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Best graphics cards, hard drives, and solid state drives list of 2012
Here is the second installment of the final "Hardware 2.0" Best Kit Lists for 2012.
The last list looked at CPUs and motherboards ranging from an eye-watering $1,000 to a very reasonable $50. This list will look at graphics cards, hard drives (HDD), and solid state drives (SSD), with prices ranging from $1,000 to a mere $59.
Extreme GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 690
You probably think that it's a cop-out listing two cards, and maybe it is, but that's what I'm going to do, so allow me to explain why I've done this.
First up, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690.
When it comes to raw power, there's no doubt that the GeForce GTX 690 is the king. It is essentially two GeForce GTX 680 cards packed onto a single board, with a slightly lower core clock and a 300 Watt TDP. It is, without a doubt, the best graphics card that money can buy.
The only problem with the GeForce GTX 690 is the price tag: $999.
If that price doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then this is card for you, but if you're not ready to put down that much cash for a graphics card, then read on.
Price: From $999.
Image source: Nvidia.
Extreme GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7970
If the GeForce GTX 690 is too rich for your blood, and you're happy with what is essentially the second-fasted graphics card, then the AMD Radeon HD 7970 is the card for you.
For about $50-$80 less than the GeForce GTX 680 you get pretty much the same performance, and a card that will take anything you can throw at it.
There are overclocked GHz versions of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 available for an extra cost, but to be honest, most regular AMD Radeon HD 7970 cards are already well overclocked and paying extra gains you little in the way of performance.
You can pick up a Radeon HD 7970 for under $400, making it a far more sensible buy than the GeForce GTX 690.
Price: From $400.
Image source: XFX.