Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best PCIe Card: ~$100 To $190

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: July 2010
By

Best PCIe Card For ~$105: Tie

Radeon HD 4850 512 MB (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

Radeon HD 4850
Codename: RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 625
Memory Speed MHz: 993 (1986 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

The Radeon HD 4850 can still be found at the ~$100 price point after a brief hiatus, and while we keep waiting for availability to dry up in the face of Radeon HD 5000-series successors, we hope it lasts.

Then again, the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250 seem determined to stay on the market for as long as possible. Could it be just a glut of inventory? Perhaps.

GeForce GTS 250 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

GeForce GTS 250
Codename: G92
Process: 65 nm
Universal Shaders: 128
Texture Units: 64
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 738 / 1836
Memory Speed MHz: 1100 (2200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

As fast as the Radeon HD 4850 is, Nvidia's GeForce GTS 250 remains a viable option with similar gaming performance.

With an eye to the future, your choice between these $100 cards probably relies more on whether or not your motherboard is CrossFire- or SLI-compatible. At this point in the development in DirectX 11, it doesn't make much sense to favor AMD's last-generation GPU for its DirectX 10 support.

Best PCIe Card For ~$125:

Radeon HD 5750 1 GB (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

Radeon HD 5750 1GB
Codename: RV840 "Juniper"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 720
Texture Units: 36
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 700
Memory Speed MHz: 1150 (4600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

The price of the 1 GB Radeon HD 5750 remains quite low, and it's enough for us to take away the recommendation from the 1 GB versions of AMD's Radeon HD 4850 and Nvidia's GeForce GTS 250.

Although it costs a few dollars more, the 5750 is more appealing due to its DirectX 11 hardware capabilities. There are other benefits too, such as Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreaming and Eyefinity triple-display output support, making this card an easy $125 choice on all fronts.

Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 5750 for more information on the card and its underlying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$155:

Radeon HD 5770 1GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5770
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

While AMD's new Radeon HD 5770 isn't any faster than the older Radeon HD 4870 (we've found that it's even slightly slower in many instances), it does have something the Radeon HD 4870 doesn't have: full DirectX 11 and Eyefinity support. Indeed, while the Radeon HD 5770 doesn't run away with any performance crowns in this category, it does look good from a longevity/value standpoint.

Perhaps more importantly, at the $155 price point, there is nothing to compete against this card now that the Radeon HD 4870 is at the end of its effective life. Nvidia claims that its GeForce GTX 260 remains the last GT200-based card in its lineup, but supply is definitely not what it used to be (nor is the card's price tag, which usually hovers around $200 now). Until Nvidia can offer some new competition at this price point, the Radeon HD 5770 will remain one of the most powerful gamer's cards for the price.

(Ed.: Keep an eye out in the next two weeks. Don's foreshadowing might just turn into something concrete!)

Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 5770 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Display all 77 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    mitch074 , July 5, 2010 11:17 AM
    My 4850 is now entering its third year of faithful use - and it's still a recommendation! I can hardly believe it.

    It doesn't happen often, but this sure is a 'puter product that wasn't outdated 6 months after it came out.
  • 12 Hide
    cleeve , July 5, 2010 1:55 PM
    youssef 2010who said the 9600 disappeared.


    There's only three models of 9600 GT and two of 9600 GSO on Newegg, and they're all overpriced.

    For all practical purposes, the 9600 GSO is gone.
  • 10 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , July 5, 2010 6:22 AM
    I think I agree with the 5850 taking the solid recommendation and the gtx 470 not. The 5850 runs cooler, quieter, and uses less power.

    However I just got my GTX 470 with the EVGA lifetime warranty and free copy of Just Cause 2 for $330, so I am happy with that choice :) 

    Other than that, like the article states, it was a relatives quiet month for video card updates. Looking forward to ATI/Nvidia's next offerings as well as driver updates.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    kckrich , July 5, 2010 6:12 AM
    God how I love Tom's.
  • 10 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , July 5, 2010 6:22 AM
    I think I agree with the 5850 taking the solid recommendation and the gtx 470 not. The 5850 runs cooler, quieter, and uses less power.

    However I just got my GTX 470 with the EVGA lifetime warranty and free copy of Just Cause 2 for $330, so I am happy with that choice :) 

    Other than that, like the article states, it was a relatives quiet month for video card updates. Looking forward to ATI/Nvidia's next offerings as well as driver updates.
  • 0 Hide
    sprunth , July 5, 2010 6:52 AM
    Error on the 5770 article. Typed '5570' once in the middle.

