Choose your style: dark light

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: November 2011

In this month's update, we discuss several price adjustments that impact our recommendations. We also look into the crystal ball and suggest that there may not be another graphics launch in 2011 as a result of several different factors.

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great—that is, if you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, what a gamer needs is the best graphics card within a certain budget.

So, if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right card, then fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming cards offered for the money.

November Updates:

The news this month centers on price adjustments. While none of the changes are game-changing, they do alter our recommendations to some degree. For example, the average price on AMD Radeon HD 6790, 6850, and 6870 graphics cards is up about ten dollars per board. This enables a tie between the Radeon HD 6870 and the GeForce GTX 560. The Radeon HD 5570 also went up a few bucks, and is now priced too close to the superior Radeon HD 5670 to keep its recommendation. On the other hand, the Radeon HD 6950 2 GB is a few dollars cheaper. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560 Ti is down a bit as well, and now shares a recommendation with the Radeon HD 6950 1 GB.

On a side note, for buyers interested in a great deal on a budget gaming card, we noticed that PNY's GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 is on sale for $40 at Newegg with free shipping. This card isn't quite as powerful as the $70 Radeon HD 5670. At $40, it's a steal, though.

It also looks like AMD's Radeon HD 5750/5770 cards are being phased out in favor of the Radeon HD 6750/6770. Since the 6700 series is essentially equivalent to the 5700 series with added Blu-ray 3D support and comparable pricing, the 5700 series won't be missed. Just don't mistake the 6700 cards for upgrades.

As for other news on the video card front, unfortunately, we don't have our finders crossed for new graphics architectures in the last couple months of the year. There are a few reasons for this, but three stand out most prominently. First, the current generation of cards is more than capable of handling today's most demanding games (especially with companies like id delivering low-spec console ports like Rage). It's a good thing developers like Dice can still demonstrate the PC's place in gaming with titles like Battlefield 3 (see Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards, Benchmarked if you missed it two weeks ago). Second, with no major update to DirectX being discussed, there's no new API to drive interest in new graphics hardware. Third, next-gen products like AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series and Nvidia's Kepler are still subject to manufacturing kinks in TSMC's 28 nm node, and it looks like it will take some time to get the bugs out of that process. At this point we wouldn't be surprised to see some new products manufactured using 40 nm lithography, and we've heard rumors to support that. There's nothing concrete to report yet, though, and, for the first time in a long time, it looks as if we won't have any major announcements to take us through the end of the year.

Some Notes About Our Recommendations

A few simple guidelines to keep in mind when reading this list:

  • This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, then the cards on this list are more expensive than what you really need. We've added a reference page at the end of the column covering integrated graphics processors, which is likely more apropos.
  • The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance. We acknowledge that recommendations for multiple video cards, such as two Radeon cards in CrossFire mode or two GeForce cards in SLI, typically require a motherboard that supports CrossFire or SLI and a chassis with more space to install multiple graphics cards. They also require a beefier power supply compared to what a single card needs, and will almost certainly produce more heat than a single card. Keep these factors in mind when making your purchasing decision. In most cases, if we have recommended a multiple-card solution, we try to recommend a single-card honorable mention at a comparable price point for those who find multi-card setups undesirable.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t base our decisions on always-changing pricing information, but we can list some good cards that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest, along with real-time prices from our PriceGrabber engine, for your reference.
  • The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary.
  • These are new card prices. No used or open-box cards are in the list; they might represent a good deal, but it’s outside the scope of what we’re trying to do.

We wonder what it was that interested you about this article? Could it be that it mentions the Company TSMC? Hopefully you'll find something of interest below...
Categories:

We found 4 types of Company this blog hopefully mentions

Here are 1 books about the Company AMD

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject AMD

  1. Price: £ 17.31 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781145738805

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

Here are 1 books about the Company Tom’s Hardware

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject Tom’s Hardware

  1. Price: £ 13.77 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781597491136

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Personal Computers

We couldn't find any books for the subjects: Nvidia, TSMC

We found 1 type of Currency this blog hopefully mentions

Here are 20 books about the Currency USD

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject USD

  1. Price: £ 14.47 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780699112819

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Society & Culture: General

  2. Price: £ 19.52 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780699114189

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Modern History To 20th Century: C 1700 To C 1900

