Introduction

Welcome back and thanks for joining us for another edition of our video card price guides. If this is your first time here reading any of our price guides, you'll see that we not only pick out hardware we feel you should consider for your next purchase, but we also like to follow the market trends, to give you an outlook as to what we see happening. We like to rotate the four topics we discuss in every edition, covering CPUs, motherboards, video cards and storage media.

Although we only discuss these four topics in our price guides, our RTPE includes all aspects of computer hardware, all the way from LCD monitors to desktop and notebook RAM to sound cards. First, if you missed our last price guide, we took a look at the latest happenings in the motherboard marketplace. Secondly, you'll also notice that the RTPE's speed has picked up significantly and is much more enjoyable to use due to the overhaul we had a few months back. We're still working on getting even better performance in the future and we also do our best to keep it up to date with the latest hardware out in the market.

As always, we like to begin our video card price guides with the ultra high-end solutions and go all the way through the high-end, mid-range and end with the low-end products. Note that when we talk about market segments, we are primarily concerned with price and positioning rather than performance. This is why we generally don't recommend the high-end market right now for video cards, as in many instances you get better price/performance from either a slightly more expensive card or cheaper card. As always, if you can find a better deal than any of the ones mentioned we have listed here, so much the better for you. These articles are only a snapshot in time and we don't track every vendor on the internet.

There are many cards to cover, and we'll do our best to get to them all, but please do feel free to leave us any comments or suggestions in the comment section below or send us an e-mail at the e-mail address above. The feedback we receive is always invaluable and helps improve our guides for the best. Let's get started with the ultra high-end video cards...

Ultra High-End Graphics
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  • bongbong - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    The fastest 7300GT with ddr3 1400 mhtz meory is faster than a 6600GT and a 6800 and its price a bit lower than the geforce 6600GT so go for it.
    Its a mid end car masquearading as low end card.
    Reply
  • bongbong - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    There are lots of reviews on the web of the ddr3 powered 7300GT whose memory clocks at default of 1400 mhtz.
    It beats the 7600 GS whose memory is at 800 mhtz.
    The only 7600 that can beat the 7300 gt with ddr 1400 mhtz memory would be the 7600 GST
    which has the extra t and 1400 mhtz gdd3 memory also.
    It is however expensive in my country where a 25 usdollar difference in price from the 7300 GT (both 256mb versions at gd3 1400mhtz) is substantially felt by filipinos.

    Also the 7300 GT by Inno3d overclocks up to 1600 mhtz mem and 600 core.

    Just ggogle for inno3d 7300 GT ddr3 reviews or look up www.trustedreviews.com
    Im suprised these hi speed 7300 GTs arent widely available in America.

    They are very much worth the hype.
    Reply
  • dstigue - Saturday, July 15, 2006 - link

    You're right about the 7900gt's needing to be moved down to high end but I think the x1800xt's should be too. x1800xt's compete very well with the x1900gt's and at a better price point I might add. Those three cards are in a deathlock as far as price/performance goes. I picked up a x1800xt 512 for $300 with $20 mail in rebate on newegg. And I will tell you I am very happy with my purchase. But I don't think my system is ultra high end either. Reply
  • Ozo - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    Why don't you guys include the Gainward BLISS 7800GS+?

    This thing is basically a 7900GT, and Overclockers UK will ship to the US. I didn't even realize this card existed until I started looking for dual-DVI to drive two big flat panels, and stumbled across references in newsgroups. Very sweet card. It already has an Arctic Cooler.

    Yes, I know $445 (delivered) is a lot, but this will extend the life of my S754 system for yet another year. Switching MB's, memory, I/O cards, re-installing XP, etc. is a major hassle when all I need is a faster graphics card.

    BTW, I love your guides. Very useful - Thank you!!
    Reply
  • jluquette - Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - link

    I'm curious to know what the difference between some of the different models (from the same manufacturer) of X1900 XT are. For example, Sapphire has 3 different X1900 XT models listed at newegg; model numbers:

    100149L $355
    100149 $389
    100149SR $399

    Newegg's comparison chart between the three can be found here:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCompare.asp?S...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCo...25%2CN82...

    These are all X1900 XTs; not AIWs, not GTs, not XTXs and not Crossfires. They're all X1900 XTs with the same core and memory clocks--yet for some reason there's a $50 price span. Sapphire doesn't list anything helpful to differentiating these models--so does anyone know what the differences might be for $50? Is it possibly the software bundle that's different? Or the accessory packs?

    On one hand, the memory and clock speeds are the same--and so is the pipeline count--so I feel confident that these cards should be equivalent in performance. But on the other hand, what could possibly prompt a $50 increase from the low end to the high end?

    Can anyone shed some light on this?

    Joe
    Reply
  • rrcn - Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - link

    From what I can tell: 100149L is the retail version of 100149, which is OEM. 100149SR is the same as 100149L, except 100149SR has a greater software bundle.

    Hope that helps.

    Haider Farhan
    Reply
  • erple2 - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    One other difference I've noticed: the 100149SR comes with 2x DVI to VGA adapters. Whether it's an oversight on the listing of the 100149L, I don't know. Reply
  • jluquette - Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - link

    Thanks!

    It looks like you're right. Looking through the supplied pictures shows that the SR comes with the game select disc among other software goodies. However, I'm confused as to why the OEM version of the card is ~$30 more expensive than the retail version (before rebate)--and nearly $60 more expensive after rebate.

    In general, isn't the retail version of anything supposed to be more expensive than the OEM version? The retail version is supposedly the same as the OEM version, just boxed up and fancy, right?

    Joe
    Reply
  • rrcn - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    quote:

    However, I'm confused as to why the OEM version of the card is ~$30 more expensive than the retail version (before rebate)--and nearly $60 more expensive after rebate. In general, isn't the retail version of anything supposed to be more expensive than the OEM version?

    Correct. I was pondering the same thing, why that OEM card is more expensive than the retail version. It could definitely be a pricing mistake, I'm positive it's happened before. I wouldn't stress over it...obviously go with the retail version. ;-)

    quote:

    The retail version is supposedly the same as the OEM version, just boxed up and fancy, right?

    Correct again. ;-) Sometimes though, the OEM will be just the card -- no power adapter, dongles, etc. Always read the "what's included" portion before buying.

    Haider Farhan
    Reply
  • unclebud - Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - link

    "However, with performance generally lower than the 6600 GT, the X1600 offerings really aren't very attractive."

    to somebody biased towards nvidia perhaps :/
    i have a friend playing wow on nvidia 6600. don't see a bit of difference, except that his dvd drive stopped working

    "Rather than going with an X1600 or the X700, we feel you'll get more for your money if you spend the few extra dollars and select the 7600 GT as your choice."

    how is paying twice the price a "few dollars more"? in what universe?

    "This is a truly buggy situation. Windows does not pick it up as a Sapphire using drivers provided by Sapphire,"

    this is like what i experienced with the 3dfuzion (3dfuzjunk imo) 6200 pci that i bought. i will just have to reflash the bios and reload windows, because the pci bus is tarfed now and the second monitor ouput on the 5500 pci i swapped back doesn't work now either
    i agree sapphire drivers are junk! some of the discs they ship with their cards are completely out of date. sorry, i know this doesn't help, but rest assured i feel the same pain... good luck. maybe try driver cleaner (althought that hasn't helped me either)
    Reply

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