Thursday, November 4, 2010

Best Graphics Cards For The Money

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great—that is, if you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, what a gamer needs is the best graphics card within a certain budget.
So, if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right card, then fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming cards offered for the money.

November Updates:

October was an exciting month for graphics hardware. The big news, of course, was the introduction of AMD's Radeon 6870 and 6850. Here is the bottom line: the Radeon HD 6850 is almost as fast as the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB, and the Radeon HD 6870 is almost as fast as the GeForce GTX 470.
The MSRP of the new Radeon HD 6850 and 6870--$180 and $240 respectively--is lower than the street price of GeForce competition prior to launch. However, Nvidia made a successful counterattack by lowering the street price of its GeForce GTX 460 1GB and 470, which can now be found as low as $190 and $250, respectively. This is a big deal for value-conscious gamers, who only weeks ago had to pay ~$230 for the GeForce GTX 460 and ~$300 for the GeForce GTX 470. All of these cards, Radeon and GeForce alike, are excellent buys at the new prices.
What are the finer points of AMD's next-generation graphics cards? Perhaps most surprisingly, they're slower than their similarly-named predecessors. So, if you missed the launch story and own a Radeon HD 5850, the 6850 isn't going to be an upgrade for you. The same goes for the 5870/6870.
Beyond that, the Radeon HD 6000-series introduces Blu-ray 3D playback support and the framework for a stereoscopic gaming ecosystem, though AMD's effort remains very premature in the PC space. The HD3D initiative is generic and supports the stereo over HDMI 1.4a. As a result, AMD has no Radeon-specific 3D displays or glasses technology to bring to market. The downside is a reliance on other vendors, and as of now, the only HDMI 1.4-equipped monitor is exclusive to Europe. For the time being (in North America, at least) the only way for consumers to use the new Radeons in 3D mode is with a compatible television that already has its own bundled glasses. 
The new Radeon cards also boast a new method of anti-aliasing called morphological AA that produces results similar to super-sampling, but with very little performance overhead using a post-process compute shader. Though this seemed a bit buggy at launch, the company recently uploaded a new driver to help address intermittent issues with the technique. AMD also let us know that it will be following the Radeon HD 6800-series soon with a high-end Radeon HD 6900 lineup that will replace the Radeon HD 5870 and 5970.
Of course, Nvidia didn't sit by and watch the action. It released the new GeForce GT 430 earlier in October. With performance below the Radeon HD 5570 DDR3, this card wasn't designed to win any speed races. Instead, it's intended as an entry-level HTPC board capable of Blu-ray 3D playback and HD audio bitstreaming over HDMI. This card can be found for as low as $70 online and is the only half-height option with this unique combination of features (although there are other options in that price range, if either of those features aren't necessary for your application). You can read more about the GeForce GT 430 in our launch review.
Aside from its entry-level GeForce card, Nvidia also released 3DTV Play, a feature that allows any GeForce card armed with an HDMI 1.4 output to transmit stereo content to displays that support 3D over the HDMI 1.4 standard. This means that GeForce cards can compete with the new Radeon HD 6000-series when it comes to playing back 3D on consumer televisions, while Nvidia's 3D Vision maintains a clear advantage when it comes to PC monitors and projectors with quite a few models specifically able to handle the company's proprietary 3D Vision standard. The market will likely provide AMD owners with increasing numbers of compatible 3D monitors and projectors in the future. But in the meantime, 3D Vision is the only prolific option for these display types.
What does the near future hold? As we've mentioned, AMD made no secret that the upcoming Radeon HD 6900s will arrive before the end of the year. Common sense suggests that Nvidia has something up its sleeve with which to combat the new high-end Radeon lineup. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

Some Notes About Our Recommendations

A few simple guidelines to keep in mind when reading this list:
  • This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, then the cards on this list are more expensive than what you really need. We've added a reference page at the end of the column covering integrated graphics processors, which is likely more apropos.
  • The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance. We acknowledge that recommendations for multiple video cards, such as two Radeon cards in CrossFire mode or two GeForce cards in SLI, typically require a motherboard that supports CrossFire or SLI and a chassis with more space to install multiple graphics cards. They also require a beefier power supply compared to what a single card needs, and will almost certainly produce more heat than a single card. Keep these factors in mind when making your purchasing decision. In most cases, if we have recommended a multiple-card solution, we try to recommend a single-card honorable mention at a comparable price point for those who find multi-card setups undesirable.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t base our decisions on always-changing pricing information, but we can list some good cards that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest, along with real-time prices from our PriceGrabber engine, for your reference.
  • The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary.
  • These are new card prices. No used or open-box cards are in the list; they might represent a good deal, but it’s outside the scope of what we’re trying to do.

