Price Guides April 2004: Video Cards and Memoryby Kristopher Kubicki on April 18, 2004 5:07 PM EST
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NVIDIA is not taking the onslaught from ATI sitting down. While prices have lately been somewhat stagnant, their lineup does offer some comfort in the interim. With the GeForce 6800 Ultra trouncing heavily on ATI's 9800XT, NVIDIA is showing that they do not intend to go quietly the way of Matrox.
Top pick from NVIDIA, in the meantime, goes to the XFX GeForceFX 5900 128MB. At $194 it's right around the cost of a Radeon 9800 Pro, and comparable in performance. Much like the 9800, however, this card is only recommended if you anticipate purchasing a card now. Also similar to ATI's offerings, the GeForceFX 5900 Ultra and 5950 Ultra simply aren't worth the extra cash for the meager performance boost associated with them. The 5900 Non-Ultra (and Non-XT) NVIDIA cards offer the best performance to cost ratio on the high end.
On the value side, the Gigabyte GeForceFX 5700 will get you through your day-to-day PC activity and still have some power to spare for games like Unreal Tournament 2004 and Battlefield: Vietnam for the price of $129; All while giving you performance similar to that of the Radeon 9600; (ATI still has the better midrange option right now). Of course, if that price is still a bit much, NVIDIA recently released the GeForceFX 5500 lineup. Models such as the eVGA GeForceFX 5500 256MB can be had for a paltry $99, although their performance is only slightly better than GeForceFX 5200's.