When you first start out with PC building, choosing components can be a daunting task. Choosing a graphics card is quite overwhelming because there are so many options so this beginners’ guide to buying a video card is here to simplify things for you.
The first question you need to ask yourself is what resolution do you intend to game at? You also need to consider the refresh rate you want to game at, 60hz or 120hz or 144hz? This article will be broken down into each resolution and refresh rate to simplify things for you. I will be looking at the cards in terms of price to performance in order to get the best performance without breaking the bank.
For 1080p gaming, my top choice for is the GTX 1050 ti from Nvidia with the cheapest custom models selling for around $140 dollars at the time of recording.
The AMD RX 480 is the red team equivalent but currently this graphics card is selling for well above its recommended retail price due to the continued cryptocurrency mining craze. The GTX 1060 performs better than the 1050 ti but is significantly more expensive so the 1050 ti is the better choice when it comes to bang for the buck, it can handle most modern triple A titles at 1080p on high settings at 60FPS so it doesn’t perform badly by any means.
The Nvidia GTX 1070 is the top choice for 1440p or 1080p at 144Hz. This card can play less demanding games at 1440p 60FPS on ultra settings, more demanding games have to be played on high or medium settings, the Witcher 3, for example, only surpasses the 60FPS mark at medium settings.
If you want to play 1080p 144hz, you will need to pair a powerful graphics card with a powerful CPU that is capable of keeping up with a fast card.
The 4K video card of choice is the GTX 1080 coming in at about $500, it’ll play modern games at 60FPS on medium or high settings depending on the game. If you want to play 4K at ultra with 60FPS then you’ll need a GTX 1080 ti which costs $700 or more, in my opinion it’s simply not worth it because the difference between medium or high, and ultra settings is not worth an extra $200.
The GTX 1080 is also the best 1440p 144hz graphics card from a price to performance stand point, again, the GTX 1080 ti will deliver better performance but the 1080 will cost you less and still allow you to achieve 144hz (you will also need a fast CPU capable of keeping up with the graphics card such as the Intel i7-8700k)
At the moment the graphics card situation is quite the green team monopoly, AMD has recently released the RX Vega 64 and 56 to compete with the GTX 1070 and 1080 but these are mediocre at best, they have a ridiculously high power draw, they are currently overpriced and don’t outperform Nvidia’s graphics cards, they only match them at best so I can’t recommend them, especially with the current pricing and lack of custom models.
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