Best PCI Express (PCIe) Card For Under $50:

Radeon HD 4650 (Check Prices)

Great 1280x1024 performance in most games, 1680x1050 with lowered detail
Radeon HD 4650
Codename: RV730
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 320
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 600
Memory Speed MHz: 400 (800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

I'm resurrecting this one for budget-minded gamers, as all of the other worthwhile cards cost $65 and above (far too close to the powerful Radeon HD 5670).
You will not find a card that packs more punch than AMD's Radeon HD 4650 at the alluring $50 price point. With solid stock performance and an overclockable GPU, this card is an excellent starting point for our list of recommendations, and a wholly worthwhile upgrade if you're currently stuck using a motherboard limited to integrated graphics.

Best PCI Express (PCIe) Card For $80:

Radeon HD 5670 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
Radeon HD 5670
Codename: RV830
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 400
Texture Units: 20
ROPs: 8
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 775
Memory Speed MHz:   1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

An extra $15 will buy you a vastly superior Radeon HD 4850 or GeForce GTS 250. But for the reduced price of the Radeon HD 5670, you won't have to worry about a power supply upgrade, as this card requires no auxiliary PCIe power cable.
Along with this benefit the Radeon HD 5670 offers DirectX 11 compatibility, along with all of the other Radeon HD 5000-series features, such as multi-display support and high-def audio bitstreaming. Folks planning to buy this card for a budget Eyefinity setup need to pay attention, as some manufacturers don't include the DisplayPort output needed to use three monitors simultaneously.

Best PCIe Card For ~$95: Tie

At the $100 price point, Nvidia's GeForce GTS 250 and AMD's Radeon HD 4850 hang on in an eternal battle to deliver fantastic performance to budget-oriented gamers. We don't think you can go wrong with either of these cards. As long as they're around, it'll be hard to recommend DirectX 11-class cards priced $20 or $30 higher.
With an eye to the future, your choice between these affordable products probably depends more on whether or not your motherboard is CrossFire- or SLI-compatible.
Neither the Radeon HD 4850 nor the GeForce GTS 250 offer DirectX 11 support. But then again, at this price point, how many DirectX 11-class features are you really going to be able to enable before performance starts suffering in a big way?

Radeon HD 4850 512 MB (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
Radeon HD 4850 512 MB
Codename: RV770
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 625
Memory Speed MHz: 993 (1986 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

GeForce GTS 250 512 MB (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
GeForce GTS 250
Codename: G92b
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 128
Texture Units: 64
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 738 / 1836
Memory Speed MHz: 1100 (2200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

Best PCIe Card For ~$130: Tie

The raw performance of these cards is quite close to the older and cheaper Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250, but the new cards do offer support for DirectX 11 compatibility and high-def audio bitstreaming over HDMI. The GeForce GTS 450's raw performance is slightly higher than the Radeon HD 5750, although the Radeon appears to perform a little better when anti-aliasing is employed (probably due to its higher memory bandwidth).
GeForce cards tend to scale better than their Radeon counterparts when paired in SLI, so the GeForce GTS 450 is probably the better investment if you plan to snag a second card somewhere down the line. The GeForce GTS 450 offers Blu-ray 3D playback acceleration, but the Radeon HD 5750 features the Eyefinity multi-monitor option.

