Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Choosing Graphics Cards

Once again, the good folks over at Tom’s Hardware have released their Best Graphics Cards for the Money (Jan ’09). In all honesty, there really aren’t any new offerings that have been added; the only differences are updates in price fluctuations. At the same time, it is important to note that when nVidia’s GTX 295 is unveiled in a couple weeks, it will enter the market at around a $500 price point. This in turn will force the price of the current graphics kind, the Radeon HD 4870 X2, to drop in order to remain competitive. In hand, that will drop the prices of the 4870 1 GB, GTX 280, GTX 260+ and GTX 260, and perhaps even slightly reduce the price of the 4870 512MB and 4850 (512 and 1 GB). It’ll be interesting to watch, undoubtedly.

***Update*** BFGTech was the first to release the GTX 295 today, and prices are already starting to shift. In terms of performance, the GTX 295 is generally more powerful than two GTX 260+ cards in SLI, but can’t manage to get an advantage over the 4870 X2, instead going back and forth (depending on the game) as to which is superior. The good news in all this? While the GTX 295 was released at $499, ATI has already officially announced a $50 price reduction for the 4870 X2, and some companies are offering additional $50 rebates on top of that. In you’re really terrible at math, that means you can now get a 4870 X2 for $399! That’s an incredible value, and one worth looking into if you’ve got the budget.

All that being said, I actually bothered reading through the second half of the BGCftM, which I usually don’t – out of charity or the kindness of their hearts or something, Tom’s Hardware has actually been covering AGP cards as well, an ancient and dying bus that practically nobody uses anymore (hooray PCI-express!). They’ve finally admitted that the AGP beast is all but gone, and only covered two cards for it this time – one over $100, and one below. Past that, though, they released an exhaustive Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart, which lists in tiers every card available right now, and stacks them up according to their power. This is immensely helpful for new users. For example, a couple years ago I knew absolutely nothing about computer graphics, and I mean NOTHING. When choosing the card for my computer, I saw two nVidias – a 6800GT and a 7300LE. Not realizing how they came up with the names (first number is card generation, last three differentiate power within generations, letters differentiate between cards with the same numbering), I thought that since 7300 is higher than 6800, it must be better, right? I couldn’t be more wrong. Had I known better, I would’ve gone with the 6800GT and had a much better gaming experience my freshman year of college. That being said, this chart is awesome.


January 7, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I have had a TRI SLI with BFG GTX280 OC, A Quad SLI with two BFG GTX295, and Finally a TRI SLI with the GTX285 OCX cards and I can tell you first hand the GTX285 OCX stomp the marks of the 295’s. In benches, games, and all other apps involving transcoding etc. GTX285 OCX cards run stock at 702mhz on the core clock. A lot more than that of the 295’s and faster memory etc…. If you have the choice choose the GTX285 OCX in TRI SLI. Or if you have the money try them both like I did. You will decide the same as myself though.

    Comment by Car Crazy | February 28, 2009 | Reply

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