The Best Gaming Video Cards for the Money: October 2006

pschmid

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Video card specifications and reviews that really get into the nitty-gritty are great - that is, if you have the time to digest everything. At the end of the day, all a gamer really needs to know is what is the best video card for the money.
 

bourgeoisdude

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Video card specifications and reviews that really get into the nitty-gritty are great - that is, if you have the time to digest everything. At the end of the day, all a gamer really needs to know is what is the best video card for the money.
You guys had better give Cleeve some credit, most of this lines up with his current list! Cleeve's the man! :wink:

Prices change and deals come and go on a daily basis. We can't offer up-to-the-minute pricing information, but what we can do is list some solid cards that you probably won't regret buying - if you can find them at the price ranges we suggest
For up to week information anyway, here's a greatlist for future reference, assuming TG Forumz mods don't cut it from my post :D : http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Short-List-Gaming-Video-money-ftopict169937.html
 

torque79

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A very useful article, although basically just a rehash of this forum discussion:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Short-List-Gaming-Video-money-ftopict169937.html

Was it Cleeve who actually wrote this article? I would guess so, based on the caveats mentioned of changing prices etc, after people really tore into him for his article on sub-$200 video cards.

Well written and brief, I appreciate how straightforward this article is. Although I am not currently planning to buy a new video card, I would certainly point anyone to this article for reference who was. I can easily check the VGA charts myself, but some people seem unwilling to do the work for themselves (which baffles me). These pieces of reference information are infinitely useful for handing off to people asking questions.

edit: LOL Bourgeois, I was typing my reply as you were, sorry for duplicating your comment. ;)
 

megame255

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You guys had better give Cleeve some credit
I second this.

most of this lines up with his current list!
Almost word-for-word! 8O

It's got to be Cleeve that wrote the article. As others have pointed out, not only is the list of cards very similar, but looking at cleeve's post and the article side-by-side, much of the article is simply rewritten directly from cleeve post!
If it wasn't and he didn't at least get ALL the credit, it would be one of the worst examples of plagiarism I've ever seen.
 

cleeve

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lol... yeah guys, it's me who wrote it. My real name is Don Woligroski.

I haven't updated the thread with the new info yet, I wanted to wait until it was published.

I figured I'm doing it anyway, I might as well make it a monthly feature on Tom's. :)
 

torque79

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lol great idea Cleeve. I thought that might be the case, but what threw me off was the name of the user to put the article discussion starter up there. We appreciate your efforts, and obviously more than one person feels you deserve the recognition for them.
 

Cubanaso

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OK, I don't have much trouble with most of what was said and I'm not the one to say a review had evil reasons behind it (nor does this one) LOL.

But I must say I disagree with their dismissal of the 7900 GS as inferior to the X1900 GT. From what I've read, the OC 7900GS cards, perform better than the X1900 GT from slightly 2-3fps to significant 10fps so I don't understand why THG could dismiss the 7900GS's so fast.

Look here:

Review of 7900 GS OC

Also, here you will see the fight is pretty close (and they aint even testing the BFG & eVGA versions):

7900GS OC not too shabby


So, it's a bit disapointing to read THG say that the X1900 GT kills the GS considering most (LIKE ME...got the BFG version) will buy the 7900 GS OC. So, the jury is out...it seems the X1900 GT vs the 7900 GS OC are either equal or the slight edge goes to the 7900 GS OC.

With that said, you can get the HIS X1900 GT for $205 and the 7900 GS OC (BFG) for $215 so pick your weapon, neither of these cards outclass the other...unlike what THG claims.

I love THG, but disagree with their view. Yes...they probably are talking about the 7900GS standard, but for a few more bucks you can get the 7900 GS OC. Heck...the 7900 GS standard from XFX was going for $180 after rebate originally so maybe that's hands down the champ of them all.

:roll: :wink:

FYI, not a hater either way...I don't swear an oath to either companies...I'm Mr. Bang for your buck, I've tried both over the years and simply give a slight edge to nVidia because of their better drivers. Maybe AMD will fix that.
 

cleeve

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I wrote the article, and I can give you three reasons the X1900 was picked over the 7900 GS:


1. Not all benchmarks tell the same story. At Firingsquad, the X1900 GT consistantly beat even the overclocked 7900 GS, sometimes by a notable margin:

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/nvidia_geforce_7900_gs/page5.asp

Even in some of the benches you linked to, if you read the whole article - the X1900 GT is neck and neck in moist stuff, but for a few games where there is a significant difference, the X1900 GT is way ahead - check out the Quake 4 benches.


