Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: August 2014

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: August 2014
By

August gives you price reductions across the Radeon and GeForce line-ups. We also take a close look at AMD's Mantle graphics API, test PowerColor's new dual Radeon R9 290X and AMD's FirePro W8100, and talk about Nvidia's upcoming Maxwell-based cards.

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great, assuming you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, a gamer needs to know what the best graphics card is for their money. So, if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right card, then fear not. We've compiled a simple list of the best gaming cards offered in any given price range.

August Updates:

The only new graphics card to appear online in the last month was Nvidia's GeForce GT 730 64-bit DDR3, which we anticipated and talked about in July. At $70, it's the same price as the vastly superior GeForce GT 730 with GDDR5 memory on a 64-bit bus. That board dropped $5 on average, earning our only recommendation under $100.

Other GeForce cards became more affordable, too: the GeForce GTX 660, GTX 750 Ti, GTX 650, GT 630 GDDR5, and GT 620 sell for $5 less, landing at $180, $145, $105, $60, and $55, respectively. In addition, the $660 GeForce GTX 780 Ti and $240 GeForce GTX 760 both shed $10 in the last month.

Those changes don't alter our recommendations though, as AMD's prices also dropped. The Radeon R9 290X, R9 290, R9 280X, R9 280, R9 270, and R7 240 all cost $10 less than the last time we updated this column, landing at $520, $390, $290, $240, $170, and $60, respectively. The Radeon R9 270X became $20 cheaper, and at $180, it displaces the less capable but similarly-priced $170 Radeon R7 270.

As for GPU news, I recently took an in-depth look at AMD's Mantle. Those of you interested in a high-level overview of the API, along with the most detailed benchmarks available across a range of CPUs and graphics cards may enjoy AMD Mantle: A Graphics API Tested In Depth. Speaking of Mantle, we recently posted some news about future titles coded for AMD's API in our Report: GTA V to Have AMD Mantle Support.

Anyone looking for graphics card reviews to read should check out PowerColor Devil 13 Dual Core R9 290X 8 GB Review: Dual Hawaii on Air. Graphics professionals will also want to take a look at AMD FirePro W8100 Review: The Professional Radeon R9 290.

If you're looking for next-generation launch information, then join the club. We've heard plenty of murmurs about Nvidia's Mawell architecture (beyond what we already covered in our GeForce GTX 750 Ti stories, of course). With no official information circulating, we can't confirm any details. But other sites are reporting that we might see a GeForce GTX 880 in the September time frame.

Some Notes About Our Recommendations

A few simple guidelines to keep in mind when reading this list:

  • This list is for gamers who want to get the most for their money. If you don’t play games, the cards on this list are more expensive than what you really need. We've added a reference page at the end of the column covering integrated graphics processors, which is likely more apropos for home, office, and basic multimedia usage models.
  • Be sure to check out our new performance per dollar comparison page, where you can overlay the benchmark data we’ve generated with pricing, giving you a better idea where your ideal choice falls on the value curve. The criteria to get on this list are strictly price/performance.
  • Recommendations for multiple video cards, such as two Radeon cards in CrossFire mode or two GeForce cards in SLI, typically require a motherboard that supports CrossFire/SLI and possibly a chassis with plenty of space to install multiple graphics cards. These setups also usually call for a beefier power supply than what a single card needs, and will almost certainly produce more heat than a single card. Keep these factors in mind when making your purchasing decision. In most cases, if we have recommended a multiple-card solution, we try to recommend a single-card honorable mention at a comparable price point for those who find multi-card setups undesirable.
  • Prices and availability change on a daily basis. We can’t base our decisions on always-changing pricing information, but we can list some good cards that you probably won’t regret buying at the price ranges we suggest, along with real-time prices for your reference.
  • The list is based on some of the best U.S. prices from online retailers. In other countries or at retail stores, your mileage will almost certainly vary.
  • These are new card prices. No used or open-box cards are in the list. While these offers might represent a good deal, it’s simply outside the scope of what we’re trying to do.
Display all 43 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , August 6, 2014 10:51 PM
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2212229/graphics-cards-money-january-2012.html
  • 6 Hide
    blackmagnum , August 7, 2014 12:38 AM
    Why aren't the Intel integrated graphics updated on the chart (latest chip was HD 4000)? According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: July 2014, almost one fifth of the world game on Intel HD!
  • 0 Hide
    ta152h , August 7, 2014 2:25 AM
    I'm confused why Amazon is listed way above the recommend price. The R9 290, for example, is listed as a best buy at $390, then we have Amazon listed at $430. Amazon is the worst place, because they always make you pay tax, whereas other sites often times do not. Plus, I can get this card for $380 at Newegg, with only the slightest amount of effort.

