Video Cards – Better and Best

August 5, 2009

It has been over a year since I last looked at video cards. Just like computers in general, video cards are constantly getting faster. The theory has typically gone that much of the power of the high-end video cards was wasted unless you were a heavy duty gamer.

Things are starting to change as software is being written to take advantage of the unused power on a video card. So while you may not be excited about getting a great card today, it is something you should consider if you want to upgrade your machine.

I still stand by what I said before about the two major players. ATI makes good cards, but I’ve never trusted their drivers. For that reason I’m still sticking with nVidia cards in my machines and any machine I recommend to customers. I’ll list two levels of cards, better and best. If you are in the market for a bargain, you won’t be able to take advantage of the card in the same way as the higher-end cards.

A very good card can be had for under $250. Look for cards based on the nVidia GeForce GTX 275 such as the EVGA GTX 275 which is under $230 after rebates.

On the high end, cards based on the nVidia GeForce GTX 295 are the best. In particular, take a look at the BFG nVidia GeForce GTX 195 card. It costs nearly $500, but the card contains two separate chips and 1.7 GB of on-board memory. Basically it is two of the GTX 275 cards on a single card. Also keep in mind that such a heavy-duty card will need a power supply with enough juice.

You can’t go wrong with either of these cards. Both pack a lot of graphics power. One just has nearly twice as much as the other. If you can put that power to use, it is worth the extra cost.

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