2. Overclocked cards are vendor-specific and do not even have standard clocks between them. I'd have to recommend specific vendors which is beyond the scope of the article


3. The overclocked 79900 GS' tend to be inn the $220 range.
Sure it's only $20 more than the bargain X1900 GTs, but it's also only $20 less than the X1900 XT... who in good conscience would recommend spending $220 for a 7900 GS when they could get an X1900 XT for $20 more?
I even find it hard to recommend the X1900 GT at $200 because of the $240 X1900 XT, and I wrote that in the article.



So there are my motivations. Maybe you don't agree, but at least I hope you can underatand where I'm coming from. But right now, from where I'm standing, it doesn't fit. If the 7900 GS goes down to $180, or the X1900 GT goes up a bit, things will change.

They change all the time now. Come back next month and things might be totally different. :)
 

Dr_asik

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Hi Cleeve,

Why is it that on page 7, you list the 7800GS+ as having 660mhz DDR (1000mhz effective) memory speed? Shouldn't it be 1320mhz effective?
 

Vinny73

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I hate to have to correct you cleeve, the 7800 GS+ stock memory speed is 1250mhz. Therefore 625mhz DDR not 660.....

Hope you dont mind me pointing that out.

:lol:

I've been looking into getting this card, as Im still AGP and the benchies show it to be a top performer, along with being very overclockable given its really a 7900.

Was slightly tempted to go X1900XT and new mobo, but right now cant be bothered to rebuild for the sake of PCI-E, potential stability issues (given my machine is 100% solid) on a rebuild so sticking with AGP until Vista, DX10, and games worth buying a new DX10 card for are out. AGP still makes sense to the masses.....
 

Cubanaso

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I understand Cleeve, I see your side of it...it's the old $20 problem that can have a customer who started at $180 end up with a $240 card jumping $20 more each time until you end up not where you wanted to be originally.

I'll have to agree with you on that, the X1900 GT for $205 still is closer to $200 and takes the lead in several areas (while not all of them).

Maybe I'm just mad at you or THG because you wrote this about 2 weeks too late for me, and I got the BFG 7900 GS OC...lol. :cry: :lol:

The thing is, it makes less noise that for my HTPC/gamming rig it would have been better. So...dang it man...lol :cry:

But, I got it for $215 and I'm still waiting for more or better reviews of the BFG 7900 GS OC. From what I hear...the OC in the eVGA can hit huge numbers and increase it's performance by 15%...so they say.

Anyway, thanks for the clear up (for me).
 

Vinny73

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;-)

You kinda did get me tempted on the X1900XT but 256mb only keeps it well below £200.

Whats the key difference between 256mb - 512mb cards performance wise, and what games are making use of 512mb? Any idea?

EQ2 is my main game right now, so trying to squeeze every frame out of that on AGP.
 

antikristuseke

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Noticed a small error on the last page of the article whenre soecet 754 was writen down as socket 740

Other than that a all round nice article though i wouldnt count the 7800gs on agp as lownly as you did, these things overclock like monsters, though this is out of the scope of this article as you put it yourself. For instance my PNY 7800gs did 480 mhz on the core without any problems on stock cooling and voltage, 100% stable and no artefacts. Ill wait for the winter to see what this thing is really capable of.
 

cleeve

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Yeah, the 7800 GS is a monster overclocker... GW has corrected my thinking on that more than a few times. I don't think it's a bad card, just too much money when you're basically chaining yourself to an AGPm platform you're going to have to upgrade sooner or later anyway.

I just think your average AGPer is better off saving the cash and getting a 7600 GT. Everybody's mileage is going to vary though, especially a modder's...

And hey, a voltmodded 7600 GT can do marvelous things. :)
 

cleeve

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Moderator
Those disclaimers weren't because of the whiners but they're pretty important for newbs to know:

- Basically, if you're not gaming you don't need a powerful GPU
- Prices will change faster than the article updates monthy, so keep this in mind when buying
- the list is US-only, so if you're reading somewhere else it doesn't really directly apply to you

I dunno, I don't feel the article is compromised too much because of it. It's directed to people who don't know much about GPUs, so it might have been stretching it to assume they knew this stuff.
 

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