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Best PCI-E Card For ~$190

The Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money: February 2008
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Radeon 3850 512 MB
Codename: RV670
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 320
Texture Units: 16
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 670
Memory Speed MHz: 833 (1666 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10.1 / SM 4.0

The 512 MB version of the Radeon 3850 offers some high-resolution performance gains, as well as the ability to use ultra-high texture quality settings. This card battles the more expensive 256 MB version of the 8800 GT, which is somewhat limited by its lower amount of memory.

Best PCI-E Card For ~$230

Radeon 3870
Codename: RV670
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 320
Texture Units: 16
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 775
Memory Speed MHz: 1125 (2250 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10.1 / SM 4.0

The Radeon 3870 is a lot of card for $230. The only reason not to buy a 3870 is the Geforce 8800 GT 512 MB, which can offer noticeably more performance for only slightly more money.

Best PCI-E Card For ~$250

GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB
Codename: G92
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 112
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 600
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (1800 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10 / SM 4.0

The 8800 GT offers incredible Geforce 8800 GTX-class performance at almost half the price. It beats the Radeon 3870 by a notable margin, but it does tend to be a bit more expensive. That said, if you have $250 to spend on a graphics card, you couldn't do better than a nice 8800 GT.

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