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Best PCI-E Card For ~$170: Tie

The Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money: March 2007
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Radeon X1950 PRO

Codename: RV570
Process: 90 nm
Pixel Shaders: 36
Vertex Shaders: 8
Texture Units: 12
ROPs: 12
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 575
Memory Speed MHz: 690 (1380 effective)

The X1950 PRO is similar to the X1900 GT, the main difference being that it is not based on the X1900 XT, but a whole new and less power-hungry core. The card's main competition is the 7900 GS, which the X1950 PRO will beat in most benchmarks at stock speeds. However, the 7900 GS tends to be cheaper, and the X1950 PRO does not overclock well, so they are both good buys depending on what you plan to use them for.

GeForce 7900 GS

Codename: G71
Process: 90 nm
Pixel Shaders: 20
Vertex Shaders: 7
Texture Units: 20
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 450
Memory Speed MHz: 660 (1320 effective)

Essentially the card is an overclocked 7800 GT, sporting a 256-bit memory bus and decent clock speeds. It's a very good performer and a solid card for the money.

While the X1950 PRO is a stronger performer, it's also a bit more expensive. The 7900 GS also has a good overclocking reputation, while the X1950 PRO does not.

Best PCI-E Card For ~$200

None

I had a hard time with this segment, because the GeForce 7900 GT can be had for about $200 now, and the 7950 GT can be bought for as low as $215.

These are both good cards, and both are better than the Radeon X1950 PRO and GeForce 7900 GS. So why didn't I recommend them? These cards are squeezed in by better deals.

Below, the Radeon X1950 PRO and GeForce 7900 GS performance is very good and fairly close for a price tag that is at least $30 cheaper. On the upper end, the GeForce 7950 GT is hard to recommend at $215 - $240, when the much-more-powerful Radeon X1950 XT's price is only $230.

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