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Best PCIe Card: Mid-range

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: October 2011
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Best PCIe Card For ~£90:

Radeon HD 5770 (Radeon HD 6770)

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games, some with lowered detail

Radeon HD 5770/6770
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
Max TDP:108 W

The Radeon HD 5770 (also available re-badged as the Radeon HD 6770, with the added bonus of Blu-ray 3D decode support) is an extremely attractive sub-£90 option, offering a worthwhile upgrade beyond the similarly-priced Radeon HD 5750 and GeForce GTS 450. This card is one of our price/performance favourites. And with Radeon HD 4870-class performance, it's an excellent starting point for the mainstream gamer.

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 5770 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~£105:

Radeon HD 6790

Good 1920x1200 performance in most games, some with lowered detail

Radeon HD 6790
Codename: Barts LE
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 840
Memory Speed MHz: 1050 (4200 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0
Max TDP:150 W

AMD's Radeon HD 6790 delivers DirectX 11 support, multi-display support via Eyefinity, and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities in a modest gaming card.

Because the GeForce GTX 460 768 MB is now missing in action, we're now giving the sole recommendation to AMD's card, whereas this would have been a shared honour previously.

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 6790 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~£130: Tie

Radeon HD 6850

Good 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
Max TDP:127 W

AMD's Radeon HD 6850 proved to be a worthy adversary against the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB, and the AMD card's aggressive MSRP forced Nvidia to drop its own suggested pricing in order to stay competitive. As a result, PC gamers win with exceptional performance at prices under £150.

Both cards offer DirectX 11 support and HD audio bitstreaming capabilities. The main differentiators are Eyefinity multi-monitor support favouring the Radeon card, while the GeForce board has access to Nvidia's 3D Vision infrastructure that includes 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D support. It should be noted that the Radeon HD 6800-series' list of compatible stereoscopic devices is growing. However, it's nowhere near as large as Nvidia's. Only time will tell if AMD's own 3D brand can gain the partner support it requires to serve as a notable feature.

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

Good 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

160 W

Of course, the Radeons can be CrossFire'd and the GeForces can be SLI'd, so motherboard support should be taken into account, too.

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

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  • 1 Hide
    doive1231 , 19 October 2011 15:50
    Lot of Radeon love at Tom's these days.
  • -1 Hide
    dizzy_davidh , 20 October 2011 11:05
    So both the £600+ just get an honourable mention?!

    Why because a cheaper SLI\Crossfire combo can be created that exceeds the performance of the Radeon HD 6990\GeForce GTX 590?

    Sure, 2 cheaper cards can beat 1 more expensive but the point is that it is one card doing the work and so no matter how you talk about fans and exhausts there will still be less heat produced, less power used and of course one less PCI-E slot in use.

    If the name of the article is 'Best Graphics card for the money..' then explain just that don't tell half the story and seemingly try to convince people to buy a device that doesn't perform as well as they would like.

    For some spending a lot of money on £600+ market items is worth while when they use them exclusively for maxed-out gaming etc. and so those types of devices should be properly included and and shouldn't be excluded or given some lame courtesy mention.

    There are a lot of people who are enthusiasts who are willing to spend a lot on top-end kit, myself among them, and having recently bought a GTX 590 I can tell you it way outperforms anything I've ever owned before, SLI or single card set-up and to only mention it in passing isn't doing the credibility of the article any favours.

    If you want the best then generally you have to pay more for it, that is how things have long been and also how they will stay for many, many years to come!
  • 0 Hide
    red1776 , 20 October 2011 20:45
    Your Hierarchy chart is way out of whack. A 4870 x 2 is not anywhere near on par with a 6950 much less a 6970 for example.
  • 0 Hide
    fusk , 31 October 2011 04:36
    Seems like crossfire 5770 still is a viable solution.
    Bought one when they were new, added a second one 6 months ago.