AMD's $80 DirectX 11 Card
In September of 2008--almost a year and a half ago--ATI surprised everyone on a budget with the launch of its Radeon HD 4670. Released at $80, the card was priced to fight the entry-level GeForce 9500 GT, and yet the 4670's specifications were comparable to the previous-generation's Radeon HD 3870 flagship.
To make a long story short, the Radeon HD 4670's performance humiliated its competition. With 320 shader cores at its disposal, the Radeon HD 4670 changed the game at its price point. The card's presence forced Nvidia to create the GeForce 9600 GSO from high-end parts that were more expensive to manufacture, also causing the company to drop the price of its GeForce 9600 GT.
Since its inception, the Radeon HD 4670 has remained one of the best budget gaming cards on the market (and a staple recommendation in our Best Graphics Cards For The Money column). It is also notable that it held the distinction of being the fastest reference card that didn't require a dedicated PCIe power cable for over a year, until Nvidia introduced its GeForce GT 240, later bested by ATI's Radeon HD 5670.
ATI truly raised the bar on what we now expect from an $80 graphics card with its Radeon HD 4670. And it just so happens that today, AMD is releasing the spiritual successor to that venerable card in its Radeon HD 5570, also priced to compete at $80.
With the Radeon HD 5450 too slow to provide enthusiast-class gaming performance on a budget, and the Radeon HD 5670 priced at $100, we certainly can't help but to have high hopes that this new card might be the Holy Grail; an offering able to deliver usable triple-monitor Eyefinity gaming performance on an entry-level budget.