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Video Card Deals: Best performance for your dollar

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As we've seen in the past, buying a new video card can be a confusing experience if you're new to the graphics card scene. To help you purchase a card that won't drain your savings, we've combined our best deals with the latest video card benchmarks from the popular tech site, Anandtech. The result: A must-see buying guide for anyone in the market for a new video card.

To achieve the benchmarks below, Anandtech tested these cards with Electronic Arts' Crysis. First-person shooters, such as Crysis, are great ways of testing GPUs because they tax the video card in multiple ways. The results:

 
Crysis Benchmark Score
@1680x1050 ¹
As low as ²
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2
48.8 fps
$276 (at PriceGrabber)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280
40.7 fps
$385
ATI Radeon HD 4870
35.6 fps
$265
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
33.3 fps
$275 (at PriceGrabber)
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
31.6 fps
$200 (at PriceGrabber)
ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2
30.5 fps
$240 (at PriceGrabber)
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX
30.2 fps
$170 after rebate
ATI Radeon HD 4850
29.8 fps
$158 after rebate
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
26.9 fps
$508 (at PriceGrabber)
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
25.9 fps
$120 (at PriceGrabber)

¹ Each benchmark score is measured in frames per second (fps). The faster the frame rates, the more fluid the action sequences will appear. 30 fps is considered the magic number for gamers.
² Prices are the lowest total price we've listed on dealnews, unless otherwise noted. Shipping is not included.

From our price results, the dual-GPU NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 offers the most bang for your buck, dusting the competition with 48.8 fps and coming in at $109 under the second place GTX 280. Keep in mind, however, that the GTX 280 is a single GPU card, not to mention one of NVIDIA's next generation cards, which will inevitably replace the architecture found in the 9800 GX2.

Therefore, if you're looking for the best deal in "next generation cards," the Radeon HD 4870 offers more than enough frame rates and comes in at $120 less than the GTX 280. Gamers be warned, however, ATI has just released the Radeon HD 4870 X2, which carries two GPUs instead of one. (There are still very few deals on this card.) Nevertheless, if you want a video card with lots of muscle, but don't have too big a budget, the 9800 GX2 is your current best bet.

Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features Editor.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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