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Best PCIe Card: $110 To $175

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: July 2011
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Best PCIe Card For ~$115:

Radeon HD 5770 (Radeon HD 6770) (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5770/6770
Codename: RV840 "Juniper"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 1200 (4800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0
Max TDP:108 W

The Radeon HD 5770 (also available re-badged as the Radeon HD 6770, with the added bonus of Blu-ray 3D decode support) is an extremely attractive $115 option, offering a worthwhile upgrade beyond the cheaper Radeon HD 5750 and GeForce GTS 450. This card is one of our price/performance favorites, and with Radeon HD 4870-class performance, it's an excellent starting point for the serious gamer.

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

Best PCIe Card For ~$155: Tie

Radeon HD 6790 (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 6790
Codename: Barts LE
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 840
Memory Speed MHz: 1050 (4200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0
Max TDP:150 W

AMD's Radeon HD 6790 is a good counterpoint to the  GeForce GTX 460 768 MB, and both products introduce solid performance to this price point.

The pair enables DirectX 11 support and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities. The main differentiators are Eyefinity multi-monitor support favoring AMD's Radeon, while the GeForce has access to a mature 3D Vision infrastructure that includes 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D support.

Of course, the Radeons can be CrossFire'd and the GeForces can be SLI'd, so motherboard support should be taken into account.

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 6790 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

GeForce GTX 460 768 MB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

GeForce GTX 460 768 MB
Codename: GF104
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 24
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

150 W

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$170: None

The GeForce GTX 460 1 GB and Radeon HD 6850 deliver impressive performance for a reasonable price tag, but they're currently squeezed between the Radeon HD 6790/GeForce GTX 460 768 MB and Radeon HD 6870/GeForce GTX 560 by a mere $20 on either side. Because of this, we either recommend the cheaper cards to save money or the more expensive ones for better performance.

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