MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC
MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC

Best video card

If you're tricking out a desktop PC and want the most bang for your buck, the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC delivers without going completely off the deep end price-wise. For a very small premium over stock cards, MSI overclocked the Twin Frozr II/OC's core and memory speeds for a 5 to 7 percent performance gain. The card achieves high frame rates in most titles, although gamers with 30-inch monitors might want a high-end card for the smoothest performance. MSI's bundled overclocking software lets you easily push the card even further, according to reviews. Experts say the N560GTX-Ti's custom cooling solution delivers outstanding thermal reduction, though it is slightly noisy.
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MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition/OC
MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition/OC

Best-value video card

Experts say the overclocked MSI R6850 Cyclone Power Edition/OC can't be beat if you want a good low-cost video card that can play virtually every 3D game with very playable -- but not necessarily great -- frame rates. The card is simple to overclock further for even better performance, reviews say. The fans do a great job of keeping things cool, and critics report that they're whisper-quiet even under full load.
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Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate

Budget video card

The Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate is a good choice for users who don't mind passing on some graphical bells and whistles, experts say. The card can achieve 30 frames per second in all but the most demanding titles at 1080p resolution with graphics settings reduced to medium quality. However, gamers with large screens should look at more expensive options because this card doesn't perform well at very high resolutions. The 6670 Ultimate uses a large heatsink rather than a fan and runs without making any noise, which should appeal to system builders designing silent PCs. On the downside, the heatsink turns the normally diminutive 6670 into a two-slot card.
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Sapphire Radeon HD 6570
Sapphire Radeon HD 6570

Basic video card

Reviewers say the Sapphire Radeon HD 6570 is an excellent solution for users who want a discrete graphics card for playing HD video or basic photo editing. It's also a decent choice for low-budget gaming; testers achieve playable 30 frames-per-second rates in even high-end action games by dropping the video quality to 720p and medium graphics settings. However, critics say that serious gamers who demand higher graphics settings and frame rates would do well to spend more on a more capable video card.
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XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition
XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black Edition

High-end video card

More powerful video cards are available at a higher price, but experts say the XFX R7950 Double Dissipation Black is the best all-around choice for gamers looking for a high-end graphics card. The factory overclock lets the card match frame rates set by the next-tier Radeon 7970-based cards, but since this one is based around a 7950 GPU, it uses significantly less power and generates substantially less heat than a Radeon 7950. Experts say the Double D custom cooling system helps to bring temperatures down further. It's possible to overclock the card even more, and XFX backs it with a lifetime warranty. On the downside, the R7950 DDBE is expensive, and you'll need a similarly high-end CPU and other components capable of matching the card's output.
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