Holiday 2008 GPU Guide: Price Cuts Galore

by Derek Wilson on 12/18/2008 12:00 AM EST


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  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    I'm a bit confused about the budget cards for an HTPC, although this article did help me a bit. It's something I've been looking into. I have a projection t.v. with HDMI that runs 1080P. With the desire for multi-channel hi-def sound figured in, I would assume I should go for an AMD 4670 or a 4830 card. But I also want to make sure it's producing good hi-def picture too. If it won't give me the same quality as a Blu-Ray player I don't want to bother with it. Right now I'm using an HD-DVD player for upscaling my movies, and I have a chassis, Windows XP MCE, and some older systems for an HTPC. All that's left is the right card and a Blu-Ray drive/software.

    This card will likely be paired up with an old Athlon X2 running at 2.0ghz or a single core Pentium4 2.2ghz.

    If I can get away with an even cheaper card, let me know. I'd like to do some light gaming on it (TF2, etc @ LAN parties) but the gaming is a distance second in importance to watching movies.

    What's the cheapest reasonable solution for a good movie experience when pairing a card with an old processor, 2GBs of RAM, and a huge tv? Sound isn't really an issue, as I have an X-Fi that can do the job - although I'd prefer to keep that with my gaming system.
  • marc1000 - Monday, December 22, 2008 - link

    your card would be the 4670 or maybe even the 4550 if gaming is not important. but sound is a issue, for sure. because you can not play blu-ray content without a "secure channel" for the audio. of course, you can always use the lower-quality sound channels, but I remember reading something about the hi-quality sound on blu-ray discs and special software and hardware needs. browse some articles here at anandtech and you will find the answer. BUT if your display is 24hz then the only options are the 9500gt or 9600gso. Reply
  • teohhanhui - Saturday, December 20, 2008 - link

    It points to the 4830... Reply
  • Noobnugget - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Nothing like be horribly inaccurate by quoting mail in rebates(which you may not even get back) as the actual price you pay. When will people learn..? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    Seconded. I made the same statement on Tom's Hardware I think (or else it was here) for using rebates as a buying decision factor. Don't purchase MIR items unless you're ready to pay full price for what you're buying. Rebates are a way to steal money from consumers. Nothing more than a cheap gimmick to rob you. Reply
  • BLaber - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link


  • JonnyDough - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    From everything I've read I have to agree. Unless you're doing memory specific work or games that require more memory bandwidth, there's no reason to upgrade from a Core2Duo or Core2Quad to i7 yet. Maybe with the next tick or tock (I don't keep track of which is which) then it will be more worth upgrading. Wait for i7 to be seasoned a bit (new proc revisions) before bothering with a change from a Core2 system. Not many modern games really make good use of multiple cores yet anyway. I'm looking forward to GPUs made on smaller dies and Windows 7. PC gaming may make a come back. But these $300 GPU's that create massive amounts of heat and run up my electric bill, and a lack of solid SSD support for XP and Vista make me want to wait a year or two to upgrade my PC from my old socket 939 Athlon X2 systems. Reply
  • kevinkreiser - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    any opinions on the best single slot gpu? i'm looking to make a small computer that can do graphics intensive work, but i'm limited to using up only 1 slot). maybe i could water cool a dual slot to make it a single slot? no idea. suggestions welcome. thanks. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    How about an EVGA 9800GT">

    How about this one with a free full game">

    Single slot superclocked core">

  • marc1000 - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    that would be the radeon 4830, because it runs cooler than the 4850 and these are the only high-end single-slot gpus today... or you could stick with older hardware.

