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PCI-E Interface

Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money: April 08

Best PCI-E Card For Under $100

Radeon HD 2600XT
Codename: RV630
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 128
Texture Units: 8
ROPs: 4
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 800
Memory Speed MHz: 700 (1400 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 10 / SM 4.0

(Compare Prices on Radeon HD 2600 XT Cards)

The performance of the 2600 XT is very close to that of the GeForce 8600 GT GDDR3, but at $75 online, the 2600XT is cheaper and takes the recommendation this month. The 8600 GT DDR2 can be found at this price, but the DDR2 version has crippled performance compared to its GDDR3 sibling.

Best PCI-E Card For $100

GeForce 8600 GTS
Codename: G84
Process: 80nm
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

At launch time, the 8600 GTS was grossly overpriced compared to the X1950 PRO, but now the X1950 PRO has all but disappeared, and the ones we could find were highly overpriced. In addition, the 8600 GTS can be found for as low as $100, which is about half the price the 8600 GTS was introduced at. Because of this aggressive pricing, it’s the first time the 8600 GTS can get our wholehearted recommendation.

Best PCI-E Card For $135

Radeon 3850 256 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 Radeon 3850 has been found as low as $135 online, and at this price, it’s an absolute steal, offering the consumer AMD’s highest-performing GPU at lower clockspeeds than the 3870 and an extremely aggressive price. If you’re looking to get the best possible performance for the dollar, this card hits the sweet spot.

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  • 0 Hide
    Katreat , April 16, 2008 5:59 PM
    I would personally like to see the higher end video card rankings include not just SLI options. First, if you are upgrading an existing single card system an SLI option is not an option. Second, if you are building new or dont have an SLI MB then that best for $300 option is more like best for $400 because in most cases you will pay $100 more to just set up SLI. It requires a bigger PSU than a single card system would need and most newer SLI MBs, like the 780i series, are more expensive than the single card alternative, like a P35. IMO going to SLI is not the best option for many people. Nothing wrong with including it in the review for those with a SLI capable MB but it should not replace what is the best card in that price range.
  • 0 Hide
    robertito , April 16, 2008 6:19 PM
    I can't SLI on my Mobo and don't plan to get a SLI mobo any time soon. IMO single card solutions are always better as some games don't support SLI and sometimes the improvement over the single card is only a few FPS.
  • 0 Hide
    crazy032 , April 17, 2008 6:10 AM
    Also agreed, I don't plan on spending what extra cash I do have on a second video card.
  • 0 Hide
    Katreat , April 17, 2008 6:28 AM
    Your final table is really messed up. you have ATI and Nvida cards mixed up. Also you are missing relatively new cards like the 8800 GTS 320 which is a great buy used right now as people upgrade.

    Also, in reference to my earlier post, could you treat SLI like you do AGP with a seperate list? Recomending SLI to people who dont already have an SLI MB is not helpful at all.
  • 0 Hide
    switch495 , May 5, 2008 2:12 AM
    I'd also like to see single slot suggestions for the high end... and a comparison on how they stack up the SLI.
  • 0 Hide
    r1948 , May 10, 2008 10:32 AM

    A submission for the under $100 card: Powercolor AX3650 1gb ddr2 128 bit $64.99 after $20 rebate. Only $130 for 2 gb in crossfire.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2008 7:26 AM
    This chart is for gaming cards. I would like to see same charts but then for video-editing users, dtp-users, allround-users.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2008 5:09 PM
    Hrmmmm.... SLI and Vista still not working correctly? Ive heard from all my gamer buddies this is true, and I just switched (I love vista, i hated till i tried it). Anyways Im on a 512 Geforce 8800GT loving graphics and was thinking about buying another 8800GT for the SLI...but apparently SLI doesnt work with Vista (something about Nvidia drivers and Vista)... Is this true or is that Mac antivista propaganda?
  • 0 Hide
    salem80 , February 5, 2009 2:37 PM
    that's old news nows , before the amazing HD 4000 series come out .
    i have HD 4650 (bought it for 72$ now in newwegg cost 40$ )
    and it's beat GF9500GT in everything .
  • 0 Hide
    utkarsh_03 , December 22, 2009 2:46 AM
    8800 gt for pcie1.0a board. does it work on good speed