Introduction

Greetings and thanks for joining us for another one of our monthly video card price guides. Our astute readers may have noticed a bit of a dry spell with our price guides, but not to worry, we're back in full swing and expect them to be up once a week like before. If this is your first time here reading our weekly price guides, you'll see that we not only pick out hardware we feel you should consider for your next purchase, but we also like to follow the market trends, giving you an outlook as to what we see happening. We rotate the topics every week, four different topics a month, covering CPUs, motherboards, video cards and storage media.

Although we only discuss these four topics in our price guides, our Real Time Price Engine, more commonly known as the RTPE, includes all aspects of computer hardware; all the way from LCD monitors, to desktop and notebook RAM to sound cards. The RTPE also experienced quite an overhaul a couple months ago, and in case you missed our announcement then, you'll notice that the RTPE's speed has picked up significantly and is much more enjoyable to use thanks to our RTPE administrator and other behind-the-scenes coders. We're still working on getting even better performance in the future, of course, and as more people use our pricing engine we will do our best to keep up.

We're noticing this week that there are many cards with mail-in rebates, especially from MSI. Not all of us on the AnandTech crew like dealing with mail-in rebates, but if you don't mind dealing with the hassle of filling out forms, photocopying UPCs and mailing them out, and perhaps waiting eight weeks for your check to arrive, mail-in rebates can really make a good deal that much sweeter. We would also like to mention that the high-end graphics cards don't appear too appealing as they have been priced unreasonably for quite some time now. Rather than going with a card from that section, we suggest going with something from the ultra high-end or mid-range line-up.

As always, we like to begin our video card price guides with the ultra high-end graphics solutions all the way through the high-end, mid-range and ending with the low-end graphics cards. Note that when we talk about market segments, we are primarily concerned with performance and positioning rather than price. This is why we generally don't recommend the high-end market right now for video cards, as in many instances you get better price/performance from either a slightly more expensive card or a cheaper card.

There are many cards to cover, and we'll do our best to cover them all, but please do feel free to leave us any comments, suggestions or death threats in the comment forum below or send us an e-mail at the e-mail address above. The feedback we receive is always invaluable and helps improve our guides for the best. So here we go, starting off with the ultra high-end video cards...

Ultra High-End Graphics
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  • Egglick - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    I'm kinda confused as to why there are so many old cards in this guide. The entire range of last-gen PCIe cards is pretty much obsolete because of the performance of the 7600GT for only $150. Aside from the X850XT for $159, it's a joke to even list most of those cards up there.

    I also think that the X1600Pro should have been touted quite a bit more. For $100, you get the entire AVIVO feature set, in either PCIe or AGP flavor. This makes them extremely useful for HTPCs, and negates just about the entire low end range.

    Also, no discussion whatsoever on the $239 X1800XT 256MB?? That's a pretty big descrepency.
    Reply
  • tayhimself - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    The old cards (barring a few AGP models maybe) should be removed from the guide. I would put them all in a not reccomended list page. But it may be more important for you to get advertising $ by providing a direct buy link which would explain the old shitty cards still in the guide. Oh well... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    Every time we put out a price guide, we get complaints if we don't list just about every conceivable option. Catch-22. I don't know where the cheap X1800XT is, but it doesn't show up in our pricing engine right now, which is why it doesn't get mentioned. Anyway, if you can find some better deals than we have listed here, that's great; these articles are a snapshot in time, and we don't track every vendor on the planet for a variety of reasons. Reply
  • Egglick - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    Scratch that.....you can get the X1600Pro for http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">$85 after $15MIR (PCIe model). Reply
  • bloc - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    Your price engine is rather nice, but...to make it the ultimate price guide is to factor in fps. Even though you don't have fps for most games and cards, it would help to show the ones you do have.

    You made some arguments about 6600 GT, x1600 XT, 7600 GT...well if you look at the price vs fps...I believe all three are on a similar line.

    Meaning they're equal in value...and you're getting the appropriate performance for the price you pay.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    X1600 XT is about as fast as 6600 GT (not even quite that!), so not worth it in my opinion since it costs a bit more. 7600 GT runs about 75% faster (provided you're not CPU limited), and it only costs may 40% more. Best bang-for-the-buck out right now, I think. Reply
  • bloc - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    Using anand's oblivion benchmarks http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2746...">http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2746...

    And the top graph because it stresses the cards the most:

    256 mb cards - taking lowest price from the chart
    6600 GT - $120
    x1600 xt - $140
    7600 gt - $153

    oblivion gate - bloom
    6600 GT - 18.05 - 0.15 fps/$
    x1600 xt - 26 - 0.186
    7600 gt - 30.3 - 0.198

    oblivion gate - hdr
    6600 GT - 14.3 - 0.119 fps/$
    x1600 xt - 19.1 - 0.136 fps/$
    7600 gt - 25.7 - 0.168

    The higher the fps/$ the better the bang for the buck

    for reference
    7900 GT - gate hdr - 33.5 $280 has a fps/$ of 0.119
    1800 xt - gate hdr - 42.4 $290 has a fps/$ of 0.147

    Conclusion: the 7600 GT has the best bang for the buck, followed by the x1600 xt then the 6600 GT. (for this game of course)

    See how fps/$ or $/fps is a better indicator?
    Reply
  • bloc - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    btw the 7600 GT price is $153 ($35 MIR)..which is a lot lower than the average of $170. With the adjusted price, the x1600 XT and 7600 GT fps/$ ratio is about even. But my point was to highlight how price charts is an alright solution...while a fps/$ is better. Reply
  • the Chase - Saturday, May 27, 2006 - link

    The MSI X1800XT(512MB) is only $269.99 after $30 MIR at Newegg. Reply
  • the Chase - Saturday, May 27, 2006 - link

    Price engine missed the $50 MIR on the ATI X1800XT at Newegg that brings the price down to $289.99. Not a bad deal for the 512MB 1800XT. Reply

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