Best PC Gaming Graphic Cards
Computer hardware is constantly evolving and it is doing it faster and faster every year. Higher resolutions and better animations are the core defining factors of new games and we have to have the necessary hardware to keep up with them.
With Ethereum mining being a thing, it is very hard to get your hands on a good gaming graphic card, at a reasonable price. Either it is too pricy or has been sold out by the time you get to it.
But the market is making a rapid recovery, so by the time you’re reading this, there are probably plenty of units in stock.
By now, if you buy a new graphic card, it can be used to run the latest AAA games at full graphics for about 2 or 3 years. After that it starts getting old as the new generation of GPUs and games hit the market.
It’s just the way it is, but there are some very solid options on the market. Some monstrous latest generation GPUs like the GTX 1080 TI might push your games at max graphic for a longer time.
But if you just want to jump into the latest generation of games, enjoy virtual reality, a multi monitor setup and 4K gaming, you have come to the right place.
Here, we are going to tell you what to consider when you’re buying a new card and review the best ones currently available.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to it!
Best Gaming GPUs Out There
So, now that you know more about what you’re doing, it’s time to get down to the graphic card reviews!
Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+
We start off with the best and most relentless GDDR5 GPU available on the market today. It has a very simple look and the cooling design looks the same as the previous Sapphire models’.
The inside of the cooling system has been completely redone and it has doubled down on the fine surface area, making it handle the heat much better. All the work SHAPPIRE puts into improving their cooling technology makes it one of AMD’s best partners.
Once the RX 580 Nitro+ starts operating, it looks really awesome with the RGB LEDs on top of it. You can also change the fans if you want to, but guess that isn’t so important.
When it comes to specs, the Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ stands pretty tall with a 1,411 MHz boost and 8GB of GDDR5 memory. Also, it has 2,304 stream processors (GPU cores), 32 ROPs and 144 texture units. For output, there are two DisplayPort 1.4s, one Dual-Link DVI-D and two HDMI 2.0b.
The Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ boasts a pretty awesome 1440p graphic performance. It also offers the possibility to play VR games which wasn’t this affordable in the past. The games we tried ran really smoothly.
Tom Clancy’s The Division ran on ultra-high graphic, as smoothly as I imagined it would. Also, other demanding AAA games, like the Rise of the Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry Primal, Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, all played smoothly on the highest graphic settings.
This in my opinion was a solid test for the Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+, enough to convince me that it was one of the most cost effective and most powerful GPUs on the market right now. Rarely have GPUs offered VR and this much power at such a low price.
If you’re a more budget conscious gamer who would like to bring out the best that the current generation of graphic cards have to offer, than the Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ is for you!
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
Here’s one of the latest, most massive and most overpowered graphic cards on the market right now. It lets you play games with ultra-high settings, 4K resolution and 60Hz, making it a dream to have inside any gamer’s PC.
It has 11 GB of GDDR5X memory and an 11 Gbps memory speed. It has 3584 CUDA cores, 12 million transistors and a boost clock of 1582 MHz. It provides stellar performance along with everything you would wish for a graphic card to have, but it does come at a hefty price.
So gamers will really have to reach deep down into their pocket if they want to have so much power. So, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition will be a top competitor for quite some time.
I threw the absolute bad boy of a game, Witcher 3 at this marvelous beast and it was looking really good. I even used anti-aliasing, which was probably overkill, but it didn’t even flinch.
The exterior of the card is really cool, with a gunmetal grey color covering. It can be used in any type of system and will definitely match the colors. It has two 100mm fans on top, which drives all the heat away. But it’s pretty massive, so you’ll need some space for it inside your PC.
When it finally came to gaming, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti performed really well. We played Metro Last Light Redux on 4K, which ran perfectly on 65 FPS and we had 124 FPS on 1440p (2K).
So this baby really delivers your money’s worth when it comes to gaming. Titanfall 2 ran on a stellar 90 FPS when we played it in 4k and on 130 FPS when we played it on 1440p.
Overall, if you don’t mind the budget, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition is the best graphic card to have in my opinion. With this, you won’t need a new graphic card to play 4K games for the next couple of years.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
This is like the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti only with a different chip and some corners cut off. But, it does run on 2012 MHz when it’s overclocked and has a Memory clock of 5,508 MHZ while still keeping the GPU temperature at 67 C under heavy load.
It has a pretty insane overclock. So in short, it is pretty amazing. It is a VR ready graphic card, capable of playing games on 4K and 60 Hz. It’s also pretty silent for such a wild beast, so it’s definitely an outstanding component to have inside a gamer’s PC.
