Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1467


Welcome back for the latest Price Guide installation. This edition will look at what's been happening in the video and memory arena. With all of the new things on the market such as PCI express and DDR2, one would expect AGP and DDR1 prices to fall a bit quicker, but that does not seem to be the case. Adoption of these two technologies has been a bit slower than many were anticipating.

Be sure to visit our RealTime Pricing Engine to get the latest on price drops, hikes and deals.

Video Cards - ATI

ATI's X800 series cards continue to be among the priciest of options this week, sporting price tags in the range of $400+. This, of course, is not unexpected, since the bleeding edge has always been where the dollar signs are. This means that we cannot reasonably recommend the X800 (Pro of XT) to anyone except the most hardcore enthusiast. Don't get us wrong - the performance is definitely worthy of the price tag, with reviews showing essentially double the performance of the last generation 9800 Pros.

For those on a more earthly budget, the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro continues to be our favorite video option. The fact that this card can be had for under the $200 price-point goes a long way towards making this a wise purchase.

Whether you go for the absolute highest end of video performance or not, it is worth keeping in mind that many new Intel motherboards are starting to push PCIe very strongly. A lot do not have AGP slots and do so in favor of PCIe. So, if you're going to be building an entirely new system, it does make the X800 a more plausible solution.

Both the Sapphire and PowerColor Radeon 9600 Pros are available for under $140 for the low-end or budget segment. The 9600 Pro has been known to provide a lot of bang for the buck even in gaming, but if gaming is not a requirement, this card is just as well suited for everyday computing.

Video Cards - NVIDIA

NVIDIA continues to be the favorite option when Doom 3 is a factor in the purchase. The impressive performance that the 6800's have been shown to provide in this game is nothing short of top notch. Of course, with top performance, again come top prices. If you can afford it, then the 6800 GT is a very nice card to own and should not disappoint you.

Chaintech's GeForceFX 5900128MB PCIe card is a nice choice if you are looking to upgrade your motherboard to one capable of taking PCI Express cards. A step sideways takes us to the XFX GeForceFX 5900 128MB for use in board that still has an AGP slot, which would certainly constitute the majority. Both cards will give you playable framerates in titles ranging from Battlefield 1942 through Doom 3.

Short of needing those extra frames for gaming, a 5700 is plenty for the average user and does not have to break the bank by any stretch of the imagination. Gainward's GeForceFX 5700 128MB is currently going for under $100 and should suit the needs of a PC intended for web browsing, emailing, and office applications without trouble.

DDR Memory

Memory prices have finally shown a little slack in the past few weeks with prices staying mostly idle. At the same time, some parts have started to go down in price a bit, which is a definite sigh of relief for anyone who has been waiting to upgrade their memory.

One of the better values worth mentioning is Corsair's PC3200 512MB Value. This price is pretty low considering what one could be paying for memory of the same or similar specs. Since PC3200 is plenty fast for most gaming and definitely desktop application use there aren't many reasons to spend more.

One reason that does make spending more money worth the effort would still be overclocking. Corsair's own PC3700 512MB XMS module looks to be a good buy this week and will certainly leave a lot of room for overclocking compared to value-oriented PC3200 memory.

DDR2 still continues to cost around twice as much as standard DDR modules without any useful performance gain. Right now, the only time that DDR2 should really be considered as an option is when you are intending to purchase one of Intel's newer motherboards, which support only DDR2. Considering that a 512MB stick of DDR can easily cost $200, it may be wiser to put that money towards a processor and motherboard. Both components can often be had for less than the cost of just 512MB of DDR2.

Hopefully, prices will fall as Intel's push of the technology gains momentum, but for now, it is simply not worth the cost increase.

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