Best PCI-E Card For ~$120: Tie
|Radeon X1950 PRO|
|Core Speed MHz:||575|
|Memory Speed MHz:||690 (1380 effective)|
|DirectX / Shader Model||DX 9.0c / SM 3.0|
The X1950 PRO is still holding on as a great $120 gaming card. The card's main competition in this price range is the 8600 GTS, which doesn't have the brute strength the X1950 PRO offers, but has a more advanced architecture that sports advantages in specific gaming situations.
|GeForce 8600 GTS|
|Core Speed MHz:||675|
|Memory Speed MHz:||1000 (2000 effective)|
|DirectX / Shader Model||DX 10 / SM 4.0|
On release, the 8600 GTS was grossly overpriced compared to the X1950 PRO, but now with both as low $120, the 8600 GTS looks much more attractive. While the X1950 PRO has better raw specifications than the X1950 - especially its 256 bit memory interface - the 8600 GTS has strong shaders that can perform very well in certain titles. If you're buying a card at this price point, it's worth looking at the benchmarks to see which performs better with your favorite games.
Best PCI-E Card For ~$170
|Radeon 3850 256 MB|
|Core Speed MHz:||670|
|Memory Speed MHz:||833 (1666 effective)|
|DirectX / Shader Model||DX 10.1 / SM 4.0|
The Radeon 3850 brings us something we've been begging for ever since the DirectX 10 cards were introduced: a sub-$200 card with performance comparable to the high-end products. The Radeon 3850 delivers Geforce 8800 GTS 320mb performance for $100+ less.
If you're looking to get the best possible performance for the dollar, this card hits the sweet spot.