The Fastest 3D Cards Go Head-To-Head

Price/Performance Comparison

The Radeon 3850 is an interesting data point. The 256 MB version was more expensive than the 512 MB model on the day the price research was carried out, so the price listed in the table refers to the 512 version. The Geforce 8800 GT with 1024 MB has become considerably more expensive.

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Price comparisondollars
Geforce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB)840
Geforce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB)540
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB)540
Geforce GTX 280 (1024 MB)420
Geforce 9800 GTX SLI (512 MB)400
Geforce 8800 GT SLI (1024 MB)380
Radeon HD 4850 CF (512 MB)350
Geforce 8800 GTS SLI (512 MB)340
Geforce GTX 260 (896 MB)290
Geforce 9800 GX2 (2x512 MB)280
Geforce 9600 GT SLI (1024 MB)280
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB)270
Radeon HD 3870 CF (512 MB)250
Radeon HD 3870 X2 (2x512 MB)250
Geforce 8800 GT SLI (512 MB)240
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)200
Geforce 8800 GT (1024 MB)190
Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB)175
Geforce 8800 GTS (512 MB)170
Geforce 8800 GTS (640 MB)160
Geforce 8600 GTS SLI (256 MB)160
Geforce 9600 GT (1024 MB)140
Geforce 8800 GT (512 MB)120
Geforce 8600 GT SLI (512 MB)120
Radeon HD 3870 (512 MB)130
Radeon HD 3650 CF (512 MB)120
Radeon HD 3850 (256 MB)90
Geforce 8600 GTS (256 MB)80
Geforce 8600 GT (256 MB)70
Radeon HD 3650 (512 MB)60

The “dollar per frame” figures below show the current graphics chips sorted according to price/performance ratio. The lower the number, the better the ranking. People looking for the best price/performance ratio should purchase a Geforce 8800 GT.

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Price/performance comparisondollars per frame
Geforce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB)0.238
Geforce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB)0.166
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB)0.155
Geforce 8600 GTS SLI (256 MB)0.127
Geforce 9800 GTX SLI (512 MB)0.114
Geforce GTX 280 (1024 MB)0.111
Geforce 8800 GT SLI (1024 MB)0.109
Radeon HD 4850 CF (512 MB)0.108
Geforce 8800 GTS SLI (512 MB)0.098
Radeon HD 3870 X2 (2x512 MB)0.089
Radeon HD 3870 CF (512 MB)0.086
Geforce GTX 260 (896 MB)0.083
Geforce 9600 GT SLI (1024 MB)0.084
Geforce 9800 GX2 (2x512 MB)0.083
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB)0.080
Geforce 8600 GT SLI (256 MB)0.079
Geforce 8600 GT (256 MB)0.074
Radeon HD 3650 CF (512 MB)0.073
Geforce 8600 GTS (256 MB)0.071
Geforce 8800 GT SLI (512 MB)0.070
Geforce 8800 GT (1024 MB)0.068
Geforce 8800 GTS (640 MB)0.067
Geforce 9800 GTX (512 MB)0.067
Radeon HD 3650 (512 MB)0.060
Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB)0.059
Geforce 9600 GT (1024 MB)0.057
Geforce 8800 GTS (512 MB)0.057
Radeon HD 3870 (512 MB)0.054
Radeon HD 3850 (256 MB)0.044
Geforce 8800 GT (512 MB)0.043
  • San Pedro
    Looks like the results for SLI and Crossfire were switched with the single card results. . .
  • Duncan NZ
    Not a bad article, really comprehensive.
    My one complaint? Why use that CPU when you know that the test cards are going to max it out? Why not a quad core OC'ed to 4GHz? It'd give far more meaning to the SLI results. We don't want results that we can duplicate at home, we want results that show what these cards can do. Its a GPU card comparason, not a complain about not having a powerful enough CPU story.

    Oh? And please get a native english speaker to give it the once over for spelling and grammar errors, although this one had far less then many articles posted lately.
  • elbert
    No 4870x2 in CF so its the worlds top end Nvidia vs ATI mid to low end.
  • Lightnix
    It'd be a good article if you'd used a powerful enough CPU and up to date Radeon drivers (considering we're now up to 8.8 now), I mean are those even the 'hotfix' 8.6's or just the vanilla drivers?
  • elbert
    Version AMD Catalyst 8.6? Why not just say i'm using ATI drivers with little to no optimizations for the 4800's. This is why the CF benchmarks tanked.
  • at 1280, all of the highend cards were CPU limited. at that resolution, you need a 3.2-3.4 c2d to feed a 3870... this article had so much potential, and yet... so much work, so much testing, fast for nothing, because most of the results are very cpu limited (except 1920@AA).
  • wahdangun
    WTF, hd4850 SHOULD be a lot faster than 9600 GT and 8800 GT even tough they have 1Gig of ram
  • mjam
    No 4870X2 and 1920 X 1200 max resolution tested. How about finishing the good start of an article with the rest of it...
  • I agree, the 4870 X2 should have been in there and should have used the updated drivers. Good article but I think you fell short on finishing it.
  • @pulasky - Rage much? It's called driver issues you dumbass. Some games are more optimised for multicard setups than others, and even then some favour SLi to Crossfire. And if you actually READ the article rather than let your shrinken libido get the better of you, you'll find that Crossfire does indeed work in CoD4.

    Remember, the more you know.