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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  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Umm, yeah, cause the red rooster got stomped struttin' about with the chickenfeed lines by the big green tractor - brute force don't you know...wins.
    lol
    Now the cluckers are ticked with that no test card TKO, so on goes the blabbering article. Maybe there's a bit of green from the reds, in hopes that the billion dollar losses can be stopped. Keep clucking D' ! hahaha
    Glad to have discovered the truth.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    http://www.dailytech.com/ATI+RV740+Performance+Fig...">http://www.dailytech.com/ATI+RV740+Performance+Fig... Reply
  • justniz - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    ATI 's Linux drivers are a joke.
    If you plan to run Linux at all, go with nvidia.
    Reply
  • stmok - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Depends on perspective: I see things in the long term.

    ATI/AMD is opening up documentation specifications in a gradual manner. (Has to be cleared of legal issues). The result is the ability for the open source community to write their own driver...Which is one less step during installation and set up of a Linux system. (A benefit for the end user).

    Ubuntu 9.04 will support Radeons from R100 through R500 families with full 3D Acceleration. There is also X-Video and EXA support for the ATI R600 (Radeon HD 2000/3000) and R700 (Radeon HD 4000) series.

    According to this, AMD is helping with the 3D Acceleration code of the R600 series.
    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&am...">http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&am...

    They are also pushing out some R700 series documentation.
    http://developer.amd.com/gpu_assets/R700-Family_In...">http://developer.amd.com/gpu_assets/R700-Family_In...

    What's Nvidia doing? Intentionally restricting any form of open source contribution down to mere trinkets of code for 2D acceleration only, nothing more. Everything else is all proprietary support. (Which means an extra step during installation of Linux for everyone!)

    The Nouveau project is working to address this "proprietary deficiency" with their own open source driver for Nvidia cards. They have a long way to go as they have to "reverse engineer". (No support from Nvidia).

    On top of that, there is an effort to shift everything to Gallium3D driver architecture. (Which will simplify future video driver development).

    In the short term, you would consider Nvidia.
    In the long term, it may be better to look at ATI.
    Reply
  • anglesmithtitanius - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    ATI drivers compile and install without going to single user mode

    Last time i checked Nvidia drivers did not compile with the latest and greatest kernel, BTW ATI does

    stop the FUD.
    Reply
  • HelToupee - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Bullshit. nVidia's latest drivers compile everywhere ATI's do.

    nVidia's drivers DO NOT and HAVEN'T in the past 3 YEARS required you to go to single user mode to install. Jesus Christ in the sky, where do you get this shit?!?!? Yes, if you update your kernel, you have to recompile your kernel modules, just like you would with ATI's stuff.

    What ATI's drivers leave out is support for output on all formats (HDMI, TV). nVidia has that. Support for hardware video acceleration of hi-def formats (H.264, so Bluray) is also not available in ATI's stuff yet. (even though it was promised last November. I guess the hooks are there, but they've yet to release any code so it can be used by players) nVidia's H.264 and VC-1 acceleration has been usable in most major players (mplayer, Xine, XBMC video player) for months. Newest builds of Mythbuntu, Boxee, etc FULLY support it.

    You stop your own FUD, FUD-tard!

    Sincerely, someone who's been running a 7600GT under Ubuntu for 2+ years.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Don't really care since I don't game in *nix environments. Well, if I do, it's nothing that requires serious gfx acceleration.

    Anyway, their drivers does work in most variants of linux. Sure it's not updated monthly, but so what?
    Reply
  • Ananke - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    So we are going to have news regarding 4890? Is it really that good? I am waiting for that card. Reply
  • XiZeL - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    looking at its spects the only diferences is that its an overclocked 4870 1Gb, and i run my powercolor 4870 at the same clocks as the announced 4890 clocks Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Except the 4890 is a much better overclocker. Most early users are claiming at or near 1000mhz core on air, 1000+ easy on water. Reply

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