GeForce GTS 450 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered details
GeForce GTS 450
Codename: GF106
Process:   40 nm
Universal Shaders: 192
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz:   783 / 1566
Memory Speed MHz: 902 (3608 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTS 450 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Radeon HD 5750 1 GB (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail
Radeon HD 5750 1 GB
Codename: RV840 "Juniper"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 720
Texture Units: 36
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 700
Memory Speed MHz: 1150 (4600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 5750 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$145:

Radeon HD 5770 1 GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
Radeon HD 5770 1 GB
Codename: RV840 "Juniper"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 1200 (4800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Even with the GeForce GTX 460 768 MB dropping to $160, the Radeon HD 5770 1 GB remains a viable $140 option, as it offers a worthwhile upgrade beyond the cheaper Radeon HD 5750 and GeForce GTS 450.
Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 5770 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$160:

GeForce GTX 460 768 MB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
GeForce GTX 460 768 MB
Codename: GF104
Process:   40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 24
Memory Bus: 192-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

The GeForce GTX 460 768 MB delivers impressive performance and a reasonable price tag, low noise output, and remarkably low power usage compared to GF100-equipped cards like the GeForce GTX 470 and 480.
This is the first card that has really blown us away at $200 since AMD's Radeon HD 4890 was phased out, and the introduction of the new Radeon HD 6800-series recently forced prices even lower. Where it sits, the GeForce GTX 460 is an undeniable value.
Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 for more information on the card and its underlying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For $185: Tie

AMD's Radeon HD 6850 proved to be a worthy adversary for the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB, and the AMD card's aggressive price forced Nvidia to drop its own suggested prices accordingly in order to stay competitive. As a result, PC gamers win with heretofore unseen performance at the ~$185 price point.
Both cards offer DirectX 11 support and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities. When it comes to raw performance, the GeForce shows a slight advantage. But the GeForce GTX 460 cards also tend to cost slightly more, so either option remains a good buy. The main differentiators are Eyefinity multi-monitor support for the Radeon, while the GeForce has access to the 3D Vision infrastructure that includes 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D support. It should be noted that the Radeon HD 6800-series supports 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D playback on commercial televisions, but there are no monitors available in North America yet. Only time will tell if AMD's 3D solution can gain the partner support it requires. Of course, the Radeons can be CrossFire'd and the GeForces can be SLI'd, so motherboard support should be taken into account.

Radeon HD 6850 (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
Radeon HD 6850
Codename: RV970 "Barts"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 960
Texture Units: 48
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 775
Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 6850 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

GeForce GTX 460 1 GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Codename: GF104
Process:   40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$245: Tie

Almost everything we've said about the Radeon HD 6850 and GeForce GTX 460 1 GB can be applied to the new Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 470.
The only real difference here is the performance level and price, with the Radeon HD 6870 starting at $240 and the GeForce GTX 470 starting at $250. We should also mention that the GeForce GTX 470 uses nearly twice the power of the Radeon HD 6850 under load, which might be a concern for folks without a lot of power supply overhead.

Radeon HD 6870  (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
Radeon HD 6870
Codename: RV970 "Barts"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 1120
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 900
Memory Speed MHz: 1050 (4200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 6870 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

GeForce GTX 470 (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
GeForce GTX 470
Codename: GF100
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 448
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 40
Memory Bus: 320-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 607 / 1215
Memory Speed MHz: 837 (3348 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0


Best PCIe Card For ~$340:

Radeon HD 5870 (Check Prices)

Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
Radeon HD 5870 1 GB
Codename: RV870 "Cypress"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 1600
Texture Units: 80
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 1200 (4800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

For $90 less than the price of this card, a GeForce GTX 470 delivers exceptional performance in the games that matter today. For ~$30 more, a pair of Radeon HD 6850s or GeForce GTX 460 1 GB cards will up the ante considerably. From a raw price/performance standpoint, this makes the Radeon HD 5870 a harder sell.
But that is not to say the Radeon HD 5870 is underpowered. It is the fastest single-GPU Radeon option available, sporting relatively low power usage (remarkably low at idle), and the hardware prowess needed to accelerate DirectX 11-based games. The Radeon HD 5870 definitely remains viable.
For those thinking at the other end of the performance spectrum, a pair of Radeon HD 5870s in CrossFire is an attractive option.
Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 5870 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$370: Tie

Two GeForce GTX 460 1 GB cards in SLI easily beat down a single GeForce GTX 480, as demonstrated in this article by Thomas Soderstrom. Early indications suggest that the Radeon HD 6850 scales well in CrossFire mode, and should offer good competition for a couple of GeForce GTX 460 1 GB cards.

