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How $200 Goes a Lot Further

Introduction

Sapphire's Radeon X1950 Pro Ultimate

If you want to buy high-end graphics hardware, you should only consider purchasing a DX10 based graphics card. Nvidia has its G80 graphics processor inside GeForce 8800 cards and ATI is rumored to have its DX10 card available sometime in January. Although we are on the verge of the next-generations of games, most of us are still playing games based on DX9 and DX8 code. So for those of us without $400 to $600 to spend on bleeding edge hardware, where do we turn for performance on the cheap?

Last week we received a new budget performance card from Sapphire that might suit your appetite for higher frames per second while it takes it easy on your wallet. For close to one third to one half the cost of the high-end cards, the Radeon X1950 Pro Ultimate has the performance to satisfy the majority of gamers. We put this card up against the top performers as well as its peer, the GeForce 7950GT. As you will see from the results, both mid-range budget cards demonstrate that there is a sweet spot just under the leaders in terms of price per performance.

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