The Best Gaming Graphics Cards for Your Money: February 2008

Best PCI Card for ~£80

Best PCI-E card for £70 (inc VAT): Tie Radeon X1950 PRO

Codename: RV570 Process: 90nm Pixel Shaders: 36 Vertex Shaders: 8 Texture Units: 12 ROPs: 12 Memory Bus: 256-bit Core Speed MHz: 575 Memory Speed MHz: 690 (1380 effective) DirectX / Shader Model DX 9.0c / SM 3.0

The X1950 PRO is still holding its own as a great £70 gaming card. The card’s main competition in this price range is the 8600 GTS, which doesn’t have the brute strength that the X1950 PRO offers It’s not all bad news though because its more advanced architecture offers unique advantages for specific gaming situations.

GeForce 8600 GTS

Codename: G84 Process: 80nm Universal Shaders: 32 Texture Units: 16 ROPs: 8 Memory Bus: 128-bit Core Speed MHz: 675 Memory Speed MHz: 1000 (2000 effective) DirectX / Shader Model DX 10 / SM 4.0

On release the 8600 GTS was grossly overpriced compared to the X1950 PRO. The 8600 GTS has since dropped down to £65 and has become a far more reasonable option. While the X1950 PRO has better raw specifications than the X1950 PRO (especially its 256-bit memory interface), the 8600 GTS has strong shaders that perform very well in certain titles.

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