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Best PCIe Card: $430 And Up

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: June '09
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Best PCIe Card For ~$455: Tie

Good 1920x1200 performance, 2560x1600 in most titles with some lowered detail

Two Radeon HD 4890 cards in CrossFire Configuration (Check Prices)

2 x Radeon HD 4890 in CrossFire Configuration
Codename: 2 x RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 1,600 (2 x 800)
Texture Units: 80 (2 x 40)
ROPs: 32 (2 x 16)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 975 (3,900 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

Two Radeon HD 4890 cards should, on average, perform on par or better than a single GeForce GTX 295 (and the Radeons cost $80 less). If you have a CrossFire motherboard and want some serious high-resolution performance, this is the way to go, and the graphics cards will cost about $440, or $30 less than a pair of GeForce GTX 275 cards.


Two GeForce GTX 275 cards in SLI configuration (Check Prices)

2 x GeForce GTX 275 in SLI Configuration
Codename: 2 x GT200b
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 480 (2 x 240)
Texture Units: 160 (2 x 80)
ROPs: 56 (2 x 28)
Memory Bus: 448-bit
Core Speed MHz: 633
Memory Speed MHz: 1,134 (2,268 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

Two GeForce GTX 275 cards will cost you a few bucks more than a couple of Radeon HD 4890s, but if you have an SLI-only motherboard, it doesn't matter that much, does it? Two GeForce GTX 275s in SLI will deliver performance superior to the GeForce GTX 295 for about $370, which is $50 less than the SLI-on-a-card GeForce GTX 295.


Best PCIe Card For ~$520: None

Honorable Mention: GeForce GTX 295 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance in most games, 2560x1600 in most titles (some with lowered detail)

GeForce GTX 295
Codename: 2 x GT200b
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 480 (2 x 240)
Texture Units: 160 (2 x 80)
ROPs: 56 (2 x 28)
Memory Bus: 448-bit
Core Speed MHz: 576
Memory Speed MHz: 999 (1,998 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 with SLI-on-a-card is the most powerful single graphics card on the planet. With two attached GeForce GTX 275 cards that have been merged, the GeForce GTX 295 offers very notable gains over the Radeon HD 4870 X2 in the great majority of game titles. Even more impressive is that it does so while consuming less power than ATI's flagship card, which is no small feat.

This is the fastest single graphics card you can get. To get more performance, you'd have to look to extreme solutions such as multiple GeForce GTX 285s in SLI or Radeon HD 4870 X2s in CrossFire, but unless you have a 30" monitor, that would likely be a gratuitous waste of money.

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