2 x GeForce GTX 460 1 GB in SLI Configuration (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
2 x GeForce GTX 460 1 GB in SLI
Codename: GF104
Process:   40 nm
Universal Shaders: 672 (2 x 336)
Texture Units: 112 (2 x 56)
ROPs: 64 (2 x 32)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 675 / 1350
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (3600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

2 x Radeon HD 6850 in CrossFire (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
2 x Radeon HD 6850 in CrossFire
Codename: RV970 "Barts"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 1920 (2 x 960)
Texture Units: 96 (2 x 48)
ROPs: 64 (2 x 32)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 775
Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Best PCIe Card For ~$450: None

Honorable Mention: GeForce GTX 480 (Check Prices)

Excellent 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
GeForce GTX 480
Codename: GF100
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 480
Texture Units: 60
ROPs: 48
Memory Bus: 384-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 700 / 1401
Memory Speed MHz:   924 (3696 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

While the Radeon HD 5970 maintains its title of "fastest video card in the world," Nvidia has reclaimed the honor of selling the fastest single-GPU board. This is, of course, the GeForce GTX 480, which performs notably faster than the Radeon HD 5870, on average.
Costing significantly more than a pair of GeForce GTX 460 1 GB cards in SLI, it is difficult to give a nod to the GeForce GTX 480. But for buyers uncomfortable with dual-card setups, the GeForce GTX 480 is an understandably viable option, and it delivers undeniably impressive performance for a card with just one GPU.
Besides, SLI compatibility is less common than CrossFire support, so a GeForce GTX 480 might be the only way to go for many enthusiasts.
Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 480 for more information on the card and its underlying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$490: Tie

Two GeForce GTX 470 cards are a potent combination when paired in SLI mode, delivering more graphics muscle on average than a single Radeon HD 5970. Now, the new Radeon HD 6870 offers a viable CrossFire alternative at a similar price.
While a couple of GeForce GTX 470 cards in SLI will demonstrate better performance than a pair of Radeon HD 6870s, power usage should be some 200-300 W less for the Radeons under load conditions. This might not be much of an issue for folks with solid power supplies but it is something to keep in mind.

2 x GeForce GTX 470 in SLI Configuration (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
2 x GeForce GTX 470 in SLI
Codename: GF100
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 896 (2 x 448)
Texture Units: 112 (2 x 56)
ROPs: 80 (2 x 40)
Memory Bus: 320-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 607 / 1215
Memory Speed MHz: 837 (3348 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 470 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

2 x Radeon HD 6870 in CrossFire (Check Prices)

Exceptional 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games
2 x Radeon HD 6870 in CrossFire
Codename: RV970 "Barts"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 2140 (2 x 1120)
Texture Units:   112(2 x 56)
ROPs: 64 (2 x 32)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 900
Memory Speed MHz: 1100 (4200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 6870 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~$550: None

Honorable Mention: Radeon HD 5970 (Check Prices)

Great 2560x1600 performance

Radeon HD 5970
Codename: 2 x RV870 "Cypress"
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 3200 (2 x 1600)
Texture Units: 160 (2 x 80)
ROPs: 64 (2 x 32)
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 725
Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (4000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0
3200 shader processors. There isn't much more we need to say about the brutal rendering muscle that characterizes the world's fastest graphics card, the Radeon HD 5970. With two Radeon HD 5870 GPUs onboard, the Radeon HD 5970 performs close to pair of GeForce GTX 470s on average, but our testing shows that performance slows up a little at 2560x1600 resolutions and beyond. At 1920x1200 and below though, the Radeon HD 5970 is a fine choice and will work with any motherboard unlike a pair of GeForce GTX 470 cards. But with a pair of GeForce GTX 470 or Radeon HD 6870 cards costing some $60 less, the Radeon HD 5970 is relegated to Honorable Mention status.

