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Best PCIe Card: $110 To $160

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: October 2011
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Best PCIe Card For ~$110:

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

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games, some with lowered detail

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 $110 option, offering a worthwhile upgrade beyond the similarly-priced 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 mainstream 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 ~$130:

Radeon HD 6790 (Check Prices)

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games, some with lowered detail

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 delivers DirectX 11 support, multi-display support via Eyefinity, and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities in a modest gaming card.

Because the GeForce GTX 460 768 MB is now missing in action, we're now giving the sole recommendation to AMD's card, whereas this would have been a shared honor previously.

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

Best PCIe Card For $155: Tie

Radeon HD 6850 (Check Prices)

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 6850
Codename: RV970 "Barts"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 960
Texture Units: 48
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 775
Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0
Max TDP:127 W

AMD's Radeon HD 6850 proved to be a worthy adversary against the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB, and the AMD card's aggressive MSRP forced Nvidia to drop its own suggested pricing in order to stay competitive. As a result, PC gamers win with exceptional performance at prices under $200.

Both cards offer DirectX 11 support and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities. The main differentiators are Eyefinity multi-monitor support favoring the Radeon card, while the GeForce board has access to Nvidia's 3D Vision infrastructure that includes 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D support. It should be noted that the Radeon HD 6800-series' list of compatible stereoscopic devices is growing. However, it's nowhere near as large as Nvidia's. Only time will tell if AMD's own 3D brand can gain the partner support it requires to serve as a notable feature.

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 6850 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

GeForce GTX 460 1 GB (Check Prices)

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games

GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Codename: GF104
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

160 W

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

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

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    Zero_ , October 19, 2011 4:45 AM
    So, atleast AMD is winning the graphics war...
  • 13 Hide
    Martell77 , October 19, 2011 5:54 AM
    On Newegg the price difference between the 560ti and 6950 1gb is $20, until you add in the rebates, lowering the gap tp $10. Then you add in shipping: 560ti - $7.56, 6950 - Free. Gap closes to $2 for a faster (on average) card.

    That is probably why the 6950 gets the recommendation.
  • 12 Hide
    AbdullahG , October 19, 2011 5:04 AM
    I honestly think the HD 6750 is a great buy for under $100 (it's $99 on Newegg; from Diamond and HIS). Anyway, seems as though not a lot changes in the Best GPUs for the Money until prices drop. Then again, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    Zero_ , October 19, 2011 4:45 AM
    So, atleast AMD is winning the graphics war...
  • 10 Hide
    wolfram23 , October 19, 2011 5:04 AM
    So... Southern Island and Kepler will be out when? :D 
  • 12 Hide
    AbdullahG , October 19, 2011 5:04 AM
    I honestly think the HD 6750 is a great buy for under $100 (it's $99 on Newegg; from Diamond and HIS). Anyway, seems as though not a lot changes in the Best GPUs for the Money until prices drop. Then again, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.
  • -6 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , October 19, 2011 5:30 AM
    Keep ignoring GTX 560 Ti much?
  • 1 Hide
    Pekish79 , October 19, 2011 5:39 AM
    I dont understand why at $220 you dont conside at all the GTX560ti

    it cost 20 dollar less then HD6950 1gb (20$ over 220 it's almost 10% less)

    and not only it's cooler use lot less power when idle is quieter


    according to this it's RARELY 10% slower and in few games is even faster
  • -5 Hide
    Pekish79 , October 19, 2011 5:40 AM

    i guess i cant put picture here is the url for my previous post
  • 13 Hide
    Martell77 , October 19, 2011 5:54 AM
    On Newegg the price difference between the 560ti and 6950 1gb is $20, until you add in the rebates, lowering the gap tp $10. Then you add in shipping: 560ti - $7.56, 6950 - Free. Gap closes to $2 for a faster (on average) card.