    anyway, who will be REALLY jealous is the people overseas and below the equatorial line... i live in Brazil and we have no such price wars here. the cards stay with the initial price for their lifetime... i mean, a 4670 that was 130USD when it debuted, still cost 130USD today over here... and the 4830 that launched later have a "premium tag" because the 4670 costs 130USD... so the sellers charge the 4830 for 150USD... and these prices will not fall. that is really something to be jeaulous about. (PS: of course our currency is not dollars, i'm converting the values here)
  • falcon8204 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    this is the same deal iirc as the thanksgiving blowout sale.
    asus 4850 for 149.99 - 30 MIR = 129.99 with free shipping to boot. i just ordered one so you guys lookin for one better hurry before they sell out :">

  • Eidorian - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB comes down to $99 with free shipping today with the promo code EMCBCBKDB. Add on the $10 mail in rebate for $89. Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    The newegg link to "PowerColor Radeon HD 4850" actually leads to the $85 POWERCOLOR AX4830 product page. Reply
  • Kroneborge - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Of course one thing to think about too, is the option to upgrade later. It seems like if I get a 260, and then in a couple of month have some extra cash it's real easy to go SLI. If I get a 4870 there is no guaruntee that the crossfire bugs will have been worked out.

    And I think for a lot of us, it's easier to upgrade in stages like that.
  • 7Enigma - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I don't agree. Unless you are the atypical gamer that upgrades video cards every 6 months single card solutions at the height of $/performance curve have always made more sense. Not to mention drivers have just not been there to see the great 1.5-2X performance increase we want out of doubling the card. The dual-gpu on the same board are much more beneficial since it's seen as a single card, but these are obviously at the high end.

    Now that AMD is competetive again especially. Back when the 8800 series came out you could have benefitted from SLI since there were basically no new parts for the better portion of 2 years. In this cycle, however, going with a 9600GT-260, holding out for 1-1 1/2 years then upgrading to a new single card will likely be a better move.
  • vshah - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    It would be awesome if you guys could include some comparisons with older cards. I'm still rocking a 6800gt, and wondering how the newer cards compare. Reply
  • derek85 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    For performance comparison of old vs new cards, you can check out the GPU chart on Toms Hardware. Reply
  • Rippar - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    The 9800GTX+ SLI looks good considering the combo deals on newegg for it.
    Antec P182/9800GTX+ combo = $244
    EVGA 750i FTW/9800GTX+ combo = $285
    Then again, that case and motherboard have combos with the GTX260 as well.
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    we chose not to look at any combo deals because that just made everything start to get too complex. we wanted to make it as general as possible too, and talking about only the price of a single card give people an idea of deals to be had for people looking to upgrade their existing single dual or triple slot mobos as well as people looking to build an entire system from the ground up.

    We might not have the absolute best deals you can find anywhere listed here, but some of these deals are really good and they weren't that hard to find. It should work as a starting point for people though. Especially if a combo deal will work for you.
  • Rippar - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I know, I know. I'm just letting the people who read the commentrs know that there are some RIDICULOUS deals on video cards right now. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    The 9800GTX+ is 149.99 by itself.

    I'm not sure why, with CUDA, and with PhysX, and with overclocking capability, and with using an 8 series for a dedicated PhysX processor, WHY I should buy the 4850 at the same price or worse.

    I guess in this case, the very few games that the 4850 enjoy a advantage in, makes all the difference all of a sudden - in this case NOTHING matters exacpt some " very close gaming scores" and after thinking about that ONLY - choose the 4850.... or so the review goes... because golly... the price COULD be advantageous...

    Yeah, I've HAD IT.
  • fofelix - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I think the HD 4850 X2 is getting interesting because of the recent price cuts.
    In Germany the cheapest HD 4870 512MB costs 187€ ,while the HD 4850 X2 (2x512MB) costs 261€. Nice performance/euro ratio in my opinion.
    Well i don't know the price of the HD4850X2 in the U.S. ,but I assume the relative price difference is similar.

    By the way... You can be a bit jealous living in Europe .
    I knew that hardware is more pricy in Europe compared to the U.S. , but 187€ for the HD 4870 vs Newegg's 180$ deal. Crazy difference ,isn't it ?

