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The Best Gaming Graphics Cards for the Money: March 2008

Best AGP Card For >$170

Radeon X1950 PRO
Process90 nm
Pixel Shaders36
Vertex Shaders8
Texture Units12
Memory Bus256 bit
Core Speed MHz575
Memory Speed MHz690 (1380 effective)
DirectX / Shader ModelDX 9.0c / SM 3.0

The aging X1950 PRO is still a powerful AGP card. The only card over the X1950 PRO you might want to hold out for is the Radeon 3850, which may be too powerful for your older AGP system to utilize fully.

Best AGP Card For $215

Radeon 3850 512 MB
Process55 nm
Universal Shaders320
Texture Units16
Memory Bus256 bit
Core Speed MHz670
Memory Speed MHz833 (1666 effective)
DirectX / Shader ModelDX 10.1 / SM 4.0

Forever rumored and now finally available to purchase, the Radeon 3850 is, frankly, a curiously powerful card for the aging AGP bus. It is possibly too powerful to be properly utilized on the single-core CPUs that are typically paired with this platform.

Regardless, this is the most powerful AGP card you can get. Perhaps you have an AGP gaming system you just can't bear to part with, or perhaps you have an anomalous motherboard that has both a dual-core CPU and AGP slot. Whatever the reason, you can't get better than an AGP 3850, and if anyone ever releases a more powerful card in the future for the dying bus, we'll be incredibly surprised.

  • i have ati 9550 and im gonna buy the agp 8x 3850 512mb radeon, i was trying to figure out how many fps i will get with the change of these cards iv got my pc overclock at 3.000 mhz i got 800 fsb i got 1.5gig ram 3200 and got that overclock from 400mhz to 440mhz and i use a ram releaseso ram never runs out, at the moment i got the 9550 ati over clocked from 250 core too 420 and memory from 200 to 230,
  • Goatlips
    Cheers Woli.

    I should be able to see a massive improvement for just £45 if I replace my original GeForce FX 5500 (256MB) with a 8600 GT 512MB or 8600 GTS 256MB...But which is best, a 512MB GT or a 256MB GTS?

    Anything else I'd need to improve for under £50? Anything else I need to know?