At the $180 - $280 range, we are going to ask our readers to wait until the end of this week to make a decision. If you want a little more power than the 4870 1GB / GTX 260, but you don't want to spend the money required to push up to the next price point, we might have something (or two somethings) for you.

$180 - $280 Recommendation: Almost There ... Stay on Target (Wait a few more days)

I wish we could talk about this a little more now, but all will be clear by the end of the week.

The only real options between $280 and $400 are the 4850 X2 2GB and GTX 285 (we could only find the GTX 280 for a couple bucks less negating the value). Making this choice isn't for the feint of heart though. Yes, the GTX 285 does offer the highest performance of a single GPU solution in many cases. But the fact that the 4870 costs just a little more than half as much, and in some cases performs higher, leaves a sour taste in our mouths.

The fact that the 4850 X2 2GB comes in at the low end of this price range and the GTX 285 requires an investment of at least $50 more dollars tilts our recommendation heavily in favor of the 4850 X2 2GB in terms of value. But at the same time, Sapphire is still the only vendor out there building the 4850 X2. And while current drivers are doing pretty well, we are still reeling from the AMD driver issues we had from the end of last year up through the beginning of this year.

So there are caveats for both options. But our recommendation is the 4850 X2 2GB.

$280 - $400 Recommendation: ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB

  ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB
Sapphire $279.99


At the highest end, there are only two options left. The 4870 X2 and the GTX 295. The GTX 295 is much more expensive, but does outperform th 4870 X2 in most cases. There are some games where the 4870 X2 does top the GTX 295, just like the 4870 1GB sometimes leads the GTX 285. But really it's diminishing returns.

If you want the top of the line, the choice is clear: the option is the GTX 295. If you want top of the line performance without breaking the bank as hard, the 4870 X2 would be the option to go with.

Our recommendation is that there are something like two games where this level of hardware make any difference at all. But if you have the money to spend we're going to go ahead and recommend the part that delivers better price/performance: the Radeon 4870 X2.

$400+ Recommendation: ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2

  ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
Sapphire $429.99
Diamond $449.99


That does it for our spring GPU buyers guide. We'll fill in one gap shortly, and the highest volume slot at $100 will make more sense (maybe) in about a months time.
$100 - $200 Recommendations


View All Comments

  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    There is also the fact that depending on where you live a lot of the cards can be had tax-free and many often include free shipping. But stuff there generally does seem to be more expensive. A friend living in England was looking for a new lens for her camera, and decided she is going to try and wait until next time she comes home to the US to buy it, as what is a $1000 lens here typically runs over £800 there. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Meh, it's not that different from other countries. You just have to get out more to see how the market is for certain products. I wouldn't worry too much about it seeing as your country isn't the worst for pricing and you can't do anything about it :)

    Many of you may think China is a cheap place but they're really not, in certain cities. Yes, you can get cheap products at the black markets and what not but at retail stores, forget it :) I seriously don't know how anyone making $50 can live there :o
  • san1s - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I don't see why you wouldn't see the gts 250 as a competitor to the 4850
    most review sites show it performing equal or better than the 4850, and with the dual slot cooler, it runs a lot cooler, which is a plus.
    looking through the prices">">
    the gts 250 has matched the 4850 in pricing
    why won't you recommend it?
    it is a competent competitor at the same price
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Yer in red roosterville buddy - they can't help themselves. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    I believe it's really the 1GB GTS 250 that is the competitor. The 512MB versions (for now) look to be all over the place in terms of PCB (some were rebranded 9800GTX+?) and power requirements. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Why such secrecy? I know you can't break NDAs by giving details but rumor mills have had info regarding the HD4770 (or whatever it will be called) and the GTX 275 for long enough. You can't even mention the names? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    NDA pretty much means we can't talk about the details until the date the NDA lifts. While there's plenty of speculation and some unofficial benchmarks, Derek has hardware in hand for some of the stuff and has official information on other stuff. So, while you can read elsewhere about unofficial specs, the official stuff can't be disclosed yet.

    Incidentally, this is one of the big reasons for the spin off of DailyTech - we are separate companies, so they are not bound by our NDAs and we really don't discuss much with their people. I haven't talked to anyone at DailyTech in ages, other than saying hello at CES. It allows our "sister" site to report details as they find them, without worrying about what Anand and the rest of us may have agreed to keep silent.
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Yeah I just thought it was funny that even names weren't mentioned, I wouldn't expect technical details. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Most all of the recent reviews (not system guides etc) were very negative about ATi drivers. What's changed since then? Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    What hasn't changed is a lot of BSOD's and game crashes.
    That's ok, hassles and cursing makes a rooster feel like a big chicken man tech.
    I even gots my free ati teachin tool, es' called a BSOD, now don't you sob on my behaf'.


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