Games just fly with ultra-high settings at 4K. It’s no problem for this graphic card to run 4K games at 60 Hz, so if you’re the type who wants to push the limits when it comes to resolution, you’ve just found your new toy.
Rise of the Tomb Raider ran on 42 FPS, on 4K and it looked really smooth all the way. The entire game ran without a flinch.
Doom also ran incredibly smoothly on 4K, which completely convinced me that this beast of a graphic card is worth to buy. It is worthy of competing in the lane of the latest cards and will definitely satisfy the needs of the most demanding gamers.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC
This graphic card is based on the GP 107, a new GPU in the Pascal family from NVIDIA. This architecture has two graphic processing and six screening multiprocessors.
The memory clock is 7,010 MHz; the Base Clock is 1,345 MHz with a 1,468 MHz boost clock. It is a pretty powerful 4GB graphic card with GDDR5 RAM .
This graphic card is for those gamers who aren’t that much into AAA games and they don’t care about VR or 4K either. It is a pretty cut down model. But this beauty is still able to put up a mean performance when it comes to casual gaming.
On the back it has one DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort, which is a pretty nice variety for a graphic card of this caliber. It is a really good combination of low cost and low power demands, so you can just take out your old graphics card and swap it with this new one without a problem.
When I tested it, GTA V for example, ran on 70-75 FPS with maximum settings. Overwatch also ran perfectly between 80 and 100 FPS at Ultra high settings. Finally, CS:GO ran like a dream, between 180 and 220 FPS. Other MOBA and RPG games are also known to run pretty well.
So if you’re a competitive player of these games, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC will definitely serve you well.
MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060
The GTX 1060 is a 6GB graphic card with a very low 120 watt power usage and a powerful clock speed of 1,506 MHz and 1,708 MHz boost.
It also has 80 Texture units and a 192GB/s memory bandwidth. This model supports technologies like Ansel, the Simultaneous Multi-Projection, etc.
The exterior is consistent with MSI’s style with a red and black design. On the top of the card, there is a dual-slot Twin Frozr revision VI dual-fan cooler.
The RGB LED lighting on top makes it even more stylish and a fine piece of decoration as well. It keeps the temperature at 65 degree C when it’s under a full load, while also keeping it silent. It is also full of 8-pin power connector, so it’s easy to get up and running.
We tried it with Sniper Elite 4, a third-person tactical shooter that is based on stealthy gameplay. It produced pretty solid results, being able to keep the game running at 70 FPS while playing it on an ultra-high graphics setting.
Overall, the MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 boasts clock rates that are really high and will run most AAA games at 4K resolution. It is a model designed for those who want to push their games to the highest possible settings.
It is also capable of playing VR, so it’s a really good deal. It is an excellent choice for any gamer who has high standards, but still wants to keep their wallet in check.
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1070 8G
Gigabyte’s G1 graphic cards are known to boast the highest performance the current generation of graphic cards can produce, while still keeping their price tags in check.
Their new addition the GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming keeps consistent with this and comes with three fans that make the whole thing look like a jet engine. It’s an 8 GB graphic card with GDDR5 memory and an 8,100 MHz effective data-rate on the memory.
On the back, there are 5 display outputs, of which you can use four for a multi-monitor setup. There is one HDMI 2.0b port, three DisplayPort 1.4 capable interfaces and a DVI-D connector.
The GTX 1070 runs on 185W and has a clock rate of 1,974MHz, also keeping the temperature between 60 and 70 C under a full load. It isn’t really loud, so it definitely won’t interrupt your gaming experience if you start pushing its limits.
I really appreciate Gigabyte’s value-oriented approach towards achieving the highest possible performance, because they managed to produce this marvelous GPU with it.
Far Cry Primal ran like a dream. I used very high quality settings and it managed to keep things really fluid, but only in 1080p of course. The frame rate stayed in the 40FPS range, which looked quite good on my monitor.
Overall, the GTX 1070 is an excellent choice for any gamer who really wishes to enjoy powerful performance in 1080p, but would like to keep a budget conscious approach.
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
Now, we have a nice third-party model that is great for 4K resolution gaming and getting the max out of any AAA game out there.
It is one of the latest top-end graphic cards of the year and it is ready to take on all of its competition, in the most powerful graphic cards’ lane.
