Everyone loves a good bargain. Going through my two favourite online shops – Take2 and Prophecy – brings up quite a few good deals, especially when it comes to graphics cards.
Starting on the small side, with the cheapest “real gamer” card: Prophecy has the Force3D HD4670 512MB for R740.77. That is awesome value for money on a budget. Next up we have the Force3D HD3870 512MB. It’s definitely worth it for the extra cash you spend over the 4670, and you get 9600GT class performance at a great price. Moving up about R400, we get possibly the biggest bang for buck card you’ll ever see. The Force3d 4850 512MB is R 1338.08, just a few months ago this card was over R2000. Yes, stock is only expected at the end of the month, but at this price it’s bound to be sold out. Next up and about R500 more, we get the Force3D HD4870 256bit GDDR5 512MB. Just three months ago this card was over R3000, it was a good deal back then, and a great deal now. With the direction that games are moving in, even if you have a 1680*1050 monitor, I’d recommend the Force3D HD4870 256bit GDDR5 1GB for R2496.60. If you like to play with a lot of AA and AF, it’s definitely the better choice.
As most people would’ve noticed by now, I’ve listed only ATI cards. There’s a reason for this. With DX11 around the corner and with some features being backwards compatible it makes sense choosing a DX10.1 card over a plain DX10 card. DX10.1 is not just a marketing gimmick any more. There is a handful of games out now that support the API. H.A.W.X., for one, sees a 10-15% increase in FPS over DX10 when using DX10.1.
For some reason, many people still see Nvidia as having the upper hand when it comes to drivers. ATI started releasing WHQL certified drivers every month quite a few years back, and hot fixes also do get released as needed. The only area where Nvidia actually pulls ahead is when it comes to Linux support.
If you already have a 9600GT and don’t have the cash for a 4870, you could consider the Zotac Nvidia GeForce 9600GT – 512MB for R1022 if your power supply is up to the task.
Monitors are another area where price drops have come through nicely, recently. If you don’t mind too much about vert- games, the Samsung 2494HS for R2551 and Samsung 2333SW R2208.02 are great buys. With both monitors supporting the full HD resolution of 1920*1080 and the 2494HS sporting a HDMI input, they are perfect for watching DVDs and HD movies on your PC. Actually, if you get the 2494HS you might be able to chuck out your old TV, as the unit has built in speakers.
It’s really not hard to find a good deal if you know where to look.