Best Video Cards For The Money: August '08

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 make the right decision, fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware Guide have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming cards offered for the money.

July Review and August Updates:

July saw some of the fastest dropping prices on high-end cards that we’ve ever seen in the history of these “best gaming graphics cards for the money” articles. While there are always some fluctuations, the prices we researched for July’s article were ancient history halfway through the month!

Things have tapered off a little by now, but we’ll use this opportunity to remind our readers that this article is only a guideline for the prices we’ve seen at the beginning of the month! You’re letting yourself down if you’re not looking for deals when you decide to purchase.

Other than pricing, July started to see availability of Nvidia’s new GeForce 9500 GT, which looks like it will be replacing the 8500 and 8600 series, carrying similar specifications and somewhat slower clock speeds. Even though the raw specifications of the 9500 don’t look all that impressive compared to its older sibling, performance looks promising, and seems to meet or slightly beat its predecessor. It has been rumored that there might be some problems with the 8500/8600 series GPUs, so the 9500 GT could be here to remedy that situation.

Finally, we’ve started to see glimpses of AMD’s soon-to-arrive high end Radeon 4870 X2, which will sport two 4870 GPUs in a Crossfire configuration on a single card. While we don’t know pricing or availability yet, the preliminary performance numbers look promising—keep your eye out for it!

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, the cards in this list are more expensive than you need;
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t offer up-to-the-minute accurate pricing information, but we can list some good cards that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest;
  • The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail, your mileage will most certainly vary;
  • These are new card prices. No used or open box cards are in the list; they might be a good deal, but that’s outside the scope of what we’re trying to do.
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  • is there anyway of fixing the chart at the end?
  • any way of fixing the chart at the end?
  • yay, more graphics card info!
  • btw, the posted info for the 2x9800GTX SLI "honourable mention" is the same as for the 2x4850..

    slipped past quality control, that one! ;)
  • Argh! Go back to the ATi, NVidia column structure, the list is completely impossible to decipher.
  • They did this with the last monthly cards round up also, the comparison list was badly formatted, but they fixed it sooner, to make a readable table, just highlight the table, copy into word and use replace all in word, "| |" with "| ^p |" (without quotes)
  • On second thoughts, just go to last months review table:,review-31055-6.html
    its the exact same as this one i think.
  • they really should re-read their reviews and get rid of contradiction, eg

    The 8800 GT offers incredible GeForce 8800 GTX class performance, so why is it a lower class down than the 8800GTX in the table/list, and the 8800GTS 512 is quite a bit faster than the 8800GT so how comes this is ranked lower than the 8800GTX and ultras.

    I used to believe TH to be a good source of info but recently Ive seen a drop in quality, please fix it guys.
  • I've registered just to say that (again!) an article purely about money is posted on the uk version of Tom's, priced in $$$$$'s!

    If you can't be bothered to do the conversion work, why bother to have a UK domain site???
  • Just gone back and quickly checked - Tom's UK site apparently stopped caring sometime between March and June 08 - the March article is in £'s, the June and all since are in $'s.
  • I have a feeling that soon we will no longer be seeing the "Best video cards of.." as I had quite a difficult time finding this article. Doesn't seem to be a priority any more. :(

    Another favorite from the "old" tom's site that is fading away..