Things have been quiet on the GPU front for a while now, but there has definitely been activity on the pricing front. With the economy in the toilet, spending on hardware and games has declined; AMD and NVIDIA are fighting for your purchase. Prices are fairly compressed between $100 and $200, and spending just a little more can get you a whole lot of bang. We'll start on the low end and move up as we go. 

We use price and availability at as an indicator of the broader market in order to simplify our data and give more clear recommendations.

Sub $100 Cards

At the lower end of the spectrum, the Radeon HD 4670 can be had for less than $70 USD (down to $50 if you don't mind the rebate hassle). This is a solid card and a good way to go for people who want a well rounded card. It's not the best performer out there, but it offers a good performance boost over built in graphics hardware and leads cheaper add-in cards as well.

ATI Radeon HD 4670
Apollo 256MB $65
ASUS 512MB $68
HIS 512MB $70
Sapphire 512MB $70
Gigabyte 512MB $70

The Radeon HD 4830 has been pushed down in price slightly due to the appearance of the Radeon HD 4770. This puts it in competition with the GeForce 9600 GT, which can't quite match the former's performance. This gives the edge to the 4830 which is quite a step up from the Radeon 4670 if you can afford the extra $20 or so dollars.

ATI Radeon HD 4830
Apollo $83
MSI $90
HIS $93
XFX $105

Sub $125 Cards

It seems like every time we look at the Radeon HD 4850, AMD has raised the bar once again. Performance of this part exceeds that of the Radeon HD 4770 which is still stuck, at best, at the same price it was at launch. Which happens to be the price to which the 4850 has finally fallen. Most 4770 hardware on is actually more expensive than the 4850. And after rebate, the 4850 can even be had for as low as $90. That's simply amazing for the price.

ATI Radeon HD 4850
Sapphire $100
XFX $110
MSI $110
PowerColor $110
HIS $115

The GeForce GTS 250 512MB (aka the 9800 GTX+) typically costs more (though the Galaxy card can be had for the price of a 4770), and is definitely not as good a deal. The 1GB card does have its advantages, but it's price is also much higher.

Sub $145 Cards

While it seems to be declining in availability, the Radeon 4870 512MB drops in at between $125 and $150. At the low end, this is a great deal that competes incredibly well with the previous segment, but the availability of of these parts make it a deal not long for this earth. Certainly, at the low end, it is a much better deal than the GeForce GTS 250 1GB that falls in this range as well (though solidly at $140 with one card hitting $125 only after MIR). Even at the same price, the 4870 512MB is absolutely the way to go. As we've typically recommended, though, if you can spend the extra money, the 1GB option provides more well-rounded performance.

ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
PowerColor $125
Sapphire $150

Sub $180 Cards

The Radeon HD 4870 1GB and the GeForce GTX 260 core 216 are the first set of cards we come to that were and have been direct competitors in terms of price and performance throughout their life cycles. Since the introduction of the core 216, driver development differences and aggressive pricing, this battle has been a matter of preference for quite a while now. It seems both AMD and NVIDIA are content to keep it that way. The Radeon HD 4870 1GB can have a bit of a price edge, but some of those NVIDIA cards might also have a bit of an overclock that balances it.

ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
XFX $150
PowerColor $155
HIS $160
MSI $165
Sapphire $170

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 core 216
MSI $165
Sparkle $170
Zotac $175
PNY $180
BFG $180

Sub $250 Cards

The Radeon HD 4890 and the GeForce GTX 275 are both relatively new parts. The 4890 seems to have fallen in price across the board more rapidly than the GTX 275 and can generally be had for a better price (though there is one GTX 275 model that can be had for the same price as the 4890). If we look at mail in rebate, then the 4890 can have up to a $20 advantage and at $180 is a great deal and definitely worth it if you can afford that extra bit of cash beyond the previous segment (sounds like a trend doesn't it). At these prices, the 4890 is the way to go, especially if you don't have a 2560x1600 monitor. 

