Pros Finally a powerful mid-priced card
Cons so many choices ... the 8800 GT is pretty damn good too if you can find it
Summary Well, this is a response to the schmee23, who is obviously on crack or hasn't taken a look at recent benchmarks.
There is no way that the X1950 Pro is anywhere close to the HD3850 in performance. It's more powerful sibling, the HD3870 gets close to the 2900 XT in performance for half the price.
The X1950 Pro gets anywhere from 4000-5000 on 3DMark06, depending on the CPU/system and how much the gfx card is over-clocked. I admit that 3DMark06 does not always accurately reflect actual game performance. However, I cannot imagine the X1950 Pro beating the HD 3850, which easily doubles its score at 9500-11000 on 1280x1024. Other tests with ES4: Oblivion and AoE III confirm that the HD 3850 gets about 30-60% more FPS than the X1950 Pro on 1600x1200, FSAA 4X, Aniso. 8X settings. (I'm pretty sure that the X1950 with its DirectX 9-only support would do better if it too had a die shrink, but that's not the case, is it?)
Besides, the HD 3850 comes with DirectX 10 support and the feel-good factor of having a brand new card compared to one 1.5 generations behind.
Anyways, just about every review out there confirms that the HD3850/70 and the 8800 GT (not to be confused with the older 8800 GTS/XT/etc.) are a huge improvement over any of the older cards.
Pros The Nvidia sub-200 options are blown away by the 3850. If you are looking for an inexpensive card, that can still run the latest games at full settings, look no futher.
Cons 512 onboard would be nicer, but only if you want to play at very highh resolutions.
Summary I don't know what the guy who said "an x1950 pro is faster" was thinking. Every benchmark I have looked at says otherwise. In fact, in 3dmark06, the 3850 scores nearly twice as high as the 1950 pro.
So, bottom line, if you aren't worried about getting a Nvidia or ATI, and you just want a good card for the value, definitely go with the 3850.
Pros Cheap, better then most last gen highend cards, better then all current midrange cards.
Cons 3870 not much more, and the 8800GT is not much more then that
Summary Even with 256mb ram, it outperforms just about every highend 1900 series ATI card, and the 7000 series Nvidia cards.
MUCH better then the 8600 series, and 2600 series cards as well.
Averages about 30fps on Crysis in 1280X1024 with a medium/high mix.
The 3870 is quite a bit better then this though, and an eagle eye can find one for under MSRP. Obviously the 8800GT is the best of the three, but it is hard to find atm, and it selling for about 100$ more. I did see a couple real close to 200$, but they are sold out now.
I say, if you absolutly cant go over 200$, and cant find a 3870 or 8800GT for that price, then there is no better card.
Pros Bought this card in 2008 for $170 and played my games Mid-high gfx no problem. even overclocked it using ati tray tools to a good amount and it worked like a champ!
Cons didnt have any, in the almost 3 years of my computer being constantly running it has given me no problems and i would recommend this card to anyone looking to above average performance for a good price
Summary GOOD CARD, two thumbs up :)
"Excellent Value"on by flipside11
Pros Best card for those in the sub $200 market
Cons Isn't all that great if you have a 20 inch or larger widescreen monitor
Summary I tested the 512MB version of this card and I'm really impressed. Call of Duty 4 plays really well with slight tweaking of the graphics settings this card holds tight at 90FPS and the graphics look sweet (lower res monitors). This is a great card if you are looking to play modern games on a budget (or if you don't have a big widescreen monitor this would be a perfect card). If you only have less than $200 to spend than this would be the card to get. If you can spare a bit more cash (spending maybe 30% more money) the increase in performance is pretty big! That would be the Geforce 8800GT (512MB version). But if you're on a budget and can't spring for the 8800GT (or can't find one in stock) than I'd go with the HD 3850 all the way. It's a much better choice than the Geforce 8600 range of cards (GTS included) - I have all three (8800GT, 8600GTS, and a HD 3850) so you can trust my advice. Happy gaming!