Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best PCIe Card: Mid-range

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: May 2012
By

Best PCIe Card For ~£130: Tie

Radeon HD 6870

Great 1920x1200 performance

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
Max TDP:151 W

At a price comparable to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560, the Radeon HD 6870 also manages to offer compelling performance. Although this card is based on AMD's older VLIW5 architecture and uses more power at idle than the GeForce GTX 560, it's the more energy-friendly option in a taxing first-person shooter.

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

GeForce GTX 560

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

GeForce GTX 560
Codename: GF114
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 336
Texture Units: 56
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 810 / 1620
Memory Speed MHz: 1002 (4008 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5
Max TDP:160 W

The GeForce GTX 560 is essentially a highly overclocked GeForce GTX 460, and it provides good competition for the Radeon HD 6870. Both options introduce impressive game performance that we simply haven't seen before under the £160 price point.

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~£170:

GeForce GTX 560 Ti

Excellent 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games with lowered detail

GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Codename: GF114
Process: 40 nm
Universal Shaders: 384
Texture Units: 64
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core/Shader Speed MHz: 822 / 1644
Memory Speed MHz: 1002 (4008 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5
Max TDP:170 W

With the Radeon HD 6950 missing in action, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560 Ti takes our sole recommendation at £170. This card offers respectable value in light of the hole in AMD's portfolio.

You might want to consider paying an extra £40 for AMD's Radeon HD 7850, though. The small step up in spending yields significantly better performance.

Read our full review of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560 Ti for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

Best PCIe Card For ~£210:

Radeon HD 7850

Excellent 1920x1200 performance, Good 2560x1600 performance in most games with lowered detail

Radeon HD 7850
Codename: Pitcairn
Process: 28 nm
Universal Shaders: 1024
Texture Units: 64
ROPs: 32
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 860
Memory Speed MHz: 1200 (4800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11.1/SM 5
Max TDP:130 W

The new Radeon HD 7850 offers performance similar to the Radeon HD 6970 and GeForce GTX 570, but at a much lower price point.

Moreover, the Radeon HD 7850 does its job using about half of the power as both older boards based on 40 nm GPUs. As such, the more expensive GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core loses its recommendation entirely.

Read our full review of AMD's Radeon HD 7800 series for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

React To This Article