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Best PCIe Card: $125 To $200

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: April 2011
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Best PCIe Card For ~$120:

Radeon HD 5770 1 GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5770 1 GB
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 1 GB is an extremely attractive $120 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 ~$150: None

The GeForce GTX 460 768 MB and new Radeon HD 6790 deliver impressive performance for a reasonable price tag, but with the Radeon HD 6850 dropping to $165, it's hard to recommend these cards instead of spending a mere $15 premium for the more powerful card.

Best PCIe Card For $165:

Radeon HD 6850 (Check Prices)

Great 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 for the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB, and the AMD card's aggressive price forced Nvidia to drop its own MSRPs in order to stay competitive. Both boards offer DirectX 11 support and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities, but with Radeon HD 6850 priced at the $165 mark, it's affordable enough to earn the sole recommendation at this time.

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

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  • 0 Hide
    chefboyeb , April 20, 2011 5:12 AM
    The HD6970s are still a great buy in my books... I'm glad i got me a pair...
  • 2 Hide
    burnley14 , April 20, 2011 5:45 AM
    It's not nearly the most exciting, but I always find the low end graphics updates the most interesting. I've never had to have the latest and greatest cards but it's interesting to see how much performance one can get for so cheap these days, and it's constantly improving with trickle-down.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 20, 2011 5:51 AM
    only 4 nvidia cards?
  • 3 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , April 20, 2011 6:18 AM
    so AMD cards are still better value despite people crying about drivers and stuttering and such. Just wondering if you guys at Toms have had any driver or stuttering issues?
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , April 20, 2011 7:28 AM
    Just a thought, but maybe you could add a plot graph of performance vs. price with various cards in it. I think a visual presentation would give a better understanding when comparing cards and special deals.
  • 1 Hide
    alikum , April 20, 2011 7:40 AM
    iam2thecroweso AMD cards are still better value despite people crying about drivers and stuttering and such. Just wondering if you guys at Toms have had any driver or stuttering issues?

    Well, I've also seen people crying with blue screen issues on nVidia's side. I own numerous nVidia and AMD cards whichever had the better value at point of purchase and I can say, these people who cry and whine represent only a small percentage of the market.

    Look, I'm not being bias on either side, but to say that the drivers from either company is perfect is absurd (again, not saying that you said so). Each company has its fair share of driver issues so don't let purchase be affected by drivers. More times than not, monitor calibration, games development and color profiles could be the root of issues.
  • 0 Hide
    unklg , April 20, 2011 8:28 AM
    what if a gtx460 768mb and hd5770 1024mb cost the same? which is better?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 20, 2011 9:01 AM
    best card for $420, article released on 4/20.. hmmm
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 20, 2011 9:03 AM
    ^obviously gtx460 768mb...
  • 0 Hide
    Sud099 , April 20, 2011 9:12 AM
    @unklg:o n that occasion no doubt gtx460 768mb would be the choice...
  • 1 Hide
    rainwilds , April 20, 2011 10:08 AM
    What's with the rating system? Is 'excellent' better than 'great'?
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , April 20, 2011 10:08 AM
    Wow, my HD5770 is till there?
  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , April 20, 2011 10:26 AM
    lol. where did all GTX460 go? :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    Rizlla , April 20, 2011 11:17 AM
    I'm still looking at a pair of those 6970's. So tempting.
  • 1 Hide
    ProDigit10 , April 20, 2011 12:52 PM
    I wish the graphic chips of arm powered devices could once be tested too!
    A lot of gear out there that has unknown GPU's, some of which are reasonably good for the job they perform.
  • 1 Hide
    ScrewySqrl , April 20, 2011 12:53 PM
    rizllaI'm still looking at a pair of those 6970's. So tempting.


    It was always a tie with the 6850, but all th 460s are $190 now while the 6850 is $165. Not worth a $25 price increase for te same performance
  • 1 Hide
    enzo matrix , April 20, 2011 12:55 PM
    What about the 6570? With it's overclocking potential, it is a no brainer over the 5670 for those who overclock.
  • 0 Hide
    enzo matrix , April 20, 2011 12:58 PM
    Quote:
    There's another reason to consider this model. Many folks have had luck modding this board into a fully-functional Radeon HD 6970 through a firmware update. If you can pull that off, the value of the 2 GB Radeon HD 6950 seems pretty clear.

    Not really. The 1GB version can still unlock the shaders. Then overclock to 6970 speeds and you achieve the same result.
  • 2 Hide
    colanusus , April 20, 2011 1:02 PM
    I believe it should be mentioned what is the setup and the details set for these benchmarks; i.e I currently own Q6600@3.2Ghz + 4GB 800Mhz DDR2 + GTX580 + 120GB Vertex 2 SSD; I can tell you that on 1920-1080 res it can not cope with 8xMSAA and ambient occlusion on high or other such details at max; So to me Excellent or Great means that you can play at a certain resolution with everything on MAX (including aliasing, transparency, ambient light, etc)
  • 1 Hide
    tony singh , April 20, 2011 1:22 PM
    Quote:
    I believe it should be mentioned what is the setup and the details set for these benchmarks; i.e I currently own Q6600@3.2Ghz + 4GB 800Mhz DDR2 + GTX580 + 120GB Vertex 2 SSD; I can tell you that on 1920-1080 res it can not cope with 8xMSAA and ambient occlusion on high or other such details at max; So to me Excellent or Great means that you can play at a certain resolution with everything on MAX (including aliasing, transparency, ambient light, etc)


    GTX580 with q6600 & 800Mhz DDR2 ???
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