    I just bought a 5770 like a week ago for $130 :) 

    The 5770 seems to be really good at OCing and economically better priced for X-fire.
  • -5 Hide
    misha87 , July 5, 2010 7:42 AM
    i thought that the 465 was going to be a little higher
  • -2 Hide
    notty22 , July 5, 2010 8:27 AM
    Quote:
    I think I agree with the 5850 taking the solid recommendation and the gtx 470 not. The 5850 runs cooler, quieter, and uses less power.

    However I just got my GTX 470 with the EVGA lifetime warranty and free copy of Just Cause 2 for $330, so I am happy with that choice :) 

    Other than that, like the article states, it was a relatives quiet month for video card updates. Looking forward to ATI/Nvidia's next offerings as well as driver updates.

    At $315, the GeForce GT 470 would take a solid recommendation, but at $330 it gets an honorable mention.
    Here is the GTX 470 at 299.99, sans rebate, free shipping. Read between the lines and the nod goes to Nvidia :) 
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127501&cm_re=gtx_470-_-14-127-501-_-Product
  • -6 Hide
    youssef 2010 , July 5, 2010 8:43 AM
    who said the 9600 disappeared.If you think so, kindly check the following links:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130360&cm_re=9600-_-14-130-360-_-Product

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814162030&cm_re=9600-_-14-162-030-_-Product

    for 9600GSO:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500149&cm_re=9600-_-14-500-149-_-Product
  • -5 Hide
    jordan009 , July 5, 2010 9:38 AM
    does crossfire even increase perofrmance by that much in games? (what if the games you paly arent optimised for it?) anyways :D  my card is in 4th of the list (5770)
  • 10 Hide
    DjEaZy , July 5, 2010 10:04 AM
    ... it's ATi all over the place...
  • -1 Hide
    FunSurfer , July 5, 2010 11:09 AM
    Why is the mobility HD 4860 is one tier lower than the mobility HD 4850?
  • 13 Hide
    mitch074 , July 5, 2010 11:17 AM
    My 4850 is now entering its third year of faithful use - and it's still a recommendation! I can hardly believe it.

    It doesn't happen often, but this sure is a 'puter product that wasn't outdated 6 months after it came out.
  • -3 Hide
    Petey1013 , July 5, 2010 12:56 PM
    I'm surprised there's no mention of GTX 470s in SLI, especially compared to a 5970.
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , July 5, 2010 1:13 PM
    Don well done on an other great article.

    Gee the 9800gtx+ ... er GT250 is a steal at that price.

    Great card ... if a little hot on the old 65nm process.

    AMD need to drop the price another $10 on their remaining stock of 4 series GPU's and get them out the door ... and keep hammering NV on the 5 series front ... where is is more profitable anyway.



  • 12 Hide
    cleeve , July 5, 2010 1:55 PM
    youssef 2010who said the 9600 disappeared.


    There's only three models of 9600 GT and two of 9600 GSO on Newegg, and they're all overpriced.

    For all practical purposes, the 9600 GSO is gone.
  • 0 Hide
    DaeM , July 5, 2010 1:56 PM
    Best PCIe Card For ~$700: None

    lol trying to spend maximum allowable top-dollar geting ^^... none :p  lol
  • 1 Hide
    nerrawg , July 5, 2010 2:42 PM
    Great and simple guide as usual but I wonder Cleeve if the GFX hierarchy might benefit from adding a tier between the GTX 285/5850 and the GTX 260/4870 levels? This tier would be NVidia: GTX275, GTX280 and GTX 465; AMD: 4890 and 5830. I think such a tier might better reflect the descrepancy in GPU power between these cards and the GTX260/4870/5770 as well as the fact that there is at least a $50-100 separation in price between the preposed tiers.
  • -3 Hide
    scook9 , July 5, 2010 3:24 PM
    I disagree with the layout of the chart on the last page.

    The 4870x2 and 5870 are about equal and a GTX295 is not as good as a GTX 480. The GTX 295 and GTX 470 should be in that gap and the 5870 should be bumped up a notch
  • -5 Hide
    philiprudd , July 5, 2010 3:25 PM
    Nice for AMD again another month with a good lineup still unmatched in many price points but one that is bothering me is that you guys keep on showing the HD5870 is more powerful than a GTX470 but they look very close matched to me these last few weeks but with power and heat the HD cards is on there own with gr8 price/performance.

  • 6 Hide
    zooted , July 5, 2010 3:40 PM
    chriscusanoI thought the 5750 was dx10, not 11...

    All of the 5xxx series are dx11
Display more comments