Performance Per WHAT?
After taking a survey of how the cards did against each other, it only makes sense that we talk about the cost of the cards. Below is a list of all of the cards we tested, with the average cost of similarly equipped cards, as well as the lowest prices we found at the time this article was written (sales and rebates included).
|Card||Average Cost Today||Cheapest Price|
|Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX||$550||$550|
|Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX||$470||$470|
|ATI Radeon X1950 XTX||$420||$419|
|Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS||$390||$360|
|Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS 320 OC||$310||$310|
|Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS||$195||$180|
|ATI X1950 Pro 256 OC||$155||$130|
|Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT||$137||$137|
|(Prices as of 5/6/2007)|
Purely looking at what you can buy today, the segments are clearly drawn in the sand. High performance rings in around $450 and up, performance chimes in between $350 and $450, mainstream performance or the value enthusiast segment is $200 to $350, and finally, the value segment is under $200.
All of this sounds great to someone in marketing, but it does not mean that the performance lines up with how we play our games. As I commented earlier, many had anticipated that the 8600 series would be the savior for value segment. Lackluster performance even in the charts we put together for this article suggest that even a nice price tag and a few new features does not mean you want to buy it. If I want to game... give me gaming performance. When you account for performance and price, the frames per second for every dollar you spend should add up to something worthwhile.
Below are two charts showing the combined FPS of the real world applications divided by the cheapest street price. With and without the image quality enhancements enabled, the 8800 GTS 320 MB card stands out as the best performing DX10 card. You clearly get more frames for each dollar you spend on the card.