Graphics cards

The market price of graphics cards (especially those using chips from Nvidia and ATI) is very much dependant on the performance they offer. As a general rule, one $300 graphics card is going to perform roughly the same as another $300 graphics card. This is generally true across model types and across brands. The ATI and Nvidia lines mirror each other quite closely on a price/performance scale - one of the consequences of their duopoly on graphics chips.

An exception to this rule are the now rare Matrox graphics cards, which tend to provide an host of extra features at a slightly higher cost (the Matrox Parhelia can drive up to 3 monitors on its own.)

At the present time, there are broadly three price categories of graphics cards:

  • The lowest-cost cards (sub $150): Some can even be purchased for less than $70. These cards are not going to perform at all well on recent 3D games such as Doom3 and Half Life 2. However, they will be perfectly fine for most non-gaming applications, such as Web surfing and office applications.
  • Mid-range cards ($200-$400): For around $300 you can get a card that performs pretty well in most games, allowing you to switch on most, if not all, of the graphics features (shadows, anti-aliasing and the like) in most 3D games and still get a playable frame rate.
  • The elite cards (over $600): These are premium cards, for those who simply must have the best of everything, no matter what the cost. Much like CPUs, the performance of cards does not scale linearly with price (a $600 card will not be twice as fast as a $300 one, for instance). These cards exist for people who take their 3D games very seriously.
  • Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

    Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?