The Best Gaming Video Cards for the Money: June 2007

PCI Express Interface

Best PCIe Card For Under £60 / €80:

GeForce 7300 GT DDR2
Codename: G73
Process: 90nm
Pixel Shaders: 8
Vertex Shaders: 4
Texture Units: 8
ROPs: 8
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 400
Memory Speed MHz: 400 (800 effective)

With the price of the X1650 XT and 7600 GT touching the £90 / €100 price point, the 7600 GS is too expensive to be recommended anymore. Instead, the 7300 GT is a low-price alternative for those who want to do as much gaming as they can for as little money as possible.

Best PCIe Card For ~£90 / €110

GeForce 8600 GT
Codename: G84
Process: 80nm
Universal Shaders: 32
Texture Units: 16
ROPs: 8
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 540
Memory Speed MHz: 700 (1400 effective)

Prices of the new midrange DirectX 10 video cards have dropped like a rock in the past month. The 8600 GT was a terrible buy before, but as it comes down in price it's much more attractive. The 8600 GT will slightly beat the old 7600 GT and X1650 XT in raw performance in the price category. In addition to speed, the 8600 GT has the added bonus of DirectX 10 compatibility, as well as being a good overclocker.

Best PCIe Card For ~£120 / €140: 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)

The X1950 PRO is similar to the X1900 GT, the main difference being that it is not based on the X1900 XT, but a newer and less power-hungry core. The card's main competition is the 7900 GS, which the X1950 PRO will beat in most benchmarks at stock speeds. However, the 7900 GS tends to be cheaper, and the X1950 PRO does not overclock well, so they are both good buys depending on how you plan to use them.

GeForce 7900 GS
Codename: G71
Process: 90nm
Pixel Shaders: 20
Vertex Shaders: 7
Texture Units: 20
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 450
Memory Speed MHz: 660 (1320 effective)

The card is essentially an overclocked 7800 GT, sporting a 256-bit memory bus and decent clock speeds. It's a very good performer and a solid card for the money.

While the X1950 PRO is also a stronger performer, it's a bit more expensive. The 7900 GS also has a good overclocking reputation, while the X1950 PRO does not.

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