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Review: Three-way budget graphics card shootout: what do you get for £30?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 23 May 2008, 09:02

Tags: Sapphire

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The majority of budget desktop PCs still ship with integrated graphics, mainly from Intel, which whilst being fine for displaying text on-screen, do little for 3D gaming and multimedia usage 

AMD's recent 780G chipset showed that integrated graphics - where the graphical compute power is integrated into the motherboard - needn't be wholly without virtue.

However, any user even semi-serious about gaming will look towards a discrete card - slotting in to your motherboard's PCIe x16 or, looking back, AGP slot - thereby providing dedicated memory and horsepower for the rendering task at hand.

NVIDIA and ATI currently rule the discrete desktop roost, and their competing architectures offer interesting choices at varying price-points.

But what to do if your motherboard has poor integrated graphics? You don't want to go to the onerous hassle of replacing it, but want to play some of the latest games at modest resolutions and image-quality settings?

That's where the cheapest discrete cards come in, starting at £20, yet providing more than just gaming support.

We take a look at three budget offerings and discern which is the best for gaming and multimedia use - upgrading on a stringent budget, if you will.