    This is just one example, there are others where the price listed is significantly different, from Amazon, than the price it won at.

    It's a disservice to steer users to Amazon if they charge $40 more, plus possibly additional taxes. Why not just list the lowest cost one (if you don't want to pick a lousy version of the card, put one you think offers the best bang for the buck, or rotate them if there are several, and list the lowest cost for it, from the pooled sites)?
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , August 7, 2014 4:18 AM
    Quote:
    Why aren't the Intel integrated graphics updated on the chart (latest chip was HD 4000)? According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: July 2014, almost one fifth of the world game on Intel HD!

    It's not really that much of a loss; none of the Kaveri-based iGPUs are listed here either. For the 4600, I'd just pop up a single tier. Not sure with the 5000 series, perhaps HD 3850 512MB level, tops, for the 5200?
  • 0 Hide
    Xan13x , August 7, 2014 5:00 AM
    Quote:
    I'm confused why Amazon is listed way above the recommend price. The R9 290, for example, is listed as a best buy at $390, then we have Amazon listed at $430. Amazon is the worst place, because they always make you pay tax, whereas other sites often times do not. Plus, I can get this card for $380 at Newegg, with only the slightest amount of effort.

    This is just one example, there are others where the price listed is significantly different, from Amazon, than the price it won at.

    It's a disservice to steer users to Amazon if they charge $40 more, plus possibly additional taxes. Why not just list the lowest cost one (if you don't want to pick a lousy version of the card, put one you think offers the best bang for the buck, or rotate them if there are several, and list the lowest cost for it, from the pooled sites)?

    Amazon charging tax is going to depend on where you live. I believe, state side at least, there are 19 states that Amazon is required by law to collect tax in. If you live in one of those.... bummer, but, for instance in my state, there is no tax.

    I agree about the quality and choice of cards though. It would be nice to list not just the cheapest version, but one that doesn't have half the reviews on Newegg complaining of DOA RMA stuff. Also, with the midrange/older cards that have OC versions, that can be a big factor. Why recommend (purely an example not based on benchmarks) an R9 280, when there is an R9 270x OC for 40 dollars less with nearly identical numbers?
  • 0 Hide
    Memnarchon , August 7, 2014 5:15 AM
    Quote:
    It's not really that much of a loss; none of the Kaveri-based iGPUs are listed here either. For the 4600, I'd just pop up a single tier. Not sure with the 5000 series, perhaps HD 3850 512MB level, tops, for the 5200?


    Anandtech and Hardware.info place Iris Pro (5200) near GTX650M.
    Also notebookcheck has Iris Pro between Radeon R7 in A10-7850K and Radeon R7 in A10-7700K which are all just a little slower than GTX560M.
  • 2 Hide
    Treynolds416 , August 7, 2014 6:41 AM
    The amazon prices are also fucking with the price/performance chart at the end. I don't think $340 for a 760 is fair...
  • 0 Hide
    junkeymonkey , August 7, 2014 6:47 AM
    lets keep the text clean for the kids

    thanks
  • -2 Hide
    Zand1s , August 7, 2014 7:16 AM
    the gtx 780 costs but as much as the r9 290x or less I think it should be mentioned and has better drivers and run cooler.
  • 1 Hide
    baazing , August 7, 2014 7:34 AM
    Quote:
    the gtx 780 costs but as much as the r9 290x or less I think it should be mentioned and has better drivers and run cooler.

