At the time of purchase, PC gamers need to know what the best GPU for the money is. And if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, fear not, we've compiled a simple up-to-date list of the best GPUs for gaming at the most popular resolutions, virtual reality, and eSports.
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Best GPUs For Gaming
Update 8/21/2017: reviewed the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (not listed).
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Although the last month was tame insofar as graphics card launches went (there were none), a tumultuous market means that it’s time to take another critical look at our recommendation list.
First and foremost, we published our Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 2GB Review, giving you a look at GP108’s performance compared to Intel integrated graphics, higher-end Pascal-based cards, Maxwell, and AMD’s Polaris family. In the end, we decided that the $70 Gigabyte card we reviewed deserves to be our list’s starting point. Not only is it faster and cheaper than Radeon RX 550 in e-sports titles, but it’s physically smaller, quieter, and more power-friendly. We only bemoan that GT 1030 falls behind AMD’s card once you shift over to DirectX 12-based games.
The Radeon RX 460 we recommended last month is now almost completely sold out, and those that remain are much more expensive than the ~$90 we were willing to spend back then. Now, our policy is to only recommend cards we’ve tested (that’s why we passed over Nvidia’s GT 1030 last month). But that’d leave a big gap between our entry point and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti at ~$155. Given a known Stream processor count and clock rate, it’s fairly safe to guess where AMD’s Radeon RX 560 lands, and we’re going to give it a pass this month at $110 until we get our own review up.
Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti holds onto its position then, particularly in light of outrageous Radeon RX 570 prices starting at $240. Even if you are willing to pay a steep premium, AMD’s solution wasn’t in stock anywhere when this was written.
The GeForce GTX 1060 6GB maintains its recommendation as well, though availability of the card at $250 is disturbingly limited. The issue, of course, is that cryptocurrency miners are maintaining pressure on top-end Polaris-based cards, and this is now bleeding over into Nvidia’s line-up. We keep a close eye on that relationship in a regularly-updated news piece called The Ethereum Effect: Graphics Card Price Watch.
It seems as if there aren’t enough higher-end cards to satisfy demand from miners and gamers, either. Surely nobody is happy about a GeForce GTX 1070 up above $450. But that’s where they sit, unless you can swoop in on one of the lower-priced models as it lands in stock.
Naturally, GeForce GTX 1080 remains our recommendation for good 4K and VR performance. There is one model at $510, but the rest sell for $550 and up.
Once you hit the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti level, you’ll find a Gigabyte card available at $700, a couple more options at $710, and two others at $720. The inflation isn’t quite as bad; that doesn’t mean we’re happy about it, though.
Good @ 720p & eSports
Best @ 720p & eSports
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Good @ 1080p
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Best @ 1080p | Good @ 1440p
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Best @ 1440p & SLI | Good @ VR
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Good @ 4K | Best @ VR
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Best @ 4K