It is one of the biggest graphic cards launched in years. The GTX is ready and will be ready to show off content at 4K, 5K or even 8K at 60Hz or even 120Hz
While the performance of the GTX 1080 is nothing short of beastly, to enjoy VR and some high quality 4K gaming. This model also has the Pascal architecture, which is the latest in the game.
It is a different, more precise manufacturing process, which had 28 nanometers before and now its 16 nanometers. This increases the performance by a great deal but has a very small effect on the overall power consumption. This allows the increase of CUDA cores, the parts that do the processing.
The GTX 1080 has 2,560 of them. The entire graphic card uses 280-360W at most and the temperature keeps under 75 degrees. This graphic card also has its memory improved, since it features GDDR5 memory. It’s quiet and definitely won’t give off any annoying noises.
On the back, there is an HDMI port, a HDMI version 2.0b port, a DVI port and a DisplayPort. The GTX 1080 also has support for HDR, video playback and gaming, because it can decode HEVC to video.
Overall, this beast of a graphic card will be the new toy to all of those high-end gamers with high demands. It sure is pricy, but will definitely ensure that you can see all the latest content out there at highest quality for the next couple of years ahead.
Sapphire Radeon NITRO Rx 460
The Radeon Rx 460 is a 4GB GPU with GDDR5 memory and a memory bandwidth of 112 GB/s, with a clock speed of 1,200 MHz. This model is aiming at eSports and casual gamers who don’t wish to go over 1080p, while still providing them with more than future-proof technology, as it also features support for 4K, VR and HDR.
You’ll have no problem playing CS:GO, Rocket League, League of Legends, GTA V, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, DOTA 2 and any other non AAA game, at max settings.
With the RX 460, all of the above mentioned games have had a frame rate of 100 FPS. Some even go up to 170 FPS, so it’s really awesome. This is the lowest end graphic card on the Polaris architecture, but it is still definitely the best budget graphic card in the PC world, in my opinion.
The exterior of the card is very simplistic, with two fans on top, a DVI port, a HDMI port and a DisplayPort on the back. For power, it has a 6-pin PCI connector.
So all of you budget conscious gamers who want to enjoy some truly competitive gaming at extremely high frame rates, here’s your chance.
A lot of people will want to get their wallets out to get their hands on the best, high-end value graphic card that is available on the market today!
ASUS Radeon 8G RX 550
Asus has jumped into the game with its very own RX 550 graphic card. It is definitely a thrilling budget GPU with GDDR5 RAM, made for those who only wish to play competitively in 1080p.
You don’t need a beefy graphic card to play the most popular multiplayer games in the world. If you want to get your slice of the world of eSports and competitive gaming, you have yourself a pretty good graphic card.
It has a clock speed of 1183 MH and can achieve a peak compute performance of 1.2TFLOPS.
Even though the RX 550 is a budget model, it has support for many modern media technologies. With a HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4 connections, it can handle 4K resolution as well.
It packs a lot of power for such a tiny graphic card and would make an excellent choice if you’re looking for a GPU for your home theater PC.
We tested it on Dota 2, CSGO and League of legends. League of legends kept a consistent 60 FPS refresh rate at very high settings. While Dota 2 and CSGO would run on medium with 55 fps, which isn’t stellar performance.
In short, the ASUS Radeon 4G RX 550 is a pretty good choice for any budget gamer or anyone who just wants to have a decent dedicated graphic card without spending too much on it. In those cases, this model will serve you really well.
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570
Here we have the second highest performing GPU in the RX 500 series. It was made to provide gamers with VR capabilities and high performance, with a seamless VR experience.
With support for AMD’s latest technologies such as FreeSync, Vulkan, Direct 12 and Liquid VR, it is definitely a top competitor in the budget graphic cards section.
Boasting 4GB of GDDR55 memory and a core clock of 1,300 MHz, 2,048 steam processors, along with 32 compute units, a 1,310 memory clock speed, it is definitely a powerful model.
It is also much quieter and 30% cooler than its predecessors, thanks to the DirectCU II with patented wing-blade fans, on 0dB fan technology.
It doesn’t have a special look when it comes to the exterior. It has a matte black cover, with two fans on top. But it does have the Asus Aura Sync RGB LED synchronization which allows you to customize lighting color through its software.
Finally, there are the VR-friendly HDMI ports, that let players enjoy an outstanding virtual reality experience.
Speaking of which, we played the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the Rise of the Tomb Raider, both on 1080p and both produced solid frame rates of 60-70 fps.