What about this other card that’s not on the list? How do I know if it’s a good deal or not?
This will happen. In fact, it’s guaranteed to happen, because inventory levels and prices change quickly. So how do you know if that card you’ve got your eye on is a good buy in its price range?
Here is a resource to help you judge if a card is a good buy or not. The graphics card hierarchy chart groups graphics cards with similar overall performance levels into tiers. The top tier contains the highest-performing cards available and performance decreases as you go down the tiers from there.
You can use this hierarchy to compare the pricing between two cards, to see which one is a better deal, and also to determine if an upgrade is worthwhile. I don’t recommend upgrading your graphics card unless the replacement card is at least three tiers higher. Otherwise, the upgrade is somewhat parallel and you may not notice a worthwhile difference in performance.
At the request of readers, I have added mobile graphics and integrated chipsets to the hierarchy chart. I want to make it clear that there is very little performance data available for these graphics solutions. While the discrete video cards in the chart are placed in tiers based on a lot of information, many of the mobile and integrated devices in the chart are guesstimates based on their specifications. At worst, I don’t think they’re more than one tier away from their actual performance, but this is something to keep in mind when considering mobile graphics chipsets.
Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart
GeForceRadeonIntel

Discrete: HD 5970
Discrete: GTX 295, GTX 480Discrete: HD 4870 X2

Discrete: HD 4850 X2, HD 5870
Discrete: GTX 470 Discrete: HD 5850, 6870
Discrete: 9800 GX2, GTX 285, GTX 460 1GB, GTX 465 Discrete: 6850
Discrete: GTX 260, GTX 275, GTX 280, GTX 460 768 MB Discrete: HD 4870, HD 5770, HD 4890, HD 5830
Mobility: HD 5870

Discrete: 8800 Ultra, 9800 GTX, 9800 GTX+, GTS 250, GTS 450 Discrete: HD 3870 X2, HD 4850, HD 5750
Mobility: HD 4850, HD 5850

Discrete: 8800 GTX, 8800 GTS 512 MB
Go (mobile): GTX 280M, GTX 285M
Discrete: HD 4770
Mobility: HD 4860

Discrete: 8800 GT 512 MB, 9800 GT
Go (mobile): 9800M GTX, GTX 260M (112), GTS 360M (GDDR5)
Discrete: HD 4830, HD 5670
Mobility: HD 5770, HD 5750

Discrete: 8800 GTS 640 MB, 9600 GT, GT 240 (GDDR5)
Go (mobile): 9800M GTS, GTX 160M
Discrete: HD 2900 XT, HD 3870, HD 5570 (GDDR5)
Discrete: 8800 GS, 9600 GSO, GT 240 (DDR3)
Go (mobile): GTX 260M (96), GTS 150M, GTS 360M (DDR3)
Discrete: HD 3850 512 MB, HD 4670, HD 5570 (DDR3)
Mobility: HD 3870, HD 5730, HD 5650

Discrete: 8800 GT 256 MB, 8800 GTS 320 MB, GT 220, GT 430
Go (mobile): 8800M
Discrete: HD 2900 PRO, HD 3850 256 MB, 5550 (GDDR5)
Mobility: HD 3850

Discrete: 7950 GX2 Discrete: X1950 XTX, HD 4650 (DDR3), 5550 (DDR3)
Discrete: 7800 GTX 512, 7900 GTO, 7900 GTX Discrete: X1900 XT, X1950 XT, X1900 XTX
Discrete: 7800 GTX, 7900 GT, 7950 GT Discrete: X1800 XT, X1900 AIW, X1900 GT, X1950 PRO, HD 2900 GT, HD 5550 (DDR2)
Discrete: 7800 GT, 7900 GS, 8600 GTS, 9500 GT (GDDR3)
Go (mobile): 7950 GTX
Discrete: X1800 XL, X1950 GT, HD 4650 (DDR2)
Mobility X1800 XT, HD 4650, HD 5165

Discrete: 6800 Ultra, 7600 GT, 7800 GS, 8600 GS, 8600 GT (GDDR3), 9500 GT (DDR2)
Go (mobile): 7800 GTX, 7900 GTX
Discrete: X800 XT (& PE), X850 XT (& PE), X1650 XT, X1800 GTO, HD 2600 XT, HD 3650 (DDR3), HD 3670
Mobility: X1900, 3670

Discrete: 6800 GT, 6800 GS (PCIe), 8600 GT (DDR2)
Go (mobile): 7800, Go 7900 GS
Discrete: X800 XL, X800 GTO2/GTO16, HD 2600 PRO, HD 3650 (DDR2),
Mobility: X800 XT, HD 2600 XT, 3650

Discrete: 6800 GS (AGP)
Go (mobile): 6800 Ultra, 7600 GT, 8600M GT, 8700M GT
Discrete: X800 GTO 256 MB, X800 PRO, X850 PRO, X1650 GT
Mobility: HD 2600

