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Nvidia's mid-range - some popular, some not?


Diamond Member
Oct 21, 2006
One thing that has always sort of bugged me is Nvidia's mid range. It's not that the cards have done anything wrong to me, it's the fact that some generations get a lot of praise while others are laughed at. I don't really care personally, but I'm wondering why.

For example, when I bought my 6800 GT, there was a number of people telling me that a 6600 GT was quite a bit cheaper and still very capable... plus SLI! I still got the 6800 GT, but the 6600 GT was a pretty well-regarded card for its time.

For the next two generations, the 7600 GT and 8600 GT / GTS didn't seem to get much praise. Part of this was probably due to the cheaper options higher up in the line (7900 GS, for example). However, did this cards really perform that much worse than their top-end counterparts when compared to the 6 series? I remember a lot of people complaining that their 7600 GT and even 8600 GT wouldn't play half the games they wanted at the resolution / settings they had hoped for.

Finally, when the 9600 GT / GSO came out, a number of people jumped back on the mid-range bandwagon. These days a 9800 GT isn't much more expensive, but given the power requirements and discounted price, the mid-range cards seem (or seemed) like a great deal. Why the sudden change of heart again?

I haven't kept up with the 200 series mid-range, but I haven't heard much hype about it either (unless the GTX 260 is supposed to be mid-range...).

Just curious.


Platinum Member
Sep 7, 2002
ATI and NV both seem to have generations where the "enthusiast midrange" parts are simply the high end chopped exactly in half. The 1600XT and 8600 were such cards. They didn't offer significant performance improvements over the previous generation midrange, nor perform well enough in games of the day to justify their existence as mainstream gaming cards. Lesson learned, next generation upper midrange parts are only shaved 15-30%, everyone is happy and the cycle repeats a generation or so later.

That's why not everyone is enthused about the 5770, the 5870 chopped in half. The card shows early indications of not being powerful enough for DX11 at mainstream monitor resolutions (1080p, 1600x1200) which is why many are stepping up to the 5850 or waiting for the 5830 instead.

The GTS260 was a very solid midrange card, but very expensive compared to the nearly equivalent 4870. The 4890 put it to shame at the same price point. GTS250 is not a bad card, but is a feature light resticker of the original 8800GTS/9800GTX. And you can only do so much with a 2 year old card.


Diamond Member
Nov 11, 2008
The GTX 260 is considered upper mid-range and is very well regarded. Slowly losing its luster with the HD 5000 series releases, but its still a good card for the money.