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Mainstream GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
While buying the most powerful graphics card gives you bragging rights -- for a while -- you can get excellent performance from a more mainstream cards, and at a more mainstream price.
The AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB gives you a powerful card that can handle modern games without breaking a sweat at a price that's far easier to swallow than going for an extreme card.
Make sure that you pick a Radeon HD 7850 that has 2GB RAM, and not the models with only 1GB. The extra video memory will allow you to crank the texture quality up higher, and help keep the in-game framerate more stable.
Price: From $185.
Image source: Gigabyte.