ATI Radeon HD 4890
PowerColor $200
XFX $200
HIS $200
MSI $200
Sapphire $200

We should add that for those who like single card dual GPU cards, the Sapphire 4850 X2 2GB is definitely interesting. We tend to prefer single GPU cards as they have more predictable performance characteristics, but this is not a bad price for entry into the multiGPU market. Sapphire has been and still is the only manufacturer to offer a 4850 X2 part. 

ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2
Sapphire $220

$300+ Cards

In this arena, AMD has run out of single GPU parts. NVIDIA has one left with the GTX 285, but with the >$100 price premium over the Radeon HD 4890, there are certainly diminishing returns here. While the Radeon HD 4870 X2 also offers an advantage over the GTX 285, there's another rather large price jump, but if you're going to spend the money then you get more for the jump from the GTX 285 to the 4870 X2 than from the 4890 to the GTX 285 as well.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
Sparkle $315
PNY $315
Gigabyte $330
MSI $330
XFX $330

ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
XFX $380
Sapphire $380
PowerColor $430
VisionTek $480

Way out in the stratosphere is the GeForce GTX 295. Solidly at $530, this one is definitively not a great deal. You pay a high premium for having these two GPUs in a single card, and picking up two GTX 275 cards will be both cheaper and faster. And if you really want to do that, two Radeon HD 4890 cards would be our recommendation there for less money.

Final Words

That's the update from field. It's only been a short time since some of these parts debuted and the market is already compressed like it hasn't been in quite a while. For those who can afford it, buying a video card today will get you a lot for your money.

In any case, there are two standouts today: the Radeon HD 4850 and the Radeon HD 4890. These two are really terrific values.



View All Comments

  • joeysfb - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    Yeah!! yeah!! you are speaking right thru it! Your arse!!! hahaha... Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    joeyfsb the in denial rooting rooster red. (see how I gave you an out of order name speculation there ? :)
    " Markham, Ont.-based ATI Technologies Inc., which is a graphics equipment maker, has reported that it lost $23 million in the third-quarter ended March 31, 2000. ATI, which reported revenues of $288.2 million for the same quarter, has been hurt by declining sales. "">

    LOL - even in the year 2000 ati lost money !! hahahahhaa
    jan 23rd 2009 " ATI Drags Down AMD's Fourth Quarter
    Troubled chipmaker AMD has posted losses for the ninth quarter in a row. Weighing heavily on the company is ATI Technologies.."
    " AMD recorded revenue of $6.012 billion and a net loss of $3.379 billion. ATI also went down, and analysts say that the company is worth 30 percent less than the $5.4 billion the CPU manufacturer paid for it back in 2006. "
    Chip manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices posted a wider quarterly loss as a result of the $1.68 billion charge for having purchased the Canadian graphics chips company ati.
    whose arse there joey ready for bubba to treat him ? hahah

  • joeysfb - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    I am glad i could help the Red rooster this round!!! They deserved my every penny.... Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - link

    Well joey, you didn't help them, you robbed 4780/512 card, for $130 was it- copying that other fellas claimed double rebate?(no I really don't believe you if that made you wonder - NO I DON'T BELIEVE YOU! DUH ! ), that probably cost ATI $50 bucks or $75 bucks in losses.
    So joey, yer now part of the problem - part of the billion dollar diving of ati, you're a corporate raider ripoff artist, small time, but you gouged then in the eye.
    Not very nice really for someone who hates nvidia so much and is a red fanboy.
    When I have an attitude like that I SUPPORT the entity I am rooting for against their "evil competition", I buy something at a high price and two of them, making sure they are HELPED.
    See, you blew it. I guess in a very selfish, self-centered fashion you ganked away for yourself, for number one, me me me me me, from the in the red company, while it's on possibly, it's last legs.
    Gee, enjoy it.
    With those kinds of friends who needs enemies ATI ?
  • joeysfb - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    You are delusional with your Anti-ATI hate. I am happy that ATI kick Nvidia butt this round so they would do better the coming one. Nvidia is a very good and capable company once when they are facing fierce competition. Their Riva 128 against 3dfx voodoo 2. Look what turns up from the intense competition a Riva TNT that offer for the first time 32-bit color and combine 2D/3D graphic into one card which 3Dfx is incapable of producing one at that point of time. A Breakthrough.

