Graphics card is definitely the most important component when you want to play the games on high or ultra settings. With a powerful CPU only you cannot expect to play at 60fps maxed out but if you are willing to pay $100-$200 for a decent graphics cards like listed below, then you are most likely to end up at least 2 years playing on at least high settings.
Some graphics cards for under $200 can max out almost any game at 1080p and this is also the sweet spot for many gamers. These graphics cards are mid-ranged cards which are meant for 1080p 60fps or at least 40+ fps when you bump the settings to ultra.
For a build that comes under $500 or $600, these graphics cards are the best choice and are best matched with Intel Core i5 processors or AMD Ryzen processors. Many of these graphics cards are newly released and are fully DirectX 12 compatible so you won’t be regretting your choice if you buy any one of the listed below.
Note:- Currently only one graphics card is available under $200 right now. The list included GTX 1050 previously but it can now be bought for under $150.
GPU LIST (Prices as on 30th Oct 2018)
|EVGA Geforce GTX 1050 ti SC 4Gb||$185.00|
EVGA Geforce GTX 1050 ti SC 4Gb
When you want to play the games at 1080p ultra settings, you can not compromise with the VRAM. It’s a fact that all the latest games like GTA V, the Witcher 3, Rise of the tomb raider etc. use more VRAM than simple games like CSGO or Overwatch. It makes more sense to go with a 4gb card if you don’t want to compromise with the graphics quality.
The GTX 1050 ti is the successor of GTX 1050 and is 20% faster. This card is based on the Pascal architecture on which the GTX 1000 series cards are based which is very much power efficient and this card similar to the GTX 1050 doesn’t require a 6 pin or 8 pin power connector. It’s a very good card for the price you pay as it’s an intermediate between GTX 1050 and Rx 470. Although Rx 470 is much faster I feel that Nvidia has filled in the gap between the $110 and $170 price range by introducing a $130 card.
The EVGA SC edition is completely identical to the EVGA GTX 1050 and can be fit into any case. So for compact gaming PC’s these two are very good choices and will be best for budget gaming builds with a small mini-ITX case. As this is factory overclocked, you will get a small boost in performance as compared to the other brands like Zotac.
|Core Clock||1354MHz/1468MHz boost clock|
Important things to know before you buy a Graphics card
1. Price and Requirements
Make sure before you buy a graphics card, you know your budget. You can have $100 or even $500 for buying a GPU but if you are going to build a completely new PC then defining and distributing the expenditure between different components is a little difficult. If you are buying a new PC, then make sure you don’t buy an overkill graphics card for your CPU. A Pentium processor can’t handle RTX 2080 or GTX 1080 Ti. Similarly, a GT 1030 is too slow for an i7 9700K.
Another important thing is to define your requirements. Without knowing what you want, you can either overspend or underspend on your graphics card. If you are just starting out and want to enjoy some eSports or Casual games then a budget graphics card will be enough for the job. But in case you want to enjoy the games on ultra textures at 1080p or higher resolution then you will need to buy higher end graphics cards like GTX 1070 or RTX 2080 etc.
VRAM is the memory that is different from the main system RAM and is only dedicated towards providing the horsepower your graphics need. Every dedicated Graphics card has some dedicated VRAM which now in modern GPUs can vary from 1GB up to 16GB. To play games on higher settings at 1080p at least, you need to have around 3-4GB VRAM on your Graphics card. If you go lower than that, then you may have to lower down some of the settings in your games for getting good frames per second.
If you want to max out textures, anti-aliasing, foliage, shadows etc. in a AAA game, then you will need at least 6GB of VRAM that is present in GTX 1060 and higher-end Graphics cards. Right now, I don’t know of any game that utilizes more than that except in the case of higher resolution like 4K.
Low Profile graphics cards have smaller heatsinks and therefore aren’t efficient in maintaining good temperatures if you overclock them but graphics card with bigger aluminium heatsinks with copper heat pipes with 2 or more fans are extremely useful for maintaining good temperature even while overclocking to the full potential. If you are not doing any type of overclocking, you should still make sure that your PC chassis has enough ventilation for proper air intake and exhaust.
4. Power Supply
Different graphics cards have different TDP and their power consumption vary. So, you need to check the graphics card’s TDP before buying it. Make sure your power supply is having enough wattage capacity to run your whole system without any bottleneck.
A system that uses low end or budget components will have no problem in running on a 400 watts reliable power supply but when it comes to running a GTX 2080 Ti, i7 9700K, Multiple Fans, AIO coolers, and several storage devices, then you will need higher wattage power supply. Make sure you check the TDP of all of your components and see if your PSU still has enough wattage capacity to power your Graphics card.
Another important thing to note is the graphics card power ports. Make sure your Power supply has those power connectors that your graphics card requires. A GPU with 6-pin port will use a 6-pin power connector from the power supply. Generally, almost all the budget power supplies in modern day have a 6-pin power connector at the minimum. If your graphics card has 2x 8-pin power ports, your PSU must have those in order to run the graphics card with stability.
5. I/O Connectors
Sometimes a particular graphics card from a different manufacturer will not have the I/O ports for connectivity as your monitor requires to show the display. Check the I/O ports at the back of your monitor and also the I/O ports of the graphics card you are buying.
If your monitor is a 144Hz gaming monitor, then you must have a DVI port or a DP port on your monitor/GPU to get those 144Hz refresh rate smoothness. Make sure both your graphics card and monitor have these ports to avoid the mishappening.