    Yeah but performance wise it's only really as good as the r9 290, which is 100 dollars less. That's probably the reason it's not in this "Best Graphics Cards for the Money" review. Also, the people who want the nvidia drivers/features probably won't put too much stock in the lack of recommendation. I feel GTX 770 would've also been deserving an honorable mention as it's slightly better than the 280x for 30 to 40 dollars more, but I understand why it was left out.
  • 4 Hide
    SilkyZ , August 7, 2014 7:47 AM
    price on the 760 is wrong.

    so very wrong
  • 2 Hide
    bdiddytampa , August 7, 2014 7:57 AM
    Quote:
    Why aren't the Intel integrated graphics updated on the chart (latest chip was HD 4000)? According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: July 2014, almost one fifth of the world game on Intel HD!


    I wouldn't trust the Steam statistics on that, I have a GTX 770 and the Steam software detects me as using HD 4000.... I can't be the only one it's detecting wrong :-P
  • 1 Hide
    darth_adversor , August 7, 2014 8:45 AM
    Still have a couple of issues with your recommendations.

    First, a quick search on Amazon reveals the 270X's are pretty much going for $200. I realize prices fluctuate often, and that I've also failed to account for other retailers, but in my opinion, the 270 (non X version) is consistently the better value. At stock, you're losing what...2 FPS in your average game? That can easily be made up with an overclock. So for me, I'd rather save the $20-30. Also, the 270 only requires 1 power connector, which would help to accommodate users with lower-end PSU's.

    Furthermore, based on your own recommendations, 2 R9 270's should be equal to or greater than 2 GTX 660's, while costing the same or less (less if you're a smart shopper).

    Anyway, great article otherwise. I always look forward to this every month. Thanks guys.
  • 0 Hide
    littleleo , August 7, 2014 9:28 AM
    Nice article, but one thing that jumps out at me is the GTX 760 you listed for $340 on the last chart. Your off by about $100, they sell for $230 and up. It must be a misprint because in the article you price it at $240
  • 4 Hide
    CaptainTom , August 7, 2014 10:03 AM
    LOL the 780 Ti gets an "Honorable Mention." For what? Worst deal ever?
  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , August 7, 2014 10:28 AM
    270X for $180. That's some monster performance for that price. Now to find an excuse to spend the money on something I don't really need yet . . .
  • -1 Hide
    lesmore2222 , August 7, 2014 11:35 AM
    Why is the NVidia GTX 750(non-ti) card not even mentioned in this article? The AMD 260X and NVidia GTX 750 are about the same price and the Tom's graphics benchmarks show that they trade punches depending on the game. The GTX 750 also uses almost half the power of the 260X.

    The NVidia GTX 750 is also the best pick for upgrading an old underpowered system IMO. $40 cheaper than the 750ti and I'd bet that there isn't a noticable difference when using an older processor. So why no mention?



  • -2 Hide
    lesmore2222 , August 7, 2014 11:40 AM
    Why is the NVidia GTX 750(non-ti) card not even mentioned in this article? The AMD 260X and NVidia GTX 750 are about the same price and the Tom's graphics benchmarks show that they trade punches depending on the game. The GTX 750 also uses almost half the power of the 260X.

    The NVidia GTX 750 is also the best pick for upgrading an old underpowered system IMO. $40 cheaper than the 750ti and I'd bet that there isn't a noticable difference when using an older processor. So why no mention?



  • 1 Hide
    rayden54 , August 7, 2014 5:35 PM
    @ta152h
    I think the same thing when anyone mentions Microcenter. From what I've seen, if you live near one you can usually get about a $40 discount, but you end up paying $30 in taxes. Yet, most of the people posting here never mention the taxes.
  • 1 Hide
    Survarium , August 7, 2014 8:03 PM
    best mid-range was r9 270 for only 160$
Display more comments
React To This Article