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Group test: what's the best budget graphics card?

The Top 5 sub-£150 graphics cards

PC Advisor selects and reviews the best five graphics cards available for less than £150 in the UK right now.

5. PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti

PNY GeForce GTX 650 Ti
  • Reviewed on: 16 October 12
  • RRP: £125 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

At the time of writing, pricing wasn’t totally clear. However, assuming a price of around £125, the AMD Radeon 7850 is clearly this card’s biggest competitor. That card offers marginally more performance for a price for around £25 more. There may well be some juicy pricing strategies on the 650 Ti in the next couple of months. Currently though, the 7850 is probably better value.

4. MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC

MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC
  • Reviewed on: 25 January 13
  • RRP: £90 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC is actually a pretty decent card. It’s already possibly a value option next to the 7770, and this MSI version has several upgrades that seem to make it that bit more fearsome. Add good overclocking and the incredible power efficiency, and the 650 is an appetising buy at around the £90 mark.

3. MSI R7 260X 2GD5 OC

MSI R7 260X 2GD5 OC
  • Reviewed on: 14 February 14
  • RRP: £120 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The AMD R7 260X is a definite improvement on the previous 7790, even if it isn't a country mile ahead. Given a straight choice between the two, at the same price, the 260X is leaner and a little meaner. Having said that, the 7790 can currently be bought for around £20 less than the 260X. Given that difference we'd be tempted to go for the 7790 instead. The 7790 is likely to be disappearing from the market very shortly, though, leaving the way clear for the 260X to establish itself as a very competent, if rather unexciting mid-range graphics card.

2. Gigabyte HD 7770 OC

Gigabyte HD 7770 OC
  • Reviewed on: 11 June 12
  • RRP: £110 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Unless you’re really strapped for cash, the Gigabyte HD 7770 OC is a better card. The superior specifications and improved fan are well worth the extra, and the Gigabyte HD 7770 OC offers quite playable game framerates in today’s titles, just as long as you aren’t expecting fireworks – you’ll still need to spend £250 or more for strong frame rates in titles like Crysis. The 6850 remains a slightly faster bet if you can find it, although the difference is marginal, and the 7770 OC’s architecture may well see it improving slightly in future games. As a value prospect, the Gigabyte HD 7770 OC is an excellent little card.

1. MSI Radeon R9 270 Gaming Edition

MSI Radeon R9 270 Gaming Edition
  • Reviewed on: 21 March 14
  • RRP: £138 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

At first glance, the 270 might seem a relatively unexciting addition. Close to the 270X in many respects, but just a little slower, can it really offer anything? Well, yes, actually. The price is juicier, and the performance surprisingly upbeat. It outclasses the 260X and is well worth the extra money. It's also not very far behind the 270X, but is more modest in terms of power and noise. As a perfectly-poised consumer gaming card, the 270 is, well, perfect

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