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Best PCIe Card: ~$200 To $275

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: August 2010
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Best PCIe Card For ~$200: Tie

GeForce GTX 460 768 MB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

GeForce GTX 460 768MB
Codename: GF104
Process:   40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 24
Memory Bus: 192-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

The GeForce GTX 460 768 MB delivers not only on performance, but also on an attractive price, reasonable power usage, and low noise output. Launched at $200, it's the first card to make this price point attractive since the Radeon HD 4890 was phased out, although its presence has forced the Radeon HD 5830 price down to the same level.

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 for more information on the card and its underlying architecture.

Radeon HD 5830 (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5830
Codename: RV870
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 1120
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 800
Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

The Radeon HD 5830 remains competitive with the GeForce GTX 460 768 MB. This was more of a forced move, though, as Nvidia's latest mainstream stunner forced AMD to push prices down to $200, where we originally said it belongs. The card no longer enjoys a competition-free landscape, but it remains a viable option.

Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 5830 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$230: 

GeForce GTX 460 1 GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

GeForce GTX 460 1GB
Codename: GF104
Process:   40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

At $30 more than its 768 MB brother, the 1 GB GeForce GTX 460 enjoys a larger frame buffer and an increased ROP count. Performance is naturally higher than the 768 MB version, which is the reason Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 1 GB deserves a recommendation of its own for folks able to use a full 1 GB of memory (in our launch coverage, this was an issue mostly at higher resolutions with anti-aliasing enabled).

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 for more information on the card and its underlying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$270:

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 the buyer is willing to pay the extra money required for a CrossFire-capable 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.

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