After much fretting over prices, we can now wrap up our 3D card coverage, at least for now, as we post reviews of the Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 and the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked. We call this a three-way because we've also included updated scores for the GeForce GTX 280 from back in June 2008, which now competes in this price range.
Prices became a concern for us in this roundup, as our target was initially $300 and less. The GTX 260 fits the bill, but the 2GB Radeon HD 4850 X2 we received from AMD didn't at first, hovering around $340. We thought about aiming lower, but the distance between $250 and the $150ish cards we reviewed last week didn't feel wide enough.
We asked for the 1GB version of the 4850 X2, but by the time we received it it seemed to have disappeared from retail availability. Fortuitously, as the 1GB version disappeared, the price on the 2GB model also came down to $299 at Amazon, and for a day at NewEgg, where it's currently about $319.
For Nvidia's part, the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 started at $299 when we first acquired the product, and then dropped to about $260 by the time we finished, about a month and a half later (holidays, CES, etc.). We also saw that the GeForce GTX 280 started to hover around $320 or so. Thus, our spread here of $260 to $320, between three different cards.
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