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What's up with graphics cards?

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...This is just an 'out-of-curiosity' question. It is kind of amazing how fast hardware changes. When I built my AM2 box two years ago, I looked into the possibility of upgrading the graphics from the on-board nVidia 6100 (although I never did it, because I hadn't built a gaming box or anything like that and the on-board graphics have been adequate). The top-of-the-line nVidia-based card at the time was something like the GeForce 8800GTX chipset, and the prices on those cards tended to be stratospheric (I seem to recall some of those being upwards of $500!). Now, after recently checking out Newegg, I seem to notice that there have been at least a couple of generations of newer nVidia chipsets (there is now a 9-series and one or two series above that), and that same 8800GTX chipset now goes for something like $130 tops, and many cards using it actually considerably less, including some Gigabyte cards (I have a Gigabyte mobo; wonder how well the two would actually go together?)...
...so, what's considered 'top of the line' now?...
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Yeah, it's really interesting watching the market, especially the last year or so.

I paid about $345 (AUD) for an 8800GT almost two years ago, but now I can find the 9800GT (although it's getting rare) for $140-145 mark.

While not exactly set in concrete, I usually follow Tom's Hardware guide, they update it every month. Here's the latest version. It's a few pages long, and the last page has a huge graph with pretty much all the cards in order - my favourite resource.

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