    What ATI did today is another breakthrough. Redesigning their RV770 chip to give consumer more 3d rendering power at a lower price point. Which benefit me the consumer and force Nvidia to rethink their pricing policy and maybe their future chip design.
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - link

    No joey, we already established that you hate Nvidia, I don't hate ati. Ati cards have more problems and less features, which is really kind of funny. If they cost a few dollars less for performance at resolutions you don't have and don't play and no minimum framerate increase or win in that area, what's the use ? Practically speaking the two brands are within nanometers of eachother in performance, so one should look at the whole package, and nvidia wins that 1000 percent hands down.
    It's useful for you here, to have the nv hate, because you blew up, and emptied out your nvidia chip on your shoulder speil.
    I just like people to be honest, and reviews to be honest and not so biased, or at least someone to point it out. One cannot expect a person to not have a favorite or to like this better than that. It might simply be the color of the cards that makes a difference to a person, just like the color of a car - as many systems for gaming are show pieces.
    So the thing is honesty is ok. If you have a certain bias, say so. I do believe there is deception going on, and I think people in general know it, but want to do so anyway, and generally don't want to openly admit it.
    Look at this article about pressure from AMD for review sites to cave in and give a good review - they might be doing the same to reviewers now concerning ati hardware - and one has to admit the review sites realize if ati goes down from the endless billion dollar losses ( and they might at any time) - there goes competition and "free cards" to review and trips and ad income for review sites - so they have an inherent NEED to keep a failing company alive and going with extra bias.
    I mean for pete sakes, we're in the adult world here. These things go on.
    Nov 7 2007 - I believe they owned ATI then or sohrtly thereafter...">
  • johnsonx - Saturday, June 20, 2009 - link

    A 4770 often beats a 4830, but costs more. A 4770 never beats a 4850 (except in one outlier, which was most likely due to a driver difference), yet still costs more. Whatever is causing 4770's to be in short supply, it certainly isn't bang for buck. When the day comes that 4770's cost $25 less than 4850's (and the 4830's will presumably be gone), that will be the day that the 4770 is worth buying.

    But, you don't sound like someone with whom rational discussion is possible.
  • The0ne - Sunday, June 21, 2009 - link

    No he doesn't at all. He's high on something, I'm sure of it. Whatever the reason ignore him :)

    The 4770 is probably short because of recent reviews about CF-ing two of them and getting amazing performance. That's why they're in demand and that's why prices have risen slightly.
  • SiliconDoc - Monday, June 22, 2009 - link

    " The 4770 is probably short because of recent reviews about CF-ing two of them and getting amazing performance. That's why they're in demand and that's why prices have risen slightly. "
    the review numbers on the 4770's tell us all we need to know.">
    4 reviews, 1 review and 13 reviews, of those FOUR DID NOT BUY tHE CARD.
    the 4770 is still UNAVAILABLE because ATI had a "papery launch" and all kinds of problems, but there ya go.... at this place, noone can seem to tell the truth, or even knows what it is - without MY HELP.
    When there were SIX 4770's listed at the egg - the reviews went up to 2-5 and were SOLD OUT.
    the 4770 is basically NOT AVAILABLE.
  • papapapapapapapababy - Sunday, June 21, 2009 - link

    online reviews XD do you think that the will risk pissing off all the
    sponsors? take a look at this numbers and cry, nubcake">">">

    btw my oc temps ? 32c idle 44c load ( 875/1000)

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