Here's the card they all have to beat. The reigning mid-range market leader, which squeezes onto the scales just shy of 200 pounds.

It may not be the cheapest, but 96 stream processors and a clock speed of 500MHz make it a stunning performer: around 80 per cent of the performance of an 8800GTX for 60 per cent of the price at stock speeds, with room for overclocking even on reference-cooled designs.

In our 'average gamer' scenario, there's not a single game which doesn't run smoothly with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering turned up. It's fully DX10-ready too, and is essentially the only card worth saving up for if you can't afford it right now. It even comes with a free joypad.