What is The Best Graphics Card For Gaming?
If you have a gaming PC sitting at home, you probably have, at some point, asked this question. The most important part that goes into a gaming PC is, undoubtedly, the graphics card. It is the most expensive and decisive piece of hardware that determines your PC’s performance when it comes to gaming.
There are many factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a proper GPU for your computer, but the ultimate question remains unanswered yet: What is the best graphics card for gaming? While the question may seem easy to answer, it is actually not. Many factors have to be considered before spending money on a new graphics card. In this article, I am going to explain the 5 main rules you have to take into account before buying a new GPU for your system.
We all know that most people are very budget – oriented and gamers are no different. There are some people who have all the money in the world and can buy whatever they want, but for the rest of us, money is an important factor. You probably have gone through rough times saving enough money to do yourself a favor and replace your old graphics with a new one, which will boost your gaming experience. Budget is almost always the limiting factor when it comes to buying new PC components and the GPU is no exception.
Budget is almost always the limiting factor when it comes to buying new PC components and the GPU is the biggest limiting factor for gaming. Being budget-oriented is not necessarily a bad thing because, nowadays, you can build great systems with little money. You do not have to spend a fortune to enjoy your favorite games. No need to spend $800 on a new GPU if you can not afford it.
Screen Resolution& Refresh Rate
The resolution of your monitor is a very important factor, which should be considered, before going out and buying a new GPU. Most gamers are still playing on 1920×1080 ( FHD) monitors. At this resolution, even the top – tier graphics cards will not make any difference because they have to adapt to your monitor’s refresh rate and are not able to display more frames than your monitor’s refresh rate.
If you own a 60 Hz monitor, even if your new GPU can render 500 frames per second, you will not be able to see them as your monitor can only display 60 fps. Things change, however, if you have a 144 Hz monitor. In this case, you can fully take advantage of the graphical power your newly bought card offers, as you will be able to see 144 Hz per second, which is a much smoother experience compared to the standard 60 Hz refresh rate of most monitors. The difference between 60 Hz and 144 Hz is game-changing, metaphorically and literally. It is something you have to witness yourself. If you are looking into buying a great 1440p/144 Hz, check out my review of the AOC Agon 241QX.
In 2560×1440 resolution, all images and videos appear much clearer and better. The jump from 1080p to 1440p is worth considering if you plan to upgrade to a high-end graphics card like the Gtx 1080 or Gtx 1080 ti. In 1080p these cards are not able to unlock their full potential. If you plan on sticking to 1920×1080 a Gtx 1060 or AMD Rx 480/ 580 is your best bet.
Below, you can see a guide list on which GPU to buy according to your monitor’s resolution and refresh rate:
- Below 1920×1080: GTX 1050 Ti / RX 470
- 1920×1080 (1080p) 60 Hz: GTX 1060 / RX 580
- 1920×1080 (1080p)144 Hz : GTX 1070/ RX Vega 56
- 2560×1440 (1440p) 60 Hz : GTX 1070/ RX Vega 56
- 2560×1440 (1440p) 144Hz : GTX 1080/ GTX 1080 Ti/ RX Vega 64
- 3840×2160 (4k) 60 Hz: GtX 1080 Ti
By sticking to those recommendations you make sure that you get the most out of your new GPU in accordance with your monitor’s capabilities. The sweet spot for gamers has shifted from 1080 p to 1440p over the last years. Considering the fact that 4K Resolution is still enormously taxing, the greatest balance between performance and budget is 1440p resolution.
The processor is the second most important part that affects your Pc’s performance. It is always a good idea to have a CPU in your Pc, which can keep up with your graphics card, otherwise, you may experience severe bottlenecking. Bottlenecking is a term which is used to describe a component, which drags down your computer’s performance in comparison to the other parts in your system, the limiting factor essentially. Bottlenecking is a huge issue especially in 1080p because frames are much higher at this resolution and often times the processor has a hard time keeping up with the GPU. At higher resolutions, however, the CPU’s performance is not as important and, therefore, bottlenecking, is not an issue most of the time. Note that there will always be a component, which will limit your Pc’s performance in some way. You just have to be sure that the bottleneck will not be huge and that is why you should always have a good balance in your rig.
What does this all actually mean? Well, just make sure that before upgrading your graphics card, that your CPU can keep up with it. I would not pair an Intel I3 6100 with a Gtx 1080ti for example, as the processor would severely bottleneck the Gtx 1080ti. If you are able to spend 700-800$ on a graphics card, you should also be able to buy a good CPU, which can handle that amount of graphical power.
Below I will show you how to balance out your rig’s performance by combining CPU and GPU:
- GTX 1050 Ti / RX 470: I3 6100/Ryzen 3 1300x
- GTX 1060 / RX 580: I5 7500/ Ryzen 5 1500x
- GTX 1070/RX Vega 56: I5 7600k/Ryzen 5 1600
- GTX 1080/RX Vega 64: I5 7600k/Ryzen 5 1600
- GTX 1080 Ti: I7 7700k/Ryzen 7 1700
Power efficiency is an often overlooked factor. Many gamers just tend to buy the best card performance-wise and totally forget about power efficiency. However, if you are living in a region where electricity is not cheap and you have your PC on 24/7, chances are that your power hungry card may cost you even more down the line. Over the last years, although, GPU manufacturers have done a great effort producing graphics cards which are extremely powerful and power efficient at the same time.
Nvidia’s latest Pascal series of GPUs is extremely power efficient while offering great performance. AMD, on the other side, has much more power hungry graphics cards. If you intend to use your PC for many hours every day, do not overlook power efficiency as it will reduce your electricity costs. Another advantage of low power draw is the fact that you do not need a big power supply to deliver power to your GPU, which will result in spending much less for a power supply as well.
Every GPU on the market has its own cooling system, which means that you do not need to install an additional cooler to ensure that your graphics card will run nice and cool. On launch, Nvidia and AMD launch their versions of their product, which have limited cooling capabilities. Shortly after, GPU manufacturers like MSI, Evga, and Gigabyte launch their aftermarket versions of those GPUs, which come equipped with better coolers and more headroom for overclocking and tuning in general.
It is always recommended to buy an aftermarket version of the GPU you are interested in because they launch at almost the same price as the “Founder’s Edition cards” and have better cooling potential and are aimed towards gamers specifically. A cooler GPU will result in a much cooler system, which in turn ensures better stability and longevity of your system. All aftermarket versions of a specific GPU are in the same performance range, so choose according to aesthetics and cooling capabilities.
Now let us go back to our question: What is The Best Graphics Card For Gaming?
It s obvious that to answer this question we have to consider all 5 factors before deciding on which card to buy. The most important part, however, is for you to do you research and buy a card based on your needs and desires. You need to justify to yourself why you have chosen a specific card over another. By doing this, you make sure that you do not spend too much or too little money and that you are happy with your product in the end, which is all that matters.
I hope you like my review. If you have any questions or would like to share your opinion, feel free to do so by leaving a comment below and I will answer as quickly as possible.