You don't necessarily have to hold off on a graphics card upgrade just because the economy sucks. In fact, you can get surprisingly powerful cards from both AMD and Nvidia for around (or less than) $100—and I'm not talking about the Radeon HD 4670 and GeForce 9600 GSO we tested last year.
Rather, Newegg currently stocks a Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 for $99.99 before shipping and an ECS GeForce 9800 GT for $95.99 before shipping. Both cards are great performers for the money, although the AMD offering has a definite edge. (See our review for more details.) Both the 4830 and 9800 GT were around $130 at launch, so it's nice to seem them effectively under the $100 mark.
What kind of eye candy can you expect from these? Crysis Warhead runs happily at 1680x1050 on both of these cards, as do pretty much all console cross-overs like Far Cry 2, Mirror's Edge, and Fallout 3. You can even indulge yourself with a little antialiasing in the latter two, as well as other, less demanding games like Left 4 Dead. Definitely not bad for a hundred bucks.
Speaking of Left 4 Dead, Valve is offering the zombie co-op shooter for just $24.99 instead of the usual $49.99 this weekend. That's an especially nice deal considering the upcoming L4D downloadable content will be free.
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