Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best PCIe Card: $250 To $400

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: September 2010
By

Best PCIe Card For ~$250:

2 x Radeon HD 5750 1 GB in CrossFire Configuration (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games

2 x Radeon HD 5750 1 GB in CrossFire
Codename: RV840 "Juniper"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 1440 (2 x 720)
Texture Units: 72 (2 x 36)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 16)
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 700
Memory Speed MHz: 1150 (4600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Dual Radeon HD 5750s in CrossFire make for a much more powerful option than a single Radeon HD 5830, if you're willing to spend the extra money to be sure you have a compatible motherboard and a beefier power supply. Fortunately, AMD has been much more flexible than Nvidia when it comes to licensing, and a majority of enthusiast-class platforms already support the company's multi-card rendering technology.

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

Best PCIe Card For ~$300:

GeForce GTX 470 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games

GeForce GTX 470
Codename: GF100
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 448
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 40
Memory Bus: 320-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 607 / 1215
Memory Speed MHz: 837 (3348 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Quite often, it seems like the GeForce GTX 470 performs closely to the Radeon HD 5850. But in some cases, the GeForce GTX 470 really stands out on its own, even giving the Radeon HD 5870 a run for its money. Now priced at $300 (and sometimes found online for even less) the GeForce GTX 470 gets the lone recommendation in this price range for being a powerful DirectX 11 card with extra functionality like PhysX and 3D Vision.

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 470 for more information on the card and its underlying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$360: None

Honorable Mention: Radeon HD 5870 1 GB (Check Prices)

Good 2560x1600 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5870 1 GB
Codename: RV870 "Cypress"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 1600
Texture Units: 80
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 1200 (4800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

For $60 less than the price of this card, a GeForce GTX 470 delivers exceptional performance in the games that matter today. From a raw price/performance standpoint, this makes the Radeon HD 5870 a harder sell.

But that is not to say the Radeon HD 5870 is underpowered. It is the fastest single-GPU Radeon option available, sporting relatively low power usage (remarkably low at idle), and the hardware prowess needed to accelerate DirectX 11-based games. The Radeon HD 5870 definitely remains viable.

For those thinking at the other end of the performance spectrum, a pair of Radeon HD 5870s in CrossFire is an attractive option.

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 5870 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

React To This Article