check Prices)

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

2 x GeForce GTS 250 1GB in SLI Configuration
Codename: 2 x G92
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 256 (2 x 128)
Texture Units: 128 (2 x 64)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 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

Two GeForce GTS 250 cards in SLI pack a punch and make a strong case for multi-card setups. These GeForce cards are an excellent choice for sub-$300 brute force power, especially if you want to run a favorite game with PhsyX or in a GeForce 3D Vision configuration, both of which need the extra graphics horsepower.

2 x Radeon HD 4850 1GB in CrossFire Configuration (Check Prices)

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

Radeon HD 4850 1GB
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

Two Radeon HD 4850s in CrossFire continue to offer a combination of high performance and reasonably low cost, making them a good choice for a gaming enthusiast on a budget.

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