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Best PCI-E Card For Under $110

The Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money: March 2008
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GeForce 8600 GTS
Codename G84
Process 80 nm
Universal Shaders 32
Texture Units 16
ROPs 8
Memory Bus 128 bit
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 found as low $110, the 8600 GTS looks much more attractive. While the X1950 PRO has better raw specifications than the X1950 PRO (especially its 256 bit memory interface), the 8600 GTS has strong shaders that can perform very well in certain titles.

Best PCI-E Card For ~$170

Radeon 3850 256 MB
Codename RV670
Process 55 nm
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 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 over $100 less.

If you're looking to get the best possible performance for the dollar, this card hits the sweet spot.

Best PCI-E Card For ~$160

Radeon 3850 512 MB
Codename RV670
Process 55 nm
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.

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