Five $160 To $240 990FX-Based Socket AM3+ Motherboards

Forty-two PCIe lanes give the 990FX a clear connectivity lead over competing Intel chipsets. We compare five class-leading products using AMD’s FX-8150 to see which offers the best combination of performance, overclocking, integrated features, and value.

When it comes to the popularity of our stories, CPUs run second only to new graphics cards (which seem to get everyone’s blood pumping the fastest). Motherboards fall behind quite a ways. That’s a shame though, because the right board is an absolute necessity for connecting processors to GPUs, and every other components inside your machine.

This is where AMD gives a lot of love to its customers, whereas Intel tends to skimp more often. Nowhere is the difference between both company’s mainstream parts more evident than in the chipset segment. The 990FX’s 42 total PCIe 2.0 lanes provide a lot more potential throughput than Intel’s popular Z68 Express, which is limited to 16 lanes from the CPU and a handful more on the Platform Controller Hub.

Best Graphics Cards For The Money

In this month’s update, we discuss several price adjustments that impact our recommendations. We also look into the crystal ball and suggest that there may not be another graphics launch in 2011 as a result of several different factors.

 

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great—that is, if you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, what a gamer needs is the best graphics card within a certain budget.

So, if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right card, then fear not. We at Tom’s Hardware have come to your aid with a simple list of the best gaming cards offered for the money.

November Updates:

The news this month centers on price adjustments. While none of the changes are game-changing, they do alter our recommendations to some degree. For example, the average price on AMD Radeon HD 6790, 6850, and 6870 graphics cards is up about ten dollars per board. This enables a tie between the Radeon HD 6870 and the GeForce GTX 560. The Radeon HD 5570 also went up a few bucks, and is now priced too close to the superior Radeon HD 5670 to keep its recommendation. On the other hand, the Radeon HD 6950 2 GB is a few dollars cheaper. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti is down a bit as well, and now shares a recommendation with the Radeon HD 6950 1 GB.

On a side note, for buyers interested in a great deal on a budget gaming card, we noticed that PNY’s GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 is on sale for $40 at Newegg with free shipping. This card isn’t quite as powerful as the $70 Radeon HD 5670. At $40, it’s a steal, though.

It also looks like AMD’s Radeon HD 5750/5770 cards are being phased out in favor of the Radeon HD 6750/6770. Since the 6700 series is essentially equivalent to the 5700 series with added Blu-ray 3D support and comparable pricing, the 5700 series won’t be missed. Just don’t mistake the 6700 cards for upgrades.

As for other news on the video card front, unfortunately, we don’t have our fingers crossed for new graphics architectures in the last couple months of the year. There are a few reasons for this, but three stand out most prominently. First, the current generation of cards is more than capable of handling today’s most demanding games (especially with companies like id delivering low-spec console ports like Rage). It’s a good thing developers like Dice can still demonstrate the PC’s place in gaming with titles like Battlefield 3 (see Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards, Benchmarked if you missed it two weeks ago). Second, with no major update to DirectX being discussed, there’s no new API to drive interest in new graphics hardware. Third, next-gen products like AMD’s Radeon HD 7000 series and Nvidia’s Kepler are still subject to manufacturing kinks in TSMC’s 28 nm node, and it looks like it will take some time to get the bugs out of that process. At this point we wouldn’t be surprised to see some new products manufactured using 40 nm lithography, and we’ve heard rumors to support that. There’s nothing concrete to report yet, though, and, for the first time in a long time, it looks as if we won’t have any major announcements to take us through the end of the year.

Some Notes About Our Recommendations

A few simple guidelines to keep in mind when reading this list:

  • This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, then the cards on this list are more expensive than what you really need. We’ve added a reference page at the end of the column covering integrated graphics processors, which is likely more apropos.
  • The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance. We acknowledge that recommendations for multiple video cards, such as two Radeon cards in CrossFire mode or two GeForce cards in SLI, typically require a motherboard that supports CrossFire or SLI and a chassis with more space to install multiple graphics cards. They also require a beefier power supply compared to what a single card needs, and will almost certainly produce more heat than a single card. Keep these factors in mind when making your purchasing decision. In most cases, if we have recommended a multiple-card solution, we try to recommend a single-card honorable mention at a comparable price point for those who find multi-card setups undesirable.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t base our decisions on always-changing pricing information, but we can list some good cards that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest, along with real-time prices from our PriceGrabber engine, for your reference.
  • The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will most certainly vary.
  • These are new card prices. No used or open-box cards are in the list; they might represent a good deal, but it’s outside the scope of what we’re trying to do.

microSDHC Cards

With rated write performance as high as 10 MB/s and capacities as high as 32 GB, there’s plenty of choice in the microSDHC marketplace. Do the contenders actually hit their performance targets? Interestingly, some of them are actually quite a bit better!

