Something else to consider is that these weak ass “value” cards are pretty wimpy. Just because it is a higher model number doesn’t mean it is beter or faster. As far as raw processing power, my old radion 8500’s can compete with and sometimes even beat cards like some of the 9100’s, 9200’s, 9250’s and even some of the 9550’s if I am not mistaken. Last time I decided to upgrade, I tried a 9200se and an nvidia 5200 (actually bought and instaled the cards). The 8500’s (running stock, not overclocked) just about doubled the performance of those two much newer cards. A year ago it was the same situation. there were not any resonably priced cards that could significatlly beat my old 8500’s. Its too bad the 8500 doesn’t support the newer features that many games require (no shock there as many of the gaming graphics engines are written by nvidia or ati, sometimes for free, and it is in their intrest to make you keep having to buy new cards).
There are now cards now that will beat those old 8500’s for a resonable price (not too much over 100$), but you have to be carfull what you buy as there are similar models with drastically diffrent speed abilities (often because many cards are intentionally crippled). Ati is the worst because there are so many overlaping model numbers (which is what is making it hard for me to decide what to buy now that it is worth upgrading). There are still cards for 100$ or more that cannot compete with my old cards as far as raw power. You might find this interesting
There are endless charts and benchmark comparisons like this to help out but it can get confusing. Notice how model number (and how high the number is) really doesn’t mean anything. Also notice how you might see the same model (like a 9600) at the bottom of the list as well as much higher up at the middle.