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Best PCI-E Card For ~$125: Tie

Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money: September 2007
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Radeon X1950 PRO
Codename: RV570
Process: 90nm
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)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 9.0c / SM 3.0

With no high-performance DirectX 10 cards under $200 to compete against it, the relatively powerful X1950 PRO is having a heyday. Yes, the 8600 GTS is a DirectX 10 card, but it's more expensive than the X1950 PRO and isn't in the same performance league when higher resolutions are used.

The card's other competition is the 7900 GS, which the X1950 PRO will beat in most benchmarks at stock speeds.

GeForce 7900 GS
Codename: G71
Process: 90nm
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)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 9.0c / SM 3.0

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 slightly stronger performer at stock speeds, the 7900 GS has a good overclocking reputation, while the X1950 PRO does not.

Best PCI-E Card For ~$200
Radeon X1950 XT
Codename: R580+
Process: 90nm
Pixel Shaders: 48
Vertex Shaders: 8
Texture Units: 16
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 625
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (1800 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model DX 9.0c / SM 3.0

The X1950 XT is a powerful graphics card. Its core runs a mere 25 MHz slower than that of the X1950 XTX, and its memory runs a full 250 MHz (effective) faster than the X1900 XTX. It is on par with the previous X1900 XTX champ, and fast enough to run at high resolutions with nice eye candy. It will handily beat a 7950 GT, and even best a 7900 GTO or 7900 GTX at most things.

The X1950 XT is a great deal at the $200 price point. Many are $250 or higher, though, and at that price it begins to tread too closely to the 8800 GTS, which is more powerful.

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