You're looking at the future of graphics cards, NVIDIA's GTX 480 and GTX 470, touted as the world's fastest. This is the next generation, the first cards with superfast tech NVIDIA calls Fermi — that means faster frame rates at higher resolutions, a guaranteed lure for serious PC gamers.
These two ultra-fast cards, with their red-hot graphics processing units (GPUs), are especially well suited for the latest trend in computing: getting the GPU itself to do much of the heavy lifting, leaving the CPU to work on other data at the same time. These two hotshots are NVIDIA's first DirectX 11 graphics cards, and the company is betting that DirectX 11's tessellation (a way of tiling graphic elements for more speed and efficiency) will be the prevalent way of displaying computer games in the near future.
With serious graphics comes a sobering price — the full-bore 1.5GB GTX 480 costs $499 and sucks up 250 watts of power. If that's too much for you, there's the slightly scaled-down 1.2GB GTX 470 for $349. Both will be available mid-April. And if these aren't fast enough for you, you can gang up two of them in an SLI configuration that will give you 90% faster performance.