Deal of the week: Great sub-$250 graphics cards

In last week's deal post, we pointed to two cheap graphics upgrades for folks looking enjoy the wave of new PC games without breaking the bank. But what if you have a big monitor, a little more cash to spend, and a wish to run the newest games with all the eye candy turned up?

In that case, the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 512MB that's currently $239.99 at Newegg looks like a sweet deal. The 4870 has always been ahead of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 260 in terms of performance, but it's been a little pricier in recent months. Right now, however, Newegg charges the same for the cheapest GTX 260 in its catalog.

Which card you should get really depends on whether you cotton to mail-in rebates. The AMD card comes with a $20 rebate, which can shrink its price to a cool $220. However, the $40 rebate on Newegg's MSI GeForce GTX 260 can take that offering down to only $200. We'd probably get the 4870 ourselves, since it's faster, and you won't miss out in case your rebate form ends up in a dumpster somewhere. Both cards are fine deals at $240, though.

Update: Unfortunately, Newegg has jacked up the price of the 4870 to $260 before rebates. However, our price search engine shows Directron still sells a Diamond Radeon HD 4870 for $239.99 (albeit without rebates). A word of warning: you need to register on Diamond's website within 30 days to get the one-year warranty coverage on this card.

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