Like some other games from EA, Spore has a frame rate limiter set at 30fps. We could not turn it off, so the identical results of the premium graphics solutions are not to be wondered at. They do not differ in bottom speed, either. Thus, every premium-class graphics solution is equally suitable for playing Spore.
There is no difference between the cards at 1280x1024. At 1680x1050 the GeForce 9800 GTX+ doesn’t reach the speed limit, though. This card is even uncomfortably slow at 1920x1200 while the GeForce GTX 260 doesn’t reach the limit at that resolution.
Thus, the Radeon HD 4850 seems to be the optimal choice for playing Spore since the more expensive Radeon HD 4870 does not provide any advantages while the GeForce 9800 GTX+ is not fast at high resolutions.
As you can see, Spore can make a good benchmarking tool despite the speed limitation, especially for inexpensive graphics cards. There is one loser at 1280x1024 – the Radeon HD 3870. At 1680x1050 the GeForce 9800 GT is the only card to reach the speed limit. The Radeon HD 4830 is not far slower, but Nvidia’s card is a better choice for this game.