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TweakTown Holiday Buyers Guide 2010 - Shane B's Holiday Picks - Video Cards & RAM

The TweakTown staff get together and talk about what you should be paying attention to this Christmas.

| Guides | Posted: Dec 6, 2010 6:25 pm
Manufacturer: TweakTown

Dual Channel Memory Kit to Buy

 

Product Model: Corsair CMX8GX3M2A2000C9
Price: $179.99

 

Dual Channel continued to be a big thing this year for the user wanting to buy a PC on a budget. Next year isn't going to be any different either with Sandy Bridge around the corner and the initial iterations of the chipset offering Dual Channel memory.

 

It's been another good year for memory and we've seen some serious speed delivered to us with Corsair indeed leading the pack and other companies following. With some aggressive pricing in the memory market these days you really can't go past the 8GB kits that are being offered, with one of the stand out options being the Corsair CMX8GX3M2A2000C9.

 

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While the timings are a little relaxed at 9-10-9-27, the kit consists of only two 4GB modules instead of four 2GB modules like some others do. The kit is also a PC3-16000 one which means it carries a very impressive 2000MHz DDR stock clock speed. The kit is no doubt the perfect choice for P55 users who want a boost in system performance from both the stock speed along with the large amount of memory.

 


Triple Channel Memory Kit to Buy

 

Product Model: Kingston KHX1600C9D3K3/12GX
Price: $359.99
Our Review: Kingston PC3-16000 24GB Kit

 

Continuing on with the theme of 4GB modules, the Triple Channel memory kit that should be on top of the To Buy list is the Kingston PC3-12800 12GB kit and while it doesn't carry the super high speed of some other kits, what it does carry is a very aggressive price tag of well under $400.

 

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PC3-12800 translates to 1600MHz DDR and this particular kit carries with it a 9-9-9-27 setup on three 4GB modules. What makes the kit more attractive than some of the other 12GB kits which carry higher speeds is the price tag. For most people the option to go 12GB at slightly lower speeds over higher speed 6GB ones is an easy one with the lower speed, but higher capacity kit winning out most the time.

 


Video Cards to Buy

 

Product Model: MSI GTX 580 1536MB
Price: $524.99
Our Review: MSI GeForce GTX 580 1536MB

 

Product Model: Sapphire HD 5970 2GB
Price: $499.99
Our Review: Sapphire HD 5970 2GB

 

Product Model: HIS HD 6870 Turbo 1GB
Price: $274.99
Our Review: HIS HD 6870 Turbo

 

Product Model: GIGABYTE GTX 460 1GB OC2
Price: $199.99
Our Review: GIGABYTE GTX 460 OC

 

Last year this was the easiest piece to write; ATI had just launched the HD 5000 series and NVIDIA really didn't have anything to compete against the lineup. And while we continued to hear that the 400 series was just around the corner, months later we discovered that we were a lot farther from the corner then we thought.

 

If you're happy to spend the money, what do you buy? - The new GTX 580 has just launched from NVIDIA and carries with it big performance and a big price tag. Really, the only thing not big about the GTX 580 is the amount of stock available. The HD 5970 which was in this place last year still continues to be the fastest card on the market when you really come down to it; so what do you buy?

 

Well, recent price drops on AMD's flagship card brings it down lower than the GTX 580. 12 months on the Drivers for Crossfire are also a lot stronger and you really can't go wrong with something like the Sapphire HD 5970.

 

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With that said, we're not sure you could go all that wrong with the GTX 580 if you get stock. There's really no wrong decision and we would probably lean towards the GTX 580 a little more because it's single GPU and new. Stock continues to be a serious issue, though, which is no doubt going to sway your overall decision.

 

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Of course, if $500 is a little too much for you and you're looking for something under $300, the HIS HD 6870 Turbo we recently looked at is the goods. Part of the new HD 6000 series, it carries with it improved tessellation and CrossFire performance along with some other extras that we've covered in our coverage on the series.

 

HIS help boost performance a little more by overclocking the card and of course, if you want to take it even further, you can boost the clocks yourself even higher. With NVIDIA not offering us something new in this area till next year, if you're looking at spending around $300 the HD 6870 is one card you should be looking out for.

 

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It wouldn't be any form of buyers guide without recommending the GTX 460. Recent price drops bring nicely overclocked models like the GIGABYTE OC2 down to under $200. The new Windforce cooler has impressed and there continues to be a massive amount of overclocking headroom on the model still.

 

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If you want to spend $200 or $500, there's a video card out there for you that will no doubt give you the FPS you want. Of course, if you really feel like busting the bank account open you've always got the option to add a second card into the mix to boost performance even more.

 

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