Sunday, July 8, 2012

If your frame rate needs are a lot more modest (or your budget is under $200), the two cards Amd announced in february are worth considering, as well. 

The Radeon Hd 7770 Ghz edition is our pick here for serious gamers. 

At $159, it's notably pricier than the $109 Radeon Hd 7750. 

But the HD 7770 offers much more gaming muscle, making it a good choice for those who game at resolutions of 1,680x1,050 or lower, and who don’t want to dial back many in-game settings. 

Gamers who intend to play at 1080p (true high-def) resolutions on a single monitor and who are willing to switch off some in game eye candy to get smooth frame rates at a fair price will find a lot to like in the HD 7770 card, as well.

Amd, though, calls the “sweet spot” of 2.012 gaming performance its cards that lie between the ultra enthusiast 7900 series (priced above $400) and the under-$200 7700-series mainstream cards. 

And here, we have to give Amd the nod. 

We think the company's right on that score, with its pair of 7800-series cards announced the first week of March 2.012. 

The Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, at $349, easily bests Nvidia’s comparably priced Geforce GTX 500-series offerings, and in some cases it bests the $500 Geforce GTX 580. 

That's impressive. 

At $249, though, the somewhat lesser Radeon Hd 7850 is our favorite pick of all of Amd’s current release wave. 

It has the same features as the other 7000 series cards; it only requires a single six-pin power connector; and it sips much less power than comparably performing Nvidia cards. 

Oh, and did we mention that its performance in our tests was mostly level with (and sometimes better than) the much costlier Geforce Gtx 570? 

That was the clincher with this Editors' Choice-winning card.

If you’re looking for the real sweet spot of value and performance in a graphics card in the spring of 2.012, the Radeon Hd 7850 is it, in our opinion at least until Nvidia unveils its own new cards in this price range. 

More on that, we suspect, later in the spring.