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Best NVIDIA and ATI Graphic Cards for the Holidays

Written on December 19, 2010 by Kristoff Jones

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Find out the best bang-for-the-buck graphic cards out in the market today to optimize your gaming experience!

It’s almost a wrap here in the industry as 2010 draws to a close. Most, if not all, of the anticipated games are out on the market, and if you’ve already brought your kids, your friends, or yourself World of Warcraft: Cataclysm or Call of Duty: Black Ops even before Santa arrived, then you’re probably wondering what you’ll get for that special someone who loves the of gaming. Well, how about the gift of graphics? ATI and NVIDIA’s got you covered.

are a PC gamer’s prized stallion inside that chunk of metal we call a computer. Now you might want to play Black Ops on a higher resolution, but can’t because framerates would suffer if we tried to fix the settings. Wouldn’t be the be the perfect time to upgrade the graphic card? Nothing puts a smile on a gamer’s face than a small piece of silicons and plastic fans that can make World of Warcraft’s Deathwing look more terrifying.

Now sure, the best graphic cards out there are usually the ones that are recently released or the one with the highest number attached to the brand like the recently released NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX580 and HD 6870. Well in all honesty they are currently the industry’s best, but you know how NVIDIA and ATI always dish it out on eachother. I bet next month there’ll be a “better” version of the GTX and the Radeon HD, which is really wtf. So what we’re after is a graphic card that’ll satisfy our graphics and fps hunger without shelling out too much cash.

Lucky for us, several popular PC games out there don’t rely much on the latest graphic cards even at optimum settings as their system requirements are quite forgiving. Heck, even the old NVIDIA 9 series can make some of them run at full settings! But what we want also is a graphic card that can stand against the test of time (say a year or two).

That’s where this article comes in. A ‘Happy Holidays’ to you as we deliver the 10 best, bang for the buck, graphic cards out on the market today ranging from the top of the line for the hardcore, detail savvy player, to the exceptionally acceptable for the casual gamer.


1. ATI Radeon HD 5970 ($500-$600 at Amazon.com) – Sure we can choose HD 6870 over this one, but most of 6870’s features aren’t even needed in some games today and maybe in the coming months. The HD 5970 can be a expensive for an average user, but for the hardcore gamers, it’s an investment. It’s the flagship card of ATI’s 5000 series wielding its amazing dual core that outperforms the rest, even NVIDIA’s GTX500 series. This is a card that might stand its ground as one of the best, if not the best, in mid-2011. If you have the splurge to buy the best, then 5970 heeds your call.


2. ATI Radeon HD 5870 ($299.99 at Amazon.com)- The HD 5870 is the best option if you’re going for a bang-for-the buck buy on the best fps performance in the market today. It beats NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX480 primarily because it costs way less. If you’re playing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, this graphic card is an overkill. While it provides stellar performance for the Call of Duty, Battlefield Bad Company and Starcraft II.

3. GTX 570 ($350 – $380 at Amazon.com)- NVIDIA’s softer but just as tough version of GTX580 is primarily for true NVIDIA graphic card loyalists. Its performace gives great fps but not as great at ATI Radeon HD 5870. But it still deserves a spot up here.

4. ATI Radeon HD 5850 ($200 – $250 at Amazon.com)- HD 5870’s predecessor is almost just as lean and mean as its younger brother, except it’s cheaper. Most of the games run at optimum levels with this mid-range card that allows players to experience the fun without sacrificing the cash.

5. NVIDIA GeForce GTX480 ($300 at Amazon.com)- Don’t let the number in the name fool you. GTX480 is a graphic card that almost delivers the same quality as of the GTX570. This graphic card delivers amazing performance that is inches away from ATI Radeon’s HD 5870 in terms of fps performance and details. It is the fastest single- in the market, that’s something.


6. NVIDIA GeForce GTX470 ($250-$260 at Amazon.com)- If that extra $40 scares you, then going for this alternative over the GTX480 isn’t a shabby choice as it delivers quality fps and graphic details on almost the same level at the GTX480 at maximum settings. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Call of Duty: Black Ops will still be eye-popping, but not the same intensity as the above mentioned graphic cards.


7. AMD Radeon HD 5770 ($136-$160 at Amazon.com)- Now normally, when something is cheap, the quality isn’t that impressive. But HD 5770 is an exception as this bad boy still delivers stunning graphics and nice fps performance, however I wouldn’t recommend running this with special graphic elements like Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic settings. But for a $136-$160 price, this graphic card is one heck of a buy!


8. Nvidia GTX 275 ($145-$160 at Amazon.com)- As a video card that runs using DirectX10, GTX 275 certainly meets the expectation as a good low to mid-range video card that can hold up with the latest games today even under max settings and a 1920×1200 resolution. Although its performance is average compared to the cards mentioned above, I’d say this graphic card is still a good gift to those who aren’t tech-savvy and plays games for leisure, and not as a second job.


9. AMD Radeon HD 5750 ($110-$140 at Amazon.com)- This is where we go a little down in terms of quality. Don’t get me wrong, 5750 is a great graphic card that gives amazing quality for its price. If you or the person you’re giving it to is more of a casual gamer, then this would give a smile up on your on their faces for a good run.

10. Nvidia GeForce 9800GT ($90-$120 at Amazon.com)- OKAY. If you’re somebody who wants a decent upgrade from your age old cards or giving a present to a friend you’re feeling sorry because he/she is using the GeForce 8000+ series or ATI 4000+ series, then this card is good enough for a great upgrade. 9800GT still provides a great performance for a low-range to mid-range graphic card and is sufficient to play World of Warcraft at optimum levels, and Black Ops at exceptionally acceptable levels.

So there you have it. Getting a new graphic card really depends on how much you hunger for graphics and the size of your bank account. I could’ve easily mentioned the ATI 6000 series, but if you want graphic cards that are still up to today’s standards without shelling out ridiculous amounts of cash, then there they are.

Enjoy the holidays and keep on playing!


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