Discrete: 6800, 7300 GT GDDR3, 7600 GS, 8600M GS
Go (mobile): 6800, 7700
Discrete: X800, X800 GTO 128 MB, X1600 XT, X1650 PRO
Mobility: X1800, HD 5145, HD 5470 (GDDR5), HD 5450, 

Discrete: 6600 GT, 6800LE, 6800 XT, 7300 GT (DDR2), 8500 GT, 9400 GT
Go (mobile): 7600 (128-bit)
Discrete: 9800 XT, X700 PRO, X800 GT, X800 SE, X1300 XT, X1600 PRO, HD 2400 XT, HD 4350, HD 4550, HD 5450
Mobility: X800, 3470, HD 5470 (DDR3), HD 5430
Integrated: HD 3300, HD 4290

Discrete: FX 5900, FX 5900 Ultra, FX 5950 Ultra, 6600 (128-bit)
Go (mobile): 6800 (128-bit)
Integrated: 9300, 9400
Discrete: 9700, 9700 PRO, 9800, 9800 PRO, X700, X1300 PRO, X1550, HD 2400 PRO
Mobility: X1450, X1600, X1700, 2400 XT, X2500, 3450
Integrated: HD 3200, HD 4200, HD 4250

Discrete: FX 5800 Ultra, FX 5900 XT
Go (mobile): 6600, Go 7600 (64-bit)
Discrete: 9500 PRO, 9600 XT, 9800 PRO (128-bit), X600 XT, X1050 (128-bit)
Mobility: 9800, X700, X1350, X1400, X2300, HD 2400
Intel HD Graphics (Core i5-6x1)
Discrete: 4 Ti 4600, 4 Ti 4800, FX 5700 Ultra, 6200, 8300, 8400 G, G 210, G 310 Discrete: 9600 PRO, 9800 LE, X600 PRO, HD 2300
Mobility: 9700 (128-bit), X600, X1300
Integrated: Xpress 1250
Intel HD Graphics (Core i3 5x0, Core i5-6x0)
Discrete: 4 Ti4200, 4 Ti4400, 4 Ti4800 SE, FX 5600 Ultra, FX 5700, 6600 (64-bit), 7300 GS, 8400M GS, 9300M G, 9300M GS Discrete: 9500, 9550, 9600, X300, X1050 (64-bit)
Mobility: 9600
Intel HD Graphics (Pentium G)
Discrete: 3 Ti500, FX 5200 Ultra, FX 5600, FX 5700 LE, 6200 TC, 6600 LE, 7200 GS, 7300 LE
Go (mobile): 5700, 8200M, 9200M GS, 9100
Integrated: 8200, 8300
Discrete: 8500, 9100, 9000 PRO, 9600 LE, X300 SE, X1150
Mobility 9700 (64-bit)
GMA X4500
Discrete: 3, 3 Ti200, FX 5200 (128-bit), FX 5500,
Go (mobile): 5600, 6200, 6400, 7200, 7300, 7400 (64-bit)
Discrete: 9000, 9200, 9250
Mobility: 9600 (64-bit), X300

Discrete: FX 5200 (64 bit)
Go (mobile): 7200, 7400 (32-bit)
Integrated: 6100, 6150
Discrete: 9200 SE
Integrated: Xpress 200M, Xpress 1000, Xpress 1150
GMA X3000, X3100, X3500
Discrete: 2 GTS, 4 MX 440, 2 Ultra, 2 Ti, 2 Ti 200 Discrete: 7500 GMA 3000, 3100
Discrete: 256, 2 MX 200, 4 MX 420, 2 MX 400 Discrete: SDR, LE, DDR, 7000, 7200 GMA 500, 900, 950
Discrete: Nvidia TNT Discrete: Rage 128 Intel 740

Summary

There you have it folks; the best cards for the money this month. Now all that’s left to do is to find and purchase them.
Don’t worry too much about which brand you choose, because all of the cards out there are close to Nvidia’s and ATI’s reference designs. Just pay attention to price, warranty, and the manufacturer’s reputation for honoring the warranty if something goes wrong.
Also remember that the stores don’t follow this list. Things will change over the course of the month and you’ll probably have to adapt your buying strategy to deal with fluctuating prices. Good luck!

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