Best Graphics Cards For The Money: April '09

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touchdowntexas13

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I really wish the gtx 285 would go down in price and make this list. i would rather have this single gpu than another gpu in sli or crossfire. Then i would sli in the future if necessary. maybe there is hope for the gtx 285 to make the value list sometime this summer especially if ati comes out with their new gpu and the 285 has a nice drop in price.

another great article. i always enjoy this.
 

RazberyBandit

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This article is always a good read.

I must admit I'm a little disappointed to see another month with no changes in recommendations, even with two new releases thrown into the mix. There's really only one change I expect for next month, and that totally depends on whether or not the 47XX card(s) from ATI goes gold and displaces the 4830. I suppose if it's enough of a performance increase over the 4830, it could potentially take over part of or the entire ~$80 to ~$130 range of recommendations.

I suppose we wait and see.
 

realcyberghost

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I bought 2 x GTX285, I want the fastest single GPU, and that is still the GTX285, then I can always fall back to single GPU when there are problems with SLI.
SLI and Crossfire came a long way, but there are still many situations where the performance does not add up.
That is why I consider 2 x GTX285 a much safer and better investment then a single GTX295 or Radeon 4870x2.
 

realcyberghost

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I bought 2 x GTX285, I want the fastest single GPU, and that is still the GTX285, then I can always fall back to single GPU when there are problems with SLI.
SLI and Crossfire came a long way, but there are still many situations where the performance does not add up.
That is why I consider 2 x GTX285 a much safer and better investment then a single GTX295 or Radeon 4870x2.
 

realcyberghost

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I bought 2 x GTX285, I want the fastest single GPU, and that is still the GTX285, then I can always fall back to single GPU when there are problems with SLI.
SLI and Crossfire came a long way, but there are still many situations where the performance does not add up.
That is why I consider 2 x GTX285 a much safer and better investment then a single GTX295 or Radeon 4870x2.
 

nerrawg

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Good article as always - not anything to criticize except that I was surprised that 2 4830's in CF didn't even get a mention - after all you have a GPU solution there for $180 that beats all the competition (4870 1GB and 260 GTX) by a noteworthy margin:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/radeon-hd4830-crossfire.html
After mail-in-rebates its only ~$150 - thats seem pretty good bang for the buck and even if isn't a solution for everybody as you need a crossfire capable board and some good air flow, its still a great choice to consider.
 

Proximon

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As our triple-posting friend brings up, there are indeed times when a single GTX 285 might be a good purchase, or even two. I felt that might need more attention as I read this. At least some people do indeed want or prefer single GPU solutions.

Other than that, good as always.
 

phoenixpavan

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Good to see HD 4830 there. I waz wondering the last time y it was not in the list. Good work. Keep it coming.Very useful.
 

Pei-chen

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All these cards are good and all but non can give me the experience of playing KOTOR I for the first time on a 21" Mitsubishi and crappy Radeon 8500.

We need better games and not lame games with good graphic a la Crysis. I would gladly pay for a 275 or 4890 if KOTOR III or Modern Warfare II needs it.
 

hixbot

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I personally think these monthly evaluations should be split into two categories, Multi GPU and Single GPU. HD4850X2 might be a great bargain, but some people want to know the best value (in different price ranges) for single GPU configs. Multi GPU cards suffer from microstuttering, and driver support isn't perfect in every game.
For my personal needs, my value sweet spot is the HD4890 or GTX275.
The HD4850 might get higher average frame rates, but what about minimum frame rates? I'll NEVER buy multi GPU until they their issues are completely solved.
 

esquire468

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The Radeon HD 4850 X2 is essentially two Radeon HD 4850s in CrossFire mode on a single card, and it will beat the similarly priced GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 and more expensive GeForce GTX 280 hands-down. It will even put the hurt on the new, more expensive GeForce GTX 285.

We're still quite pleased that the Radeon HD 4850 X2 can now be found on Newegg for $260.
Geforce GTX 260's have dropped in price for some time now. In fact, there are several starting at $180, $80 below your suggested price point. Saying the 4850X2 will beat the similarly priced 260 is just plain off. A more adequate comparison in price would have been the GTX 275 or Radeon 4890. Was this just a cut and paste from last month's article, and oversight?
 

