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Best PCIe Card: $100 To $190

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: September 2010
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Best PCIe Card For ~$100:

Radeon HD 4850 512 MB (Check Prices)

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

Radeon HD 4850 512 MB
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 keeps on delivering great gaming value.

At the $100 price point, Nvidia's GeForce GTS 250 and AMD's Radeon HD 4850 hang on in an eternal battle to deliver fantastic performance to budget-oriented gamers. We don't think you can go wrong with either of these cards, but at the moment the Radeon HD 4850 512 MB is priced closer to the magic $100 figure we like to see.

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 1 GB
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

Although it costs a few dollars more than the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250, the Radeon HD 5750 has extra appeal appealdue 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 a solid $125 choice.

Bear in mind that the GeForce GTS 450 launched earlier this month as well, and we'll take that card into consideration for next month's column based on the pricing of retail cards.

Ed.: The GeForce GTS 450 launched last week while we were out at IDF. As Nvidia promised, it landed with a $130 price tag, sporting higher performance than AMD's Radeon HD 5750, DirectX 11 compatibility, and support for bitstreaming that will be exposed through an upcoming build of PowerDVD 10. You can expect Don to factor this card in to next month's column. For now, just be aware of this board's availability in the same space as AMD's Radeon HD 5750, which has dropped in price.

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

Best PCIe Card For ~$145:

Radeon HD 5770 1 GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5770 1 GB
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

At $145, nothing compares with the Radeon HD 5770, and it offers a worthwhile upgrade beyond the cheaper Radeon HD 5750. Not even the more expensive GeForce GTX 460 can cop an easy win, as Nvidia's mid-range champion bears a significantly higher price to match its superior performance. This card continues to offer impressive performance for its moderate asking price.

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

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , September 20, 2010 10:36 AM
    So the GTS450 costs 20% more than the GTX260 yet its a tier lower? RIPOFF!
  • 15 Hide
    ray-ng , September 20, 2010 11:07 AM
    I occasionally see the Radeon 4870 for $99.99 on Newegg. How come it wasn't mentioned??
  • 15 Hide
    micr0be , September 20, 2010 8:15 AM
    after a year my 4870x2 is still the "best man" so to speak.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    nativeson8803 , September 20, 2010 6:16 AM
    I'm glad I purchased a GTX 460, it was a great upgrade from my 9800gtx+. I'm thinking of going SLI, but since I'm on a 775 platform (q9550 @3.5) I wonder if there would be a bottleneck there and maybe I should hold off?

    Hope to see a pricewar!
  • 7 Hide
    Opc , September 20, 2010 6:28 AM
    What is a GTS 45 ? I just love the GTX 460
  • 1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , September 20, 2010 6:29 AM
    I totally agree with the selection of cards in the 200+$ range.
  • 7 Hide
    darthvidor , September 20, 2010 6:33 AM
    nice to see nvidia competing finally with amd.
  • 5 Hide
    Reynod , September 20, 2010 6:33 AM
    Thanks Don ... nice roundup.

  • 9 Hide
    jgv115 , September 20, 2010 6:48 AM
    C'mon nvidia! Lower the GTS450 to 100 dollars!! You know you want to ;) )
  • -3 Hide
    nevertell , September 20, 2010 8:07 AM
    nativeson8803I'm glad I purchased a GTX 460, it was a great upgrade from my 9800gtx+. I'm thinking of going SLI, but since I'm on a 775 platform (q9550 @3.5) I wonder if there would be a bottleneck there and maybe I should hold off?Hope to see a pricewar!


    No. There was a test with 2 480's sli'd with both 16x/16x and 4x/4x, and there were no bandwidth bottlenecks.
  • 8 Hide
    basket687 , September 20, 2010 8:10 AM
    On newegg GTX 460 768MB is listed for $170.
  • 15 Hide
    micr0be , September 20, 2010 8:15 AM
    after a year my 4870x2 is still the "best man" so to speak.
  • 8 Hide
    Darkerson , September 20, 2010 8:54 AM
    Always love reading these best GPU / CPU articles. Keeps things in perspective! Keep up the good work!
  • 1 Hide
    RCPG , September 20, 2010 9:42 AM
    Completely agree with darkerson.

    Just a minor correction:
    Middle column, 8th row, HD HD 5670.

    And as opc said: "What is a GTS 45 ?"

    Thanks.
  • 13 Hide
    mitch074 , September 20, 2010 9:55 AM
    My goodness.

    My card is a recommendation. Again.

    Who'd a thought the HD4850 would be such a long-lasting value 2 years ago?
  • 18 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , September 20, 2010 10:36 AM
    So the GTS450 costs 20% more than the GTX260 yet its a tier lower? RIPOFF!
  • -3 Hide
    joytech22 , September 20, 2010 10:53 AM
    My GTX470 SLI setup is a recommendation woohoo!! (well not mine, but you get the idea)

    I'm glad i got them, but now i have to sacrifice the upcoming AMD Processors because pretty much nobody will be making a SLI version of AM3+ or AM4...

    There are only 2 DDR3 SLI boards that i could find from almost EVERY major manufacturer for AMD boards.. and next generation will be lucky to have one..
  • 15 Hide
    ray-ng , September 20, 2010 11:07 AM
    I occasionally see the Radeon 4870 for $99.99 on Newegg. How come it wasn't mentioned??
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 20, 2010 12:15 PM
    Nice roundup... :) 

    But, just like Gamer's cards how about a nice roundup for HTPC oriented discreet cards? Many people are building their own HTPCs or going to something readymade (those ION boxes). But mot DIYers usually hit this question while finalizing the config, which discreet card with give bang-for-buck for HTPC?

    Something on that topics would be great help, especially if done a review roundup based around video decoding/de-interlacing/post-processing and overall picture quality perspective.
  • -4 Hide
    rantoc , September 20, 2010 12:36 PM
    480 GTX SLI in 2560x1600 FTW!
  • 8 Hide
    bujinyun , September 20, 2010 12:54 PM
    ray-ngI occasionally see the Radeon 4870 for $99.99 on Newegg. How come it wasn't mentioned??


    I completely agree with you. I just bought 2 4870 1GB for just $200 on newegg. It's quite shocking that it's not on the recommendation list.
  • 1 Hide
    liquidsnake718 , September 20, 2010 1:27 PM
    Ouch 3 months in a row going against the 5850 after being here for 9 months!!
  • 0 Hide
    gxpbecker , September 20, 2010 1:38 PM
    I love these articles. Debating on getting a 460 1g or just wait for the 6xxx series to come out ... along side price drops lol.
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