The 7850 2GB
is roughly equivalent to a 6950.
Those cards are $180 - $200.
I would say you'll be ok with a 7850 1GB or GTX 650Ti at 1080p and relatively high settings on modern games.
The current deals on MSI 650Ti's for $110
and a free copy of Borderlands 2 is a huge advantage over the 7850 1GB though. That's a heck of a deal, but it expires end of the day on 1/31 so hurry if that's what you're going to do.
Furthermore, I'd rather spring the extra $25 for a 2GB 7850 if that's what you're going for.
We asked what resolutions the OP was playing at but he never replied. Once you start getting close to the $200 mark, my recommendation changes to the GTX660 (for $194 after MIR
) over the 7850. Faster, more power efficient and more features (better application support in photo/video editing, Physx support). AMD's Eyefinity still has an edge over nvidia's surround, but neither the 7850 nor 660 are suitable for multi-monitor gaming anyway.
However, it's all too easy to overspend by increments on computer hardware, so I still think it's better for the OP to stick close to his original budget and get the 1 GB 7850 for $160. He'll just have to be parsimonious with texture, AA and resolution settings. As you said, it's fine for 1080p on High/Med presets on most games.
The 650Ti is a good deal relative to the 7770 but is not a great gaming card. It is significantly
outperformed by the 7850, and it's worth spending that extra $$$ on the 7850 to hit a minimum fps threshold for smoothness.
Wind, Sand and Stars.