HotHardware Holiday Gift Guide 2009

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Outputs And Figgy Pudding: Video Cards

Even if you just purchased a new GPU 12 months ago, there's plenty of reasons to check out a new one. Just have a quick glance at recent benchmarks from the newest cards if you don't believe us. There's no denying that GPUs age mighty quickly, but there's still nothing quite as exciting as slapping a new pixel-pusher into your desktop.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 - $100

The bargain option in the GPU field isn't a bad choice at all. Just announced a couple of weeks ago this GPU consumes a small amount of power and featues HDMI, DVI, and VGA outputs, DirectX 10.1 support and an updated video engine. If you know someone who is okay playing last month's titles and won't need anything on the bleeding edge, the GT 240 would likely be a nice fit.

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 - $130

It wouldn't be a GPU guide with at least one NVIDIA option, and the bargain-priced GeForce GTS 250 seems a surefire winner. It's hardly a new card, but it's still one of the cheaper options for cards that came out during 2009. It'll easily beat the GeForce 9800 GT and 8800 GTS, both of which were stalwarts just months ago. You won't find DX11 support here, but that co-worker you barely know probably won't complain when he or she gets this.

AMD ATI Radeon HD 5750 - $140

It's definitely not the most powerful GPU in AMD's stable, but the 5750 is a great mid-range/budget choice. It's got Eyefinity and DirectX 11 support, along with low power consumption and low noise. Most other cards in this price range don't, so those points along make it worth a serious look if you're not willing to liquidate some assets to snag a higher-end unit.

AMD ATI Radeon HD 5850 - $269

Let's face it: most folks won't be springing for a $600 GPU unless they're buying gifts for themselves. But the Radeon HD 5850 is very powerful for a lot less dough. In fact, most gamers would probably be elated to have access to this, and considering that it severely undercuts NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 285, you can take some pride in knowing you're really showing off your inner fanboy.

AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970 - $599

Looking to instantly make yourself the world's greatest [fill in the blank] in someone's mind? Of course, why wouldn't you be? If so, you'll need to select the world's most potent graphics card, which--at the moment--happens to be the AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970. We just recently tested this beast out, and it's unquestionably the fastest GPU money can buy today. Looking for the best for that special someone? Look no further than this.

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