Fadamor

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These poor guys can't win! :) They get criticized for recommending cards paired in Crossfire or SLI. Then get comments on how readers were disappointed that a Crossfire configuration didn't make the list.

I have no problem if they restrict the reviews to single-card performance because multi-card setups are a graphics CONFIGURATION, not a graphics CARD. The graphics companies cheat a little by providing the dual GPU cards (the x2 cards for Radeon and the GTX295 for Nvidia, for example) and those could be evaluated as a CARD.
 

cleeve

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[citation][nom]Pei-chen[/nom]We need better games and not lame games with good graphic a la Crysis. I would gladly pay for a 275 or 4890 if KOTOR III [/citation]

KOTOR III is on the way... Bioware is developing the next Star Wars MMO in the KOTOR universe! Should be pretty sweet.
 

cleeve

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[citation][nom]nerrawg[/nom]Good article as always - not anything to criticize except that I was surprised that 2 4830's in CF didn't even get a mention - after all you have a GPU solution there for $180 that beats all the competition (4870 1GB and 260 GTX) by a noteworthy margin: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/v [...] sfire.htmlAfter mail-in-rebates its only ~$150 - thats seem pretty good bang for the buck and even if isn't a solution for everybody as you need a crossfire capable board and some good air flow, its still a great choice to consider.[/citation]

Two 4830's are pretty good, but a single 4870 512MB for the same price performs similarly and cheaper when you consider you don't need an Xfire motherboard and a beefier PSU. That's why two 4830's didn't make the cut... not to mention two 9800 GTs.

[EDIT] Yeah, that Xbit article makes a pretty good case for a couple 4830s. And therefore, probably a couple 9800 GTs. It's still not a slam dunk, but I'll reconsider for next month.
 

cleeve

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[citation][nom]Proximon[/nom]As our triple-posting friend brings up, there are indeed times when a single GTX 285 might be a good purchase, or even two. [/citation]

I'd disagree, the criteria to make this list is price and performance, I don't think the price of a single GTX 285 is justified at all when the 4850 X2 beats it quite soundly.

If there's a game that a single 285 beats a 4850 X2 at because of multi-GPU issues, it probably doesn't beat it by much. Conversely, the 4850 X2 can really take it to a 285 from what I've seen.

Of course I haven't benched every game under the sun, so if you have evidence of a few notable exceptions to this I'd be happy to review it and coinsider it. But without seeing that eveidence I have a hard time recommending the 285.
 

JeanLuc

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I agree with Cleeve, the current price point of the GTX 285 makes it perhaps the worst value for money card you can buy at the moment.

If I wrote this article I may have included the HD 4980 in there as well (or at least given it a special mention) considering overclocking that card can result in 30% extra performance.
 

scook9

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I can say that I am running 4850 in CF right now aided by a physx card and I have not been dissapointed in any games yet. Upraded to this setup from a lone 8800GTS 512, a great card still - it now lives in my HTPC for some big screen gaming. I game on 2 24" monitors and have never had a problem with my 2 4850's. Only thing I could ask for is better cooling, but frankly, I have a mATX system, so I also need them single slot. Gears of War could not run maxed out on the 8800GTS 512, with the 4850's I have AA, DX10, and everything else maxed, and still hitting 60 fps VSYNC. I got the cards back in October when after rebate (which never came :( ) they would have been 130 each, about the same as they still are today.

I have been looking at all the high end cards recently (need to do SOMETHING with that tax return...) and have really concluded that there is nothing I would want to upgrade to. If a 4890x2 comes out and is 450 or better then maybe, but thats it really for me. And dont get me wrong, the graphics cards are one of the cheaper parts in my system:

i7 920
Asus Rampage II GENE
Corsair 6gb Dominator
etc
 

a-nano-moose

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I just installed a 4830 and have finally been able to play the demo of crysis. I tried with onboard video but .25 fps didn't work very well.
I have XP pro installed and with everything except physics on high am able to play @ 1680 x 1050. also I dont AA enabled but I am now a happy camper!
 
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