It's been since the holidays that we've done a GPU buyers guide. It never seems like the right time to do a new GPU buyers guide, as NVIDIA and AMD have been pushing aggressively back and forth for leadership in the market place. When new parts or tweaked cards haven't been coming out, prices have been adjusted quickly to maintain tight competition.

Now is no exception. There are a couple spots in our line up where we will have to make recommendations based on what we know about what's happening in the market place. In competitive reviews, we try very hard to look only at that exact time slice to make our recommendations. In our buyers guides we like to be a little more flexible and take a more retail and market place view rather than the heavily technology and performance based focus of our GPU reviews.

Starting out, we're looking at the roughly $75 market where we split our recommendation between the 4670 and the 9600 GT. Prices have compressed more over the past few months, and the 4670 comes in low enough to cover many needs at very little cost. You can always spend less on graphics and get less, but if you want more than 2D, the 4670 and 9600 GT are where you should start looking.

$75 Recommendation: ATI Radeon HD 4670

 

  ATI Radeon HD 4670
Apollo $64.99
Gigabyte $79.99
Sapphire $69.99

 

And we've got the GeForce 9600 GT. Just a little more performance in some games, maybe a little less in others, with roughly the same cost. But if you want any more than that, you'll want to wait about a month.

$75 Recommendation: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT

  NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT
Apollo $74.99
Gigabyte $67.99
Sparkle $89.99
PNY $97.99

 

For our ~$100 price point (plus or minus a bit) we are going to strongly recommend that people wait for about a month. This price point will be shaken up a bit in about that time and we really aren't comfortable recommending anyone purchase something in this market until sometime in early May. This may or may not further compress the sub $100 market, but there really isn't much more room down there, so we don't expect much change except at right around $100.

$100 - $200 Recommendations
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  • Proteusza - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    As a South African living in London, I can say we dont do much better over here. The 4850, which can apparently be had for $130 - $150, goes for £100 to £130 here. Apparently part of the reason for the difference is that all of our prices (Uk and South African) include VAT, while American prices dont because there isnt a nation wide sales tax regime, it can differ depending on the state and even the town apparently. So the prices shown exclude tax and shipping. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    There is also the fact that depending on where you live a lot of the cards can be had tax-free and many often include free shipping. But stuff there generally does seem to be more expensive. A friend living in England was looking for a new lens for her camera, and decided she is going to try and wait until next time she comes home to the US to buy it, as what is a $1000 lens here typically runs over £800 there. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Meh, it's not that different from other countries. You just have to get out more to see how the market is for certain products. I wouldn't worry too much about it seeing as your country isn't the worst for pricing and you can't do anything about it :)

    Many of you may think China is a cheap place but they're really not, in certain cities. Yes, you can get cheap products at the black markets and what not but at retail stores, forget it :) I seriously don't know how anyone making $50 can live there :o
    Reply
  • san1s - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I don't see why you wouldn't see the gts 250 as a competitor to the 4850
    most review sites show it performing equal or better than the 4850, and with the dual slot cooler, it runs a lot cooler, which is a plus.
    looking through the prices
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Sub...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi...27%20106...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    the gts 250 has matched the 4850 in pricing
    why won't you recommend it?
    it is a competent competitor at the same price
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Yer in red roosterville buddy - they can't help themselves. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I believe it's really the 1GB GTS 250 that is the competitor. The 512MB versions (for now) look to be all over the place in terms of PCB (some were rebranded 9800GTX+?) and power requirements. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Why such secrecy? I know you can't break NDAs by giving details but rumor mills have had info regarding the HD4770 (or whatever it will be called) and the GTX 275 for long enough. You can't even mention the names? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    NDA pretty much means we can't talk about the details until the date the NDA lifts. While there's plenty of speculation and some unofficial benchmarks, Derek has hardware in hand for some of the stuff and has official information on other stuff. So, while you can read elsewhere about unofficial specs, the official stuff can't be disclosed yet.

    Incidentally, this is one of the big reasons for the spin off of DailyTech - we are separate companies, so they are not bound by our NDAs and we really don't discuss much with their people. I haven't talked to anyone at DailyTech in ages, other than saying hello at CES. It allows our "sister" site to report details as they find them, without worrying about what Anand and the rest of us may have agreed to keep silent.
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Yeah I just thought it was funny that even names weren't mentioned, I wouldn't expect technical details. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Most all of the recent reviews (not system guides etc) were very negative about ATi drivers. What's changed since then? Reply

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