How to Choose a Good Gaming Graphic Card
Now, the simple answer to this question would be to just spend a hefty amount of money and buy the latest NVIDIA or Radeon graphic card. But, really, that’s the way to choose a really good graphic card.
But if you’re more budget conscious and wouldn’t want to go all in on your gaming setup, or you have a specific type of game you would like to play like MOBAs, MMO’s or FPS games, than there are a few models to look through.
Above all else, you can cut some serious corners in your price tag by buying a graphic card for just what you need. But if you want to make your machine into an absolute powerhouse, than by all means, go for the latest models available.
Other than that, it has to match the setup you already have or if you’re building a new one, you have to make sure that all of the other components of your PC will complement your graphic card.
It’s easy to have RAM that operates on a lower frequency than your GPU, making the whole system run much slower as a whole. If your computer is more than 5 or 6 years old, than you should upgrade your whole system, because it won’t hold out much longer.
So the first step to take is checking your computer’s current base hardware. You can download a handy program called CPU-Z, that will display every bit of information you’ll need to know whether your PC is too old or not to support one of the latest graphic cards.
Your CPU core speed should be at least 3,000 MHz and you should have double as much RAM as VRAM. So for example, if you’re buying a 4GB graphic card, you should have 8GB of RAM.
Since RAM comes pretty cheap, you won’t have a problem with this. Also, it would be best if you bought a card with GDDR5 memory, because it is the fastest and about 24% faster than a GGDR3 RAM for example.
Graphic cards take up a lot of power, so you’ll have to have a power supply that is able to fuel it and your entire system. The best way to go about it is to have a power supply of 500W or more that has at least two 8-pin PEG connectors.
The stunning image quality that a high-end GPU produces needs a monitor with high enough resolution, in order to shine in all of its glory. So, if you’re looking to enjoy some of the highest resolutions that current graphic cards can support, such as UHD, 4K (4096×2160 pixels).
Also, you can snatch a new monitor too, if you want to use a multi-monitor setup. Keep in mind that 4K gaming usually requires a lot more graphic performance. In short, don’t buy a 4K graphic card if you intend to use a 1080p monitor and don’t intend to upgrade in the future.
Finally, it’s important to take note of how much space there is inside your computer’s case. There should be enough room in it for such a massive gaming graphic card to fit, first and foremost.
It should have enough space in between components, so no component would interfere with your graphic card. It’s also important for it to have a little extra space so you can cool your system better. In short, have a little room around it.
Set Your Purpose and Budget
What do you want your graphic card to do for you? How much are you willing to spend on it?
Once you have made a decision in these two things, it’s pretty much a straight road towards finding the right graphic card. Do you want to play simple, turn based games like Civilization or Heroes of Might and Magic?
Or other less demanding games such as League of Legends and Dota 2? Do you intend to play with a 1080p display just for the sheer joy of the gameplay? Then you won’t need to spend more than $150-$200. If you don’t intend to run your games on ultra-high settings, than it will keep a lot of money in your pocket.
Or do you want to push the limits and enjoy 4K gaming with a multi-monitor setup and VR?
First off, always consider how much your PC is worth. Because spending more money on your GPU than what your entire system is worth, is usually a bad idea. But if you’re building a new PC, the cost of all the other components will definitely be higher.
Forget Some Misconceptions
The first and biggest misconception of all is that you can measure graphic card performance by the amount of VRAM it has. An even bigger misconception is that you can compare graphic card performance based on specifications. No, you cannot.
A 4GB graphic card that costs $150 isn’t an amazing deal and it definitely isn’t as good as the newer graphic cards for $1000+, not even if their clock speeds are similar.
The core difference in this case is its design architecture (the way it was built). You can’t compare spec sheets and say which graphic card is better. Even if they have similar design architecture and similar specs, you can’t make an accurate comparison when it comes to their performance.
So the way to find the graphic card that suits you the best is by looking at how games play on them. Because you won’t know how food tastes unless you actually eat it, right?
You have plenty of content online, from videos, reviews and articles. Just look them up and see how your perspective video card runs the game you wish to play. There are hundreds of websites talking about it, so you’ll definitely find a review that tells you how well these games would run. If you don’t want to put your nose into the specs sheet that much, this is the way to go.
Here they are! The current generation of overpowered and mid-range graphic cards. They produce solid frame rates and will serve all your gaming needs really well.
Some of them have their price sky rocketing while others managed to stay below $200 which is a pleasant surprise for budget gamers.
I hope that you have found this article useful and that we’ll see you again in the next one!