    Greetings from Europe
  • USRFobiwan - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Well I disagree with the dollar to euro conversion the New egg version is still cheaper.. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    That's what he's saying: those living in Europe can be jealous of Newegg prices. Reply
  • Clauzii - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    ... that AMD/ATI are very strong in the GPU market at the moment. And a 4830 for under $100,-. Simply brilliant. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    Here's what's "brilliant" - I've heard from AYTI fans for 6 months that the sucky NVidia is ready to collapse because their "huge die" for the 280/260 is raping their bottom line... and by golly ATI is sooooo smart with their smaller 4870 die that saves them so much money....


    Gee, Nvidia keeps it's giant core in the $200+ to $500 privce segments - the 260/192/ 216 on up to the 280 - making sure they GET A LOT OF MONEY FOR THAT TOP CORE OF THEIRS...

    But what does ATI do ? WHAT do they do ? Oh, they've got their TOP CORE in all their 4000 series cards, and although it's half the size of the so expensive NVidia top core - ATI puts their top biggest most expensive core in OODLES OF CHEAP LOW RENT VIDEOCARDS!

    lol - all the 4850 series that barely brag 150 bucks now... and that's the BEST case scenario...

    4350 - $25
    4550 - $58
    4650 $65
    4670 $76
    4830 $110

    Am I totally wrong or aren't ALL THOSE 4000 series GPU cores JUST AS LARGE AS THE 4870'S ? (even with reduced features... disabled shaders... or whatever)


    The review sites have SPEWED that same rhetorical BS, a big fat line of lies... and most have repeated it ad infinitum - how NVidia just can't take it....

    And it takes ME - to point out Nvidia keeps their top core in the $200 dollar to $500 pricepoint while ATI has their MOST EXPENSIVE CORE

    priced at $25 - perhaps a GIGANTIC LOSS for ATI in the 4350...

    Oh, but I've been told Nvidia is losing so much they can't do a price war with ATI.... because of the Nvidia gigantic die...


    I know, I'm not the best writer, so wail away reds.... but you WON'T be responding to the points, nor will the reviewers - it will be ALL SILENT on the red front...

    ( except to perhaps spew about the 400 cores - yes well let me know if the 4350 core die is SMALLER than the 4870 - I'm going to look again RIGHT NOW ).

    Good luck reds, I sure hope this isn't another gigantic lie exposed that you will "deny" by virtue of silence on it, or just scream it makes no sense (your other favorite tactic).
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    Ok, I'll correct myself... my apologies for getting upset.">

    I see the lower end series have smaller dies than the 4870 - BUT the 4850 FITS MY COMPLAINT.

    So ATI is calling "4000 series" chips 4000's but they aren't really at all... they are small knockdowns - THEY'VE BEEN LYING TO US ALL.

    We've heard endless complaints about NVidia RENAMING the SAME SIZED DIES and calling them by a new designation...

    So what ATI does is make a WHOLE 4000 series .... and then only the top 2 are actually the new full die -
    And a whole host of the 4000 series are NOT.

    Deception anyone ?
  • Schmide - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    . Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    it works fine for me ... what exactly is the issue? Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    " Pushing up closer to $100 the lines get blurry and the 9600 GT becomes more of an option though there's a deal in the next section that sort of negates that advantage. If your target is $100, you'd be better served by spending $10 more dollars to get a better card, "

    Yes, so blurry, huh - like $65 bucks is BLURRY.">

    Let's really SEE, you said you'd include discounts and rebates:


    Only in the 1024 ram area does it change, but WE KNOW that doesn't matter - since the 4870 512 IS RECOMMENDED OVER THE 896 RAM GTX260 -
    So 512 is just fine and makes the 9600GT the big winner.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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! " ?
  • 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.
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    The 9800GT whips the 4830">

    High rezz and plenty of AA and AF.

    Oh well, only red cards will do.
  • 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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