ExtremeTech took a look at some of the cheaper DirectX 10 graphics cards for those who don't want to shelve out +$400 for a high-end graphics card:
Released with less fanfare than those enthusiast-level, crazy-priced cards, they're quietly available for far less money. They also pack less power for 3D applications like games--and Vista's Aero. Both AMD and Nvidia have made tiered products in their latest lines. Siblings to AMD's top-of-the-line $400 ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT card come in the form of the 2600 and 2400 cards. In Nvidia's GeForce 8800 series, there are also the 8600, 8500, and even 8400 series of cards (although the last seems to be available mainly to OEMs).
These lower-tiered cards run from under $200 down to under $100, but are they sufficient for new technologies like Vista and DirectX 10? Can they handle any gaming at all? Let's find out, shall we?