    That is probably why the 6950 gets the recommendation.
  • 0 Hide
    Darkerson , October 19, 2011 6:27 AM
    Thanks for the updated list! Been starting to plan out my upgrades for tax time, and some new cards to shake things up a little would be nice. Shouldnt be too much longer, hopefully.
  • -3 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , October 19, 2011 6:29 AM
    So... you just released an article stating there's zero advantage to getting a (single) 6950 2GB. Yet you still give it a recommendation. Wat.
  • 7 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , October 19, 2011 6:30 AM
    KyuuketsukiSo... you just released an article stating there's zero advantage to getting a (single) 6950 2GB. Yet you still give it a recommendation. Wat.

    For clarification: zero advantage relative to a single 6950 1GB.
  • -2 Hide
    Lunarion , October 19, 2011 7:09 AM
    Yeah there appears to be no gtx 560ti love.
  • 1 Hide
    felduque , October 19, 2011 7:57 AM
    Agree with the lack of 560. I own both a 6950 and a 560. They,re very similar in performance but the 560 is a few inches shorter so it fits nicely in my media center. the 6950 is on my gaming PC. At the very least the 560 should get an honorable mention or more appropriately a tie.
  • 1 Hide
    de5_Roy , October 19, 2011 8:04 AM
    nice article. good to see ati amd rocking the charts.
    with similar max tdp, radeon hd 6870 is a far better card than radeon 6790. and one can get an hd 6850(lower max tdp than 6790) or a geforce gtx 460 1gb for a new bucks more.
    waiting for southern island cards to get released.:) 
  • 1 Hide
    gio2vanni86 , October 19, 2011 9:00 AM
    I'm still glad the 580GTX is still considered the fastest single GPU. That makes me glad i bought it 5 months ago =D I could do Sli but Sli never showed me amazing FPS with my 9800GTX+ setup so i will stick with this till the new king is released =D.
  • 0 Hide
    stereopsis , October 19, 2011 9:04 AM
    I am hoping the Radeon 7000s will be PCI-e 3.0 enabled.
  • 1 Hide
    DSpider , October 19, 2011 9:41 AM
    stereopsisI am hoping the Radeon 7000s will be PCI-e 3.0 enabled.

    Maybe the high-end ones. Hmmm... Have the HD69XX tapped out PCIe x16 2.0 yet? Because I remember a HD 5870 benchmark (remember that 6870 was a 5850 upgrade, not 5870's successor like the name would imply), where it ran on x16, x8 and x4 slots at various resolutions - meaning the x8 would be the equivalent of PCIe x16 1.0 (half the bandwidth).

    The difference? ~1%, 2% tops.

    So if they release something that fits in the hierarchy chart lower than a HD 5870 (or GTX 470, GTX 560 Ti)... it would be pretty much pointless to release it on PCIe x16 3.0. Anyway, I would stay away from the first generation PCIe x16 3.0 cards.
  • 5 Hide
    vaughn2k , October 19, 2011 12:00 PM
    My HD5770 is still there! 10 straight months!
  • 1 Hide
    billybobser , October 19, 2011 12:14 PM
    pretty much and AMD clean sweep.

    Disappointing really, we need some real competition from nvidia to keep em honest xD
  • 2 Hide
    billybobser , October 19, 2011 12:20 PM
    as an added note, it's still interesting to see my 4870x2 still kicking it up there.

    I picked one up second hand for under £100
  • 2 Hide
    nerrawg , October 19, 2011 12:30 PM
    For gaming at 1080p the 6870 really appears to be the sweet spot. You pay $15 for a 5-10% increase in performance over the 6850 (sometimes better). Going up to the 6950 1gb the increase is a shocking $80! From what I have seen of benches there is only 10% in it in terms of performance, so you are paying a hefty premium for that larger, hotter, more power consuming chip. Don't understand how this is justified really, other than that it probably costs AMD a lot more to make the silicon, it certainly isn't good value for the consumer, $80 for an extra 10%!? To me it looks like poor marketing, either the 6870 should be more expensive ($200) or the 6950 should be cheaper, obviously as a consumer I would prefer the latter.
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