  3. Price: £ 14.44 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780699129251

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Linguistics

  4. Price: £ 19.55 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780699134200

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Society & Culture: General

  5. Price: £ 22.49 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781170862704

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Religion

  6. Price: £ 18.51 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781170862797

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Religion

  7. Price: £ 31.51 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781170862964

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Religion

  8. Price: £ 13.87 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781170862858

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Religion

  9. Price: £ 8.99 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781240783304

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Religion: General

  10. Price: £ 9.66 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781240777945

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Religion: General

  11. Price: £ 14.98 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781240832743

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Legal History

  12. Price: £ 19.55 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781171208549

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Society & Culture: General

  13. Price: £ 14.53 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781171184171

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Society & Culture: General

  14. Price: £ 19.62 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781171194033

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Modern History To 20th Century: C 1700 To C 1900

  15. Price: £ 14.50 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781171203094

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Linguistics

  16. Price: £ 10.79 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781171343004

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Religion: General

  17. Price: £ 14.62 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781240948857

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Medicine

  18. Price: £ 19.62 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781149093702

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

  19. Price: £ 13.81 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781140675341

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Medicine

  20. Price: £ 14.88 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781140745310

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Religion

We found 2 types of IndustryTerm this blog hopefully mentions

Here are 9 books about the IndustryTerm graphics hardware

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject graphics hardware

  1. Price: £ 9.88 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781599421667

    Format : EBook

    By (author):

    Tag: Computing: General

  2. Price: £ 89.28 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9783540534884

    Format : Hardback

    Volume editor:

    Tag: Electronics Engineering

  3. Price: £ 71.10 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9783540182221

    Format : Hardback

    Edited by:

    Tag: Electronics Engineering

  4. Price: £ 28.99 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781568813547

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Graphical & Digital Media Applications

  5. Price: £ 13.95 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781581121667

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Graphical & Digital Media Applications

  6. Price: £ 55.86 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781568812403

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Computer Programming / Software Development

  7. Price: £ 118.48 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780849316784

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Reference Works

  8. Price: £ 81.61 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9783540567875

    Format : Hardback

    Edited by:

    Tag: Graphical & Digital Media Applications

  9. Price: £ 32.60 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9783836490733

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Computer Hardware

We couldn't find any books for the subject: manufacturing kinks

We found 2 types of Product this blog hopefully mentions

Here are 20 books about the Product Kepler

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject Kepler

  1. Price: £ 7.85 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780007359103

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Adventure

  2. Price: £ 10.71 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780007359110

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Crime

  3. Price: £ 5.54 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780330372336

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Historical Fiction

  4. Price: £ 5.60 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780915134113

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Astronomy, Space & Time

  5. Price: £ 17.31 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780226482354

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Neurology & Clinical Neurophysiology

  6. Price: £ 6.67 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780679743705

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Contemporary Fiction

  7. Price: £ 19.47 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780374173951

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Crime

  8. Price: £ 10.46 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780806530963

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Biography: Historical, Political & Military

  9. Price: £ 10.66 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780486676050

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Astronomy, Space & Time

  10. Price: £ 38.22 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780883188637

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: History Of Science

  11. Price: £ 17.33 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781602064416

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

  12. Price: £ 10.56 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781432585860

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

  13. Price: £ 7.74 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781425366766

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Miscellaneous Items

  14. Price: £ 11.02 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781141757152

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

  15. Price: £ 14.81 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781145960374

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Biography: General

  16. Price: £ 13.23 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781146073950

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Science: General Issues

  17. Price: £ 10.75 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781146962223

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Science: General Issues

  18. Price: £ 10.15 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781147934670

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

  19. Price: £ 17.51 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781161885989

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Anthologies (non-poetry)

  20. Price: £ 16.89 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781161550955

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Programming & Scripting Languages: General

We couldn't find any books for the subject: Radeon HD 7000

We found 2 types of Technology this blog hopefully mentions

Here are 4 books about the Technology API

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject API

  1. Price: £ 26.29 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780123850034

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Computer Programming / Software Development

  2. Price: £ 46.61 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781430209737

    Format : Hardback

    By (author):

    Tag: Web Programming

  3. Price: £ 32.68 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9781558608351

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Films, Cinema

  4. Price: £ 14.03 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780123750761

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Internet Guides & Online Services

Here are 5 books about the Technology lithography

We also have some recommendations for the broader subject lithography

  1. Price: £ 123.27 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780306478581

    Format : Hardback

    Edited by:

    Tag: Physics

  2. Price: £ 151.94 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780819453693

    Format : Paperback

    By (author):

    Tag: Reference Works

  3. Price: £ 110.00 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780819476579

    Format : Hardback

    Tag: Industrial Chemistry & Manufacturing Technologies

  4. Price: £ 120.00 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780819472441

    Format : CD-ROM

    Tag: Industrial Chemistry & Manufacturing Technologies

  5. Price: £ 120.00 [Buy]

    Isbn: 9780819467461

    Format : CD-ROM

    Tag: Industrial Chemistry & Manufacturing Technologies