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Best PCIe Card: ~$100 To $200

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: May 2010
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Best PCIe Card For ~$130:

Radeon HD 5750 512MB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5750
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: 1,150 (4,600 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

The price of the 512MB Radeon HD 5750 is quite low, and this month, it's enough to take the recommendation from the 1GB versions of the Radeon HD 4850 and GeForce GTS 250.

Although it costs a few dollars more, the 5750 is more appealing due to its DirectX 11 hardware capabilities. There are other benefits too, such as Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreaming and Eyefinity triple-display output support, making this card an easy choice on all fronts.

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

Best PCIe Card For ~$155:

Radeon HD 5770 1GB (Check Prices)

Great 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 5770
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: 1,200 (4,800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 11/SM 5.0

While AMD's new Radeon HD 5770 isn't any faster than the older Radeon HD 4870 (we've found that it's even slightly slower in many instances), it does have something the Radeon HD 4870 doesn't have: full DirectX 11 and Eyefinity support. Indeed, while the Radeon HD 5770 doesn't run away with any performance crowns in this category, it does look good from a longevity/value standpoint.

Perhaps more importantly, at the $155 price point, there is nothing to compete against this card now that the Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 are at the end of their effective lives.

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

Radeon HD 4890 (Check Prices)

Excellent 1920x1200 performance in most games

Radeon HD 4890
Codename: RV790
Process: 55 nm
Universal Shaders: 800
Texture Units: 40
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 850
Memory Speed MHz: 975 (3,900 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

The Radeon HD 4890 has reappeared on our radar in limited quantities, and remains a fantastic buy at the $200 price point. If the Radeon HD 4890 looks good to you, you may want to act quickly, as stock can't possibly last for much longer.

Read our full review of ATI's Radeon HD 4890 for more information on the card and its accompanying architecture.

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  • 0 Hide
    chispas , 10 May 2010 15:39
    I want to buy a card, but there still aren't any games, so what's the point? In six months when something new finally comes out, then I might care about buying one - the price will be cheaper by then anyway. I want to play Hitman 5. And Thief 4. On a 5870. And I am 34 years old.
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , 10 May 2010 19:34
    "Speaking of rumors, there is also talk of an overclocked Radeon HD 5870 called the 5890, designed to challenge the GeForce GTX 470."

    The 5870 is generally ahead of the 470... perhaps the need to put Fermi squarely in second place is spurring ATi on.
  • 0 Hide
    mentalynuts , 11 May 2010 02:23
    I wish Nvidia would get there rears in gear with the mid-range cards tbh its taking the %*&% now. I bought a 5770 last month as I got sick of waiting for Nvidia, but sadly the 5770 got returned the next day due to problems with flickering and tearing on duel monitor setup.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 17 May 2010 00:21
    This is a real help. Who can keep track of all those model numbers without this chart? Buying my GPU today....
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 2 June 2010 14:08
    Could you put SLI configs on the graphics card hierarchy chart please? Eg, where would a SLI GTX470 sit?