Fast memory cards are needed not only in professional equipment like DSLR cameras, but they’re increasingly being used in consumer devices like compact cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, hand-held game consoles, and cell phones, too. This accelerating uptake is caused by the rapidly increasing number of features of these devices. The more features, the higher the demands on the memory card. For example, consider recording and playing back HD video on a smartphone. For stutter-free operation, significant data transfer speeds are required. In order to go beyond video snippets a few seconds long, the storage capacity of a memory card also needs to be sufficiently large.

Considering those criteria and adding compatibility, reliability, and robustness, the SD card quickly emerges as the memory card of choice, which also helps to explain its 80% market share.

Zoom

The physically smallest variant of the SD card is the microSD card, measuring a mere 11 mm x 15 mm x 1 mm (0.43” x 0.59” x 0.04”). Add a host adapter, and a microSD or microSDHC card can be used like a SDHC card.

For this comparison test, we’re focusing on the microSDHC subcategory of the microSD form factor, which offers much larger capacities, and thus more versatility in multimedia applications. While a microSD card tops out at 2 GB due to its FAT16 file system, a microSDHC card can store up to 32 GB on its FAT32 file system, depending on the model.

Zoom

We asked all major memory card manufacturers to submit samples of their microSDHC-based products. We received a wide range of cards, with capacities ranging from 4 GB to 32 GB, and thus covering the whole range of the microSDHC specification. We also noticed plenty of different performance points. SD cards are grouped into several performance classes, which denote the minimum recording rate of the cards. The lowest performance class, Class 2, stores data at a minimum of 2 MB/s. Our test candidates, however, start at performance Class 4, which features a worst-case write speed of 4 MB/s. Class 6 cards achieve at least 6 MB/s, while Class 10 cards switch up the rating a bit, pushing 10 MB/s non-fragmented sequential writes.

iCare Data Recovery Software 100% Working!

iCare Data Recovery Software 100% Working!

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Note: This post is the Newest version 4.3 The pics above are for the older version 4.0

iCare Data Recovery Software v4.3

Working with Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 professional and Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000 all versions, iCare Data Recovery Software is able to recover files from formatted drive, RAW file system, drive has not formatted error, RAW drive, undelete files emptied recycle bin, recover files due to partition lost, system crash, software crash, bad boot sector, missing boot sector, bad MBR, $MFT damaged, lost partition table, lost or damaged FAT, virus infections, power failure, and other unknown data loss…

With 2TB disk, RAID and dynamic disk file recovery supported, iCare Data Recovery Software is able to restore files from hard disk partitions, external hard disks, USD drives, flash drives, memory card, SD card, pen stick, XD card…

iCare Data Recovery is able to help you when other recovery software failed and recover the most of your files fast and easy.

When to use iCare Data Recovery Software

. Focused on file recovery, iCare Data Recovery Software makes the most possiblility of your data rescue. Here are some of the symptom that presents your need of this program to fix errors and bring data back.

. Reformatted partition, memory card, external drive, USB drive, sd card…

. Repartitioned hard disk drive and need file recovery

. Hard disk, external drive, USB drive, memory card etc. has not formatted error and report RAW file system

. Ghost failure, copy failure, formatted disk

. Quick formatted disk, complete format, full format recovery

. Resize partition, merge partition, copy partition failure by PartitionMagic, Partition Manager…

. File system RAW, RAW drive, chkdsk reports not available for RAW drive…

. Pressed restore button of iPhone, Blackberry, iPod and want to restore music files

. Reformatted sd card, xd card, cf card, pen stick, memory card…

. System cannot boot, cannot locate the boot partition, I/O error

. external drive, memory card, cf card cannot be detected or recognized…

. Virus attack and lost files

. Bad boot sector, bad partition table, damaged FAT, lost File Allocation Table…

. Recover files from FAT, NTFS partitions

. Recover files from devices with unknown file systems including Hard Disk, external ZIP/USB drive, removable SmartMedia, MemoryStick, SD cards, etc.

. Partition structures are damaged or deleted…

. Lost files in Mac OS and need to restore files from HFS, HFS+ file system (need to connect to Windows PC)

Features of iCare Data Recovery Software

. Here are some features of iCare Data Recovery Software.

. Recover office document, photo, image, video, music, email, etc.

. Recover from hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, memory card, memory stick, memory card, Zip, floppy disk, cf card, xd card, SanDisk SD card, MicroSD card, mini card, pen stick, and any storage media that can be used on PC.

. Get data back from RAW hard drives, or file system says RAW.

. Recover deleted or lost files emptied from the Recycle Bin.

. File recovery after accidental format, even if you have reinstalled Windows.

. Disk recovery after a hard disk crash or system crash and cannot boot.

. Get back files after a partitioning error like merging partitions failure, resizing partitions failure…

. Support FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS/NTFS5, Mac HFS, HFS+ file systems.

. Free download and free file searching and disk file scanning.

. Recover RAID files even when raid damaged.

. Dynamic disk file recovery

. Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000; Server 2008, 2003, 2000 compatible

. 2TB hard disk drive supported

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