Fortunately for cash-strapped gamers, intense competition between AMD and Nvidia ensures that the sub-$150 market is well stocked. Along with wallet-friendly HD 6000 and GTX 500 products, many older mainstream cards have been demoted to the budget bracket.
We'll compare the most relevant contenders in the budget GPU market in this review, with a total of thirteen graphics card models tested.
Looking at the market today, the Radeon HD 6850 remains one of the best options available to gamers shopping for a sub-$200 GPU, while the Radeon HD 6870 still commands the sub-$250 bracket with its only real competition coming from the GeForce GTX 560 Ti.
It's not very often that we see mainstream-level GPUs settle down for long, thus we were pleased to hear that HIS was updating its mid-range offerings with the factory-overclocked 6870 IceQ X Turbo X and HIS Radeon HD 6850 IceQ X Turbo.
- While AMD and Nvidia settle the score at the super expensive dual-GPU enthusiast level, we actually want to have a look at what's been happening elsewhere in the graphics market. As mainstream cards get more and more powerful, even a $100 product is capable of far more than you may give it credit for. We've compiled a table with some of what we consider the best options at several price points between $70 and $200.
With AMD's Radeon HD 6990 stealing the performance crown only two short weeks ago, we knew it wouldn't be long before Nvidia answered the challenge. Today marks the GeForce GTX 590 official launch and needless to say, we're excited to see how it stacks up to AMD's dual-GPU offering.
We can already assume the GTX 590 isn't going to be as fast as two GTX 580s in SLI. However, two GTX 580s would cost at least $1,000, and since the GTX 590 needs to remain competitive with the Radeon HD 6990 in terms of pricing, we bet Nvidia doesn't want the GTX 590 to be as quick as SLIed GTX 580s anyway.
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