The People's Performers: $100 - $130 Graphics Cards

Just over the magic $100 mark is a playground for the senses. At low to moderate resolutions (1024x768 to 1680x1050) gamers using this class of hardware are all but guaranteed to be able to play with all the effects and high image quality options enabled. Antialiasing will still be hit or miss, but generally this segment provides the option to either play at the higher resolutions the hardware is capable of without AA or play at lower resolutions with some AA enabled. As antialiasing is a subjective feature in many ways (the level at which the performance tradeoff becomes useful and the degree to which antialiasing improves image quality at specific pixel sizes are really tough to generalize). The flexibility available at this price point is definitely desirable to those who like to tinker.

It is possible to get up to HDTV resolutions, but sometimes this requires a quality reduction and it isn't likely that antialiasing will be an option on modern games at resolutions over 1680x1050. Half resolutions on HDTVs or 30" monitors (for those who need high res 2D and still want a little gaming performance) scale well on digital panels and this price point should get you up to 1280x800 with some level of AA in a good many games and high quality settings.

This price point may get overlooked sometimes, as three digit numbers can be a deal breaker for some and those willing to spend a little more could be more attracted to the better performance of slightly more expensive cards. This space also gets a little blurry because of the availability of so many different NVIDIA products that have been renamed and/or overclocked. The 8800 GT/9800 GT and 9600 GT can run into each other with factory overclocks. Thus this market is a bit more blurry than some of the others. The only AMD competition at this price point is the Radeon HD 4830.


Our Recommendation? The Radeon HD 4830 (Image From newegg.com)

And the Radeon HD 4830 happens to be our general recommendation here. We do have to qualify that though. the Radeon HD 4830 can usually be had for about $110, but so can the 9800 GT, and it may be possible to snag an overclocked version for the same price. While the Radeon HD 4830 does well against the competition at stock speeds, this is the first place where you really have to balance overclocking and price. It is also worth it to try and find specific games you like benchmarked online and choose based on that information as well. The reason we've gone with the Radeon HD 4830 here is because you know what you are getting and it tends to do better than the competition at stock speeds and comparable price.

That and the fact that newegg has a major deal right now with mail in rebate allowing a card with performance greater than a stock 9800 GT to compete in terms of price with a 9600 GT/GSO: 85 freaking USD. Shipped for under $95 is a terrific deal.

Recommendation: ATI Radeon HD 4830

Newegg ZipZoomFly TigerDirect Buy.com
PowerColor Radeon HD 4830
HIS Radeon HD 4830
Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 ASUS Radeon HD 4830
$115 $110 $109
Index Let's Get Ridiculous: $130 - $180 Graphics Cards
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  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    How about " if you do FOLDING at Home " trying to find a cure for cancer, the price points being so close, and Nvidia cards EXCELLING at 5-10 times the performance of ATI cards for folding at home, your choice is CLEAR - Nvidia is the way to go.

    NO - no chance of it, huh.

    One recommendation comes for HTPC concerning size and heat - for ATI of course from you, but when it comes to the GTX260 that has BETTER power and heat characteristics... don't mention that.

    Whatever. Total SLANT.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    I see, when the Nvidia wins in performance, you cite a non existent price advantage ( like on the 130-180 page).

    You recommend the 512 ram version of the 4870 - never even mentioning the superior 896 ram on the GTX260/192 WHICH HAS BEEN $200 AT NEW EGG SINCE THE BEGINNING OF OCTOBER....with A FREE GAME

    But your text says before November you would have never recommended the GTX260 (even 192 apparently) ... when the 4870 512 WAS MORE EXPENSIVE - WAY MORE EXPENSIVE.

    So, when it's lower performance you want to save 5 bucks, you recommend the ATI card....

    I am so sick of it. Before November the 8.12's were not out- so the 10% performance increase wasnt there.

    You've ENTIRELY ignored CUDA and PHysX - why don't let that influence ANYONE....

    What a CROCK of a review.

    How about " if you already have an 8 series nvidia card and another pci-e slot- we fdefinitely recommend going with the NVidia choice in ALL CATEGORIES, because you can use your current NVidia card as a dedicated PhysX processor...."

    NO - NO CHANCE of ever mentioning it.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    At newegg RIGHT NOW the lowest 4830 is 89.99, and the lowest 9800GT is 89.99

    I see where you MENTIONED the 9800GT and decided PRICE favored the 4830.

    Whatever. You're bleeding red.

    Am I supposed to comclude there's just 1 NVidia I should buy, or did I miss 1 other, since you also listed them SECOND in your entire piece no matter what ?

    Why didn't you name the piece " Why only ATI should be purchased! " ?
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    So the 9800GT for around $105 is not mentioned... LOL

    You pretended it doesn't exist.

    You managed to ignore it by picking the EXACT dollar categories that would allow you to. rofl

    Tell me what does the 9800GT do for gaming - what card do you compare it to with ATI ? lol

    Shame, shame.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    The 9800GT whips the 4830

    http://xtreview.com/images/HD4830vs9800GT.PNG">http://xtreview.com/images/HD4830vs9800GT.PNG

    High rezz and plenty of AA and AF.

    Oh well, only red cards will do.
    Reply
  • Schmide - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Before I went to bed it pointed to the MSI gtx 280. Looks good to me now. Reply

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