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Best PCIe Card: $90 To $190

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: Feb. '09
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Best PCIe Card For ~$90 :

Good 1600x1200 performance in most games; 1920x1200 in most titles with some lowered detail

Radeon HD 4830
Codename: RV770LE
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 640
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 575
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (1,800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.0

Read Customer Reviews of Asus' EAH4830


The new Radeon HD 4830 finally gives AMD something with which to compete against the legendary GeForce 8800 GT (as well as its identical sibling, the GeForce 9800 GT). Just as the GeForce 8800 GT is a crippled GeForce 8800 GTS 512, the Radeon HD 4830 is a crippled Radeon HD 4850. Both cards are excellent and which one wins over the other depends on the game or the image-quality settings.

Having said that, the Radeon HD 4830 does seem to have a solid edge right now when it comes to pricing—the cheapest Radeon HD 4830 we found on Newegg was just under $90, while the cheapest GeForce 9800 GT we could find was $110. At this price spread, the Radeon HD 4830 gets our recommendation. It's great to see a card that can touch 1920 x 1200 gaming at a price point below $100 for the first time.

Best PCIe Card For $150 : Tie

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games, some 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 (1,986 effective)
DirectX / Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.0

Read Customer Reviews of HIS' Hightech H485FN512P


The Radeon HD 4850 is the new people’s champion, instantly bringing yesterday’s $300 performance level down to the mainstream $160 price point. This card has a lot of potential when used on its own and becomes a devastating force when paired with a second Radeon HD 4850 in a CrossFire configuration.

GeForce 9800 GTX+
Codename: G92
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 128
Texture Units: 64
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 738
Memory Speed MHz: 1,100
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

Read Customer Reviews of Sparkle's SFPX98GTX+5123H


The GeForce 9800 GTX+ has been missing from our list for a few months because the Radeon HD 4850s have been notably cheaper for similar performance. Now that the price gap has leaned out to about $15, we can happily recommend the GeForce 9800 GTX+ again. As usual, your choice between the two will probably hinge on whether your motherboard supports SLI or CrossFire.

Best PCIe Card For $190:

Good 1920x1200 performance

Radeon HD 4870 512 MB
Codename: RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 750
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3,600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.0

Read Customer Reviews of Powercolor's AX4870 512MD5

The Radeon HD 4870 offers the same architecture that the Radeon HD 4850-series does, except it is paired with its secret weapon: brand-new GDDR5 memory. This technology provides about twice as much throughput as the GDDR3 does, so its 900 MHz clock speed is comparable to a 3,600 MHz effective memory speed. This edge allows the Radeon HD 4870 to up the ante and offer a very compelling level of performance for the price. It even competes with the more expensive GeForce GTX 280 in some titles.

Nvidia's new 55 nm revision of the GeForce GTX 260 is a good competitor to the Radeon HD 4870, but with Radeon HD 4870 prices dropping so quickly, we could only find the GeForce GTX 260 for at least $45 more. At this price spread, the Radeon HD 4870 is a notably better buy.

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