All this talk of price/performance ratios can get a little wearing, so lets focus more on the latter part. You cannot get better benchmarks than this for under £160, and in some circumstances it's faster than the £200+ GTX 280. The only advantage the more expensive card has is its four extra ROPs, which help with high image quality settings.

Not content with that, this 'XXX' edition is also factory overclocked, albeit by a fairly minor 37MHz. It does mean that realistically, if you want to go beyond this level you're into the realms of CrossFire and SLI multi-chip set-ups and all the driver issues that brings with it.

Like the GTX 260 it's big, but quiet, and based on the 55nm revision of the G200 core that all the top end GeForce cards share. Unlike the GTX 260, this has the full complement of 240 stream shaders and 80 texture mapping units enabled, and higher clockspeeds too. It may not have the same potential gigaflop output as the top Radeon graphics card, but when it comes to real-world gaming performance, it flies.

It is hard to recommend as a value for money buy, though, since the Radeon HD4870 is so cheap in comparison. But if you've got a spare £160 to spend, this is the card to get and be proud of.

In the most demanding tests we ran it through, it was over 10 per cent quicker than its nearest competitor, the HD4890, yet cost just £4 more. That's the difference between a playable and non-playable game on a large monitor, with a good deal of future-proofing thrown in to boot. It may well cost twice the amount of an HD4850, but in some high definition benchmarks the results aren't a long way off a 100 per cent improvement.

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