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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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  • 6 Hide
    BallistaMan , August 10, 2010 6:09 AM
    The chart at the end puts the 460 a bit low doesn't it? It benches at 285+ levels, leastways the 1GB one does (and ~260 SLI). Perhaps split the two up? 1GB gets bumped up one level and the 768 stays down a bit?

    Although without OCing it doesn't quite match a 5850 sooo...
  • -8 Hide
    techguy378 , August 10, 2010 6:17 AM
    If you don't need DX 11 support then the ATI Radeon 4770 is the best value. The Radeon 4770 is a budget graphics card only by its price tag, not by its performance. I've yet to find a DX 9 or 10 game that isn't playable at 1920x1080 resolution (single display) with 8x AA, and 16X AF. Clearly the numbers on the benchmarks don't tell the entire story. If ATI did as good of a job with the Radeon 5750 then there's probably no reason to spend more than $150 on a graphics card if you only use a single display.
  • 8 Hide
    mitch074 , August 10, 2010 6:32 AM
    @techguy378: since the 4850 costs pretty much the same as the 4770 but is, in most cases, a bit to quite more powerful, then no, the 4770 is not that good a deal. Not that it's BAD, mind you, it's just not the best deal.

    Well, my 4850 is no longer on the list: I have the 512 Mb version, and now only the 1 Gb version is recommended. I don't mind, 3 years as a recommendation is good enough.
  • 9 Hide
    theshonen8899 , August 10, 2010 6:35 AM
    fafkacwhere did ATI Radeon 5850 go o.O


    Yeah...I think the ~$280 5850 doesn't deserve to be kicked off the list guys. Did you forget to add it in?
  • 2 Hide
    andrewcutter , August 10, 2010 6:47 AM
    theshonen8899Yeah...I think the ~$280 5850 doesn't deserve to be kicked off the list guys. Did you forget to add it in?

    perhaps the falling price of 470 along with driver improvement
  • -8 Hide
    firedust , August 10, 2010 6:51 AM
    I appreciate these guides as much as the next guy, but you shouldn't assume that everyone buys from newegg. I personally buy from the local fry's electronics and the sub-90 gpu prices claimed here are way different.
  • 7 Hide
    Mark Heath , August 10, 2010 6:53 AM
    A great read as always :) 

    Thanks for including the Intel CPU graphics on the hierarchy chart.
  • -3 Hide
    SevenSacredSins , August 10, 2010 7:31 AM
    How is the 5870 on the same level as the 4850 x 2, using 9.1 drivers or something a 5850 was faster then that I think. 5870 easily compares to the 4870x2 and with the newest drivers it should be faster.
  • -2 Hide
    aznshinobi , August 10, 2010 7:46 AM
    Hmmm... I think the 5850 actually should be on the list as a 280$ card. The HIS iCooler V on newegg is near only 280$. Plus, it's temperature and overclock ability is much better than the 470. Since you can actually OC the 5850 to the point of a 5870. Plus the 470 is FREEAAKING ON FIRE. Well it's just that it runs very hot.
  • -4 Hide
    arcus_doom , August 10, 2010 8:13 AM
    Yay GTX 460!
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , August 10, 2010 8:19 AM
    Thanks
    but nVIDIA 460GTX 768 MB in sli better than ATI 5870 at the same price (400$)
  • 8 Hide
    TheStealthyOne , August 10, 2010 8:30 AM
    Competitors innovate and try to attract customers...

    Consumer wins!
  • 5 Hide
    ikaroh , August 10, 2010 9:12 AM
    "But not even the new GeForce GTX 460 can cop an easy win compared to the cheaper Radeon HD 5570."

    Is this a typo? You meant the Radeon HD 5770, right?
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , August 10, 2010 9:33 AM
    I wish I could remember where I read the benchmarks, but it looked like Intel's new HD graphics were in many cases slightly ahead of the AMD HD4200 and even HD3300 IGPs. I'll try to find it, although I'm getting ready for work now.
  • 2 Hide
    bearracuda , August 10, 2010 10:33 AM
    firedustI appreciate these guides as much as the next guy, but you shouldn't assume that everyone buys from newegg. I personally buy from the local fry's electronics and the sub-90 gpu prices claimed here are way different.


    ... Why wouldn't you buy from newegg? From my experience, newegg charges 30% less on computer parts than any brick and mortar store. If not cheaper.
  • -2 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , August 10, 2010 11:18 AM
    newegg doesnt ship internationally as far as i know. if they did the cost of shipping would outweigh thte difference. I dont like buying online either, i prefer if i have a problem with the card, to take it back to a store. HD4xxx series should not even be included in this list, they dont even sell that old tech where I live anymore.
  • 0 Hide
    theguyisback23 , August 10, 2010 11:48 AM
    oh my god! i have the ati radeon 4670 1gb from msi GDDR3 i have it 2 years and i still find the 4650 in the list of best buys here!
    im happy i didn;t throw much dollars and i have a good VGA than im happy to play with!
    here's what the specs are from gpuz!
    55nm process gpu clock 750mhz memory 873 mhz
    bandwidth 27.9 GB/s shaders 320 and all this for just 55 euros(72 dollars)
  • 5 Hide
    Tamz_msc , August 10, 2010 11:53 AM
    The 5850 is perhaps not here because the GTX 470 gives much better performance for a few bucks more.
  • 0 Hide
    Aditya nayyar , August 10, 2010 12:32 PM
    I think Raedon hd 5850 will be the best choice intihis range of buget
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