Upgrading your video card or graphics card if you prefer is one of those upgrades which will allow your Desktop computer to have a better brighter lease of life and allow you to play games or playback and a better rate than before. Or perhaps you are upgrading to add functionality such as additional video out connectors so you can add a monitor or work from home.
Video rates and video connectors are still important even if you are a casual gamer.
Folks use video games as a way to pass the time. I mean, aside from working at home, what else is there to do than to play video games, right?, watch or stream, multi setups, HD or 4K pixel glory right.
Or, if you are feeling generous, you can contribute your GPU computing power to help research in diseases - This is called folding using GPU or CPU to combine with many to help in research. Either way, upgrading your video cards seems like a decent idea. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the next-gen AMD and Nvidia cards are coming this year so buying a card right now may not be the wisest choice if your current GPU can still hold on. Otherwise, there are still a bunch of decent options out there justifying an immediate purchase.
There are various options from Team Green (Nvidia) and Team Red (AMD) depending on your budget. Want to game at ultra 4K 60fps+? You need to get one of the high-end cards that can cost you something like $700 to do the job. You can also game at a lower resolution but a higher refresh rate (e.g. 1440p 120Hz) with these cards. If you simply want to get optimum experience at 1440p or 1080p, there are even more choices you can get ranging from $112 to $500. Here are some of the best choices for graphics cards tailored to your budget.
Starting from £97/$120, this card provides a great value. Since the AMD Polaris card has been around for a few years, the price is undoubtedly way cheaper compared to its MSRP. The difference is even more apparent if you compare it with the period of mining craze when one of these bad boys can easily cost you more than ~£240/$300.
RX 570 4GB is an especially great upgrade if you are coming from the ‘hardship’ of integrated graphics. Being a budget card, it’s a beast at 1080p, easily reaching 60 fps on most games. The performance is comparable to Nvidia’s GTX 1650, which is available for about $20-$40 more. Still, this card has its own drawback: the power hungriness. At full load, it can draw 150W for the card alone. With that said, it’s not that big of a deal as long as you have an adequate power supply with an 8-pin connector.
At a higher price point of £180/$230, GTX 1660 Super provides the all-around best price to performance against the competitors. The AMD competition to this card is RX 5500 XT 8GB that can be obtained for just $20 less. However, it falls behind 20% in terms of actual performance, making the 1660 Super a no-brainer choice.
Otherwise, there is also the slightly cheaper and slower RX 590 that has a similar price to performance with this card. However, since RX 590 is a last-gen card, picking the newer 1660 Super is a safer bet for more compatibility.
As for other variants, the GTX 1660-Ti is slightly faster but more expensive. It can’t be compared to 1660 Super though, which gives you way better value. Unfortunately, you can’t get the talk of the town feature, Ray-tracing, with this card just yet. Yet, to be fair, most people are not super concerned about it.
Again, power consumption is the main weak point. At 125W, it’s slightly less power-hungry than the RX 570 so make sure your PSU has an 8-pin PCIe power connector ready.
Right now, RX 5700 is arguably the best mid-range GPU on the market when we take the price into the equation. At Newegg, the cheapest we can find is sold for £270/$333 as of April 2020. There’s also a rebate option that can get you further price cut which brings down the price to $300, add to that with free Resident Evil 3 game and 3 months’ worth of XBOX Game Pass. It’s a pretty good deal for the kind of performance you’ll get.
The competition from the Team Green also exists in the form of RTX 2060 6GB, which is available for £440/$320 on the same site. When we talk about performance though, the RTX is trailing behind as it is, on average, 11% slower in either 1080p or 1440p. What about ray tracing?
Let’s be honest, the technology is indeed exciting but it’s not quite plausible to pick a worse performing card because of ray-tracing at about the same price. Besides, RTX 2060 is considered an entry-level ray-tracing GPU that may not give you the desired result when you turn the feature on. The decreased performance due to RTX ON can be mitigated with deep learning super sampling (DLSS) but the implementations vary depending on the game.
At $499, this card is a perfect choice if you want to get a real taste of ray-tracing while also preventing the budget from soaring too high. One of the best aspects of this card is that it has a very close performance to the now discontinued RTX 2080. It’s only a few percent slower whilst also being way cheaper.
Faster than the 1080 Ti and every AMD GPU on the market, this card can comfortably treat you with the ultra-visual setting at 1440p. For 4K, it is still possible. However, good luck finding current AAA games that can give you the same experience at the highest setting. Fret not, though, medium to high setting is still plausible so 4K gaming is not out of reach at all.
Beware of power consumption. At full load, the card consumes about 215W hence your PSU needs to have enough power.
At this price range, there are not that many options as before in terms of GPU. Furthermore, AMD doesn’t have a single card that can compete with Nvidia at this level. RTX 2080 Super is a decent card for $700. It’s about 16% faster than the RTX 2070 Super while being 40% more expensive. Why is that?
The more you climb higher in the GPU hierarchy, the less frame per dollar ratio you will get. If you want to get the best bang for the buck, you need to look at the cheaper graphics card. However, for those who want to get an excellent performance but don’t want to get all-in with the price just yet, RTX 2080 Super is the ideal choice.
Needless to be said, the card has a bunch of neat features such as ray-tracing, DLSS, and, of course, great performance at 4k and 1440p. You may still not get the ultra-setting in 4K at all games, but at least you can have a high setting. To be fair, the differences between ultra and high are often not obvious so no biggie.
Finally, we arrive at the last boss. If the price is a little of your concern, RTX 2080 Ti is definitely that one card you should pick up. If you can find them. These super high end cards are not made in large numbers, so its more a look what is coming but not to the masses just yet. It’s one of the fastest commercial GPUs on the planet, behind the No. 1 Titan RTX that has 3-5% more performance for more than double the price. That’s a no-no. The excess money might as well be used for other equipment such as a VR headset if you haven’t already had one.
With a current price of ~£1000/$1100, this card clearly doesn’t provide a decent price to performance. It’s aimed for the enthusiast who wishes to have the best GPU around without minding the price. Never mind 1080p, this card is a killer at both 1440p and 4K. You can expect to get a comfortable experience at all games in 4K Ultra, and this beast will be future proof for a long time gaming, media or any use. I wish I could have one!
If we compare this card with the last-gen 1080 Ti, it’s about 30 to 40% faster. The higher the resolutions, the difference will become more apparent. Still, buying this card now might not be a wise choice since the next-gen architecture, Nvidia Ampere, is predicted to launch later this year. Either way, this card will still be up there for years to come.