Best single card for around $250

Sulaco

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2003
3,821
6
81
Hey guys,

I'm building a new system soon, and am still very much undecided when it comes to the GPU. My budget for it is around $250-$300.

I don't do much high-res gaming, but obviously would like the card to last for as long as possible, and if that means spending an extra few bucks, so be it (to a point, of course;))

Anyway, I'm currently looking at the:

Radeon 4870 512Mb for $ $249

GeForce GTX 260 SC edition 896Mb for $259

...and really anything else in the price range.

Any input is greatly appreciated!

 

dguy6789

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2002
8,558
3
76
Can't go wrong with either the 4870 or the GTX260. I'd choose the 4870 personally(and did) because of the drivers. 896MB of memory would probably make the GTX260 perform better on future games though.
 

RockinZ28

Platinum Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,173
49
101
I've been thinking about going for the 4870 512mb. Seems like a good card after looking at reviews now that the price is decent, and the 1GB was surprisingly not worth it imo from the reviews I saw, at least not for the extra 50-70 bucks. Even at high res it was almost identical to the 512mb with aa/af as well. Gained some ground at 25x16, but probably wouldn't be concerned with a single 4870 if you're gaming on a monitor capable of that. I'm looking at 2048x1536 on the 22" 2070SB from Mitsu, still showing the CRT some love like me eh?

Are you in the US? I've seen deals on places like slickdeals.net for under $200 after rebate, or use Ebay live cashback at 25% now, can still get them under $200. GTX 260 core 216 a little over $200, regular should be under. Or go for the 280gtx for $300 after cashback if you can afford to wait a bit for the money to get back to you.
 

Sulaco

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2003
3,821
6
81
The only things keeping me from the 4870 are heat and power consumption. I've heard (though I haven't had this validated) that the 4870 is bigger, runs hotter, and requires more power than the 260.
If that is true, and the performance is really a toss-up between them, I'd be leaning towards the 260 again.

I don't know anything about driver issues though. Maybe I should look into that. The last Nvidia card I owned was a GeForce 6800 Ultra nearly 4 years ago.
 

dguy6789

Diamond Member
Dec 9, 2002
8,558
3
76
4870 running hot is because by default the fan speed is set to be extremely low.(AMD decided that users would prefer a card that is quiet that still runs within heat spec to a card that runs colder and louder). The cooler is very good actually if you increase the fan speed.(By default it like never goes above 27%) In the latest drivers, you have a fan speed slider that you can mess with. You can very easily make your 4870 run really cold at the expense of being increasingly audible. Just find a setting that you like, although default works perfectly fine and the card is nice and quiet. The card does run "hot" at those settings, but it is well below what the card is designed to run under.

As far as your concerns for power goes, I am running the rig in the sig with a pretty mid range power supply just fine. The power requirements of computers is grossly exaggerated these days. Read this article and be enlightened.

http://www.anandtech.com/casec...us/showdoc.aspx?i=3413

 

betasub

Platinum Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,677
0
0
I've heard ... that the 4870 is bigger... than the 260.
Can anyone confirm/deny this? AFAIK the 260 is the same size as the 280 and 9800GX2. I don't see the 4870 being that size, although the 4870X2 might come close.
 

exar333

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2004
8,518
8
91
Get the GTX 260 or a 4870 1GB.

I wouldn't recommend spending $250 on only 512MB memory when you can get double that for around the same price or maybe $25 more.
 

Keysplayr

Elite Member
Jan 16, 2003
21,209
50
91
Originally posted by: betasub
I've heard ... that the 4870 is bigger... than the 260.
Can anyone confirm/deny this? AFAIK the 260 is the same size as the 280 and 9800GX2. I don't see the 4870 being that size, although the 4870X2 might come close.
260 is longer. 10.5" PCB. 4870 is shorter.
 

LW07

Golden Member
Feb 16, 2006
1,537
2
81
I'd say get the GTX 260. I got one to upgrade from my X1900XT(because it died on me) and I love my GTX 260. Performs tons better. Of course, i only got a 19 inch monitor (1440x900) but i'd still say get the GTX 260.
 

cecco

Senior member
Jan 27, 2005
265
0
0
Not to hijack the thread, but since we're talking $250, i have a friend who is willing to part with his 280GTX 1GB for that amount. I haven't been keeping up with graphic cards lately, but would this be a good deal to replace a 8800GTS 320MB? I'm not really pressed for a new card at the moment, but i would hate to pass up on a good deal.
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
11,655
1,751
126
Originally posted by: cecco
Not to hijack the thread, but since we're talking $250, i have a friend who is willing to part with his 280GTX 1GB for that amount. I haven't been keeping up with graphic cards lately, but would this be a good deal to replace a 8800GTS 320MB? I'm not really pressed for a new card at the moment, but i would hate to pass up on a good deal.
For $250 heck yeah go for it. And if it's your friend he wouldn't be screwing you with a dud card would he? Why is he getting rid of it anyway?
 

cecco

Senior member
Jan 27, 2005
265
0
0
He has a 9800GT that suits his needs just fine at the moment. He told me if i didn't like it i could send it back to him. It's really tempting, thanks for the advice.
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
11,655
1,751
126
Originally posted by: cecco
He has a 9800GT that suits his needs just fine at the moment. He told me if i didn't like it i could send it back to him. It's really tempting, thanks for the advice.
Damn I wish I had friends like that. :p
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
11,655
1,751
126
Originally posted by: Ocguy31
Sometimes you can find the 9800GX2 on sale as well.
GTX 260 or 4870 would be better though...no worries about scaling and pretty good performance. I can't remember which review it was but it was pretty recent and it showed the GX2 losing badly sometimes due to poor scaling.
 

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