Holiday season is fast approaching and we realize our trigger happy readers are aching to gear up for the upcoming onslaught of eye candy rich games. 2011 is shaping up to be a really good year for PC games with Bulletstorm and Dead Space 2 taking charge; we have other great titles like Crysis 2, R.A.G.E, NFS Shift 2 to look forward to. While these games won't be too difficult to run even on modest systems since all the games are multi-platform, choosing the right card will make all the difference in the overall gaming experience. Looking at the market, we've noticed some companies have really aggressive pricing compared to others, for instance for AMD cards, Sapphire and MSI offer you the lowest rates and for Nvidia, we have ZOTAC and MSI again. It's sad to see other companies like Asus and XFX come up with absurd pricing which makes you wonder how they manage to make any profit in India. Even though their cards are of good quality and all, at times, the premium is just too high which makes no sense in investing that kind of money.
Today, we'll be taking a look at some great deals that we've managed to find under Rs. 10,000. While we all want fancy expensive cards, the reality is we don't really need them especially if you game on anything lower than a full HD resolution. We all saw that Crysis 2 is easily playable on a 9600GT on "Gamer" settings up to 1920x1080 so going by that alone, the cards we've picked today will easily handle all the upcoming games unless of course we get some shitty console port, then it's hardly our fault. One more thing before we get started, the list is made based on Mumbai prices so if you find a better deal elsewhere, holler in the comments section as it could help others in your city.
Under Rs.3,000 - Stick to Onboard
If you're on a budget that's anything under 3K then it's advisable you don't buy anything. I'd say work a bit harder and jump straight to our second category. The problem is that there isn't any worthy card at all under this price bracket that would give you playable frame rates. The cards under 3K are designed for HTPC use which means they are slightly better than onboard graphics, enough to offload 1080p videos and provide a wide array of multichannel audio options via HDMI.
Under Rs.5000 - Sapphire HD 5670 512MB/1GB
Our under 5K still remains the HD 5670. Sapphires offering come with a nice cooler and a larger fan for better and more silent cooling. Here you can buy either the 512MB or the 1GB version as the price difference is a couple of hundred bucks. The extra video RAM is nice to have although it's not needed much. The 1GB version is available for Rs.4,700 while the 512MB can be bought for a little less for Rs.4,400.
Under Rs. 6000 - MSI N250GTS-2D512 512MB
Yes, the G92 chip is still going strong and for a smidge under 6K, it's currently the best buy. MSI has shed the reference cooler and gone for something bolder using their own custom heatsink. The GTS 250 is built using 55nm fabrication and is the second coming of the 9800GTX+. It has the full 128 shaders of the G92 core and comes with faster clock speeds. The 9800GT is also selling for around the same price and we strongly advise you to stay away from it as it has the crippled G92 core same as the 8800GT. There's also the HD 4850 for those who are interested in an AMD solution but we'd stick to the GTS 250.