The CPU may be called the Central Processing Unit, but every gamer knows that the GPU or to be more specific a discrete graphics card is the heart of every gaming machine. In fact everything you see on your computer screen is rendered by the GPU. Your PC’s ability to run games is directly determined by your GPU. Therefore, if you’re in the market to buy a new PC or simply upgrade your existing one, the right GPU is quintessential. This is our latest graphics card buying guide that will aide you in the same. At the time of publication AMD doesn’t have a strong graphics card lineup, especially in the enthusiast range, so this guide will focus specifically on the best graphics cards from NVIDIA.
As soon as AMD updates it’s GPU lineup, we’ll be sure to create a new guide or update this one. In this guide, we’ll be recommending graphics cards for every resolution along with the suitable in-game graphics setting. Furthermore, we would suggest against an SLI/CrossFire setup as games barely support multi-GPU configurations these days.
Best Graphics Cards For 720p Resolution
NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030
(Medium-High Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $90 (INR 7K)
The GeForce GT 1030 is ideal for sub-1080p resolutions thanks to it’s low power draw of 30 Watts and small size. It performs admirably in older DX9/11 games and popular eSports titles like CSGO and Overwatch. The power efficiency of the 1030 also allows for quiet fan profiles that keep the noise well below audible. The GeForce GT 1030 is perfect for a budget micro-ITX built that you can lug around on your back.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
(Ultra High Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $140
The GeForce GTX 1050 is the lowest end GTX card but at this resolution it packs quite a punch. At 720p, the GeForce GTX 1050 scores 60+ FPS in every benchmark we threw at it without dipping below 45 in any. It’s a capable card at even 1080p at medium settings, and is 10$ than the Radeon RX 560, it’s AMD rival. It’s 640 CUDA Cores pulsate at 1.5 Ghz but can possibly be overclocked a good 100-200 Mhz to maximize performance. If you are worried about the 2GB VRAM falling short, then you might want to consider the 1050Ti but at this resolution that is unlikely.
Best Graphics Cards For 1080p Resolution
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
(Medium-High Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $199 (INR 15.5K)
Based on the same GP107 chip that powers it’s sibling the GTX 1050, the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti features the fully unlocked chip with 768 cores and double the VRAM, making it the best budget card for 1080p gaming. The closest AMD card, the Radeon RX 570 is way more expensive ranging from 300-400+ USD making it an unwise choice especially considering it’s excessive power draw and old architecture. Some of the models require a 6-pin power connector while others draw power directly from the PCIe bus, so be sure to check that while buying if power consumption is a concern.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
(High-Ultra Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $220 (INR 30K)
The GeForce GTX 1060 is the recommended card for pretty much every game at 1080p. The GTX 1060 comes in two versions, a 3GB and a 6GB version. The 6GB one is obviously the one you should opt for as most games these days come with high resolution textures, requiring at least 6GB VRAM. The GeForce GTX 1060 handles most games at 1080p without breaking a sweat, but some of the more intensive titles like Kingdom Come and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will require you to lower the more intensive settings. While it should be able to run games at 1440p as well, we’d advise against that as it won’t last for long.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
(Ultimate Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $249 (INR 48K)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 has enough juice to run every game at the absolute max setting at FHD. Although it might sound a bit overkill for some, it’s not a bad choice if you think long-term. The GeForce GTX 1070 is based on the same GP104 board as the GTX 1070 Ti and 1080, but features a cut-down version of the same with 1920 cores and 8GB GDDR5 memory connected to a 256 bit bus. The GTX 1070 is also one of the cards we recommend for VR as it has ample firepower to run most VR games. Compared to the RX Vega 56, while it does fall short in some games, AMD’s Fiji based card is available at outrageous prices making it obsolete.
Best Graphics Cards For 1440p Resolution
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
(High Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $320 (INR 47K)
The GTX 1070 Ti is the ideal GPU for QHD. It features extra shaders and TMUs in comparison to the 1070, allowing for smoother performance at higher resolutions. The 1070 Ti is basically a 1080 with a smaller bus and regular GDDR5 memory and performs almost similar to the 1080. The GeForce GTX 1070 Ti also put the Vega 56 out of commission offering better performance at a more affordable price. Add a lower TDP and better thermals to that and the Vega GPU just falls out of favor.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
(Ultra Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $570 (INR 50k)
The former king of the hill, the GTX 1080 features the full fledged GP104 chip coupled with GDDR5X memory to give it the extra bandwidth required for QHD and UHD. The Fiji based Vega 64 performs similarly but due to price hikes and a dismal TDP, the Vega 64 is an impractical choice. The 1080 is also the best choice for VR as it boasts just the required firepower for those higher refresh rates. While the 1080 Ti also handles VR quite comfortably, we won’t recommend it just for VR as the 1080 is more than sufficient for the 1080p 90FPS most VR headsets run at.
Best Graphics Cards For 2160p Resolution
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
(High-Ultra Graphics Settings)
Starting Price: $789 (INR 70K)
For 4K, you got only one option and that is NVIDIA’s heavyweight, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. While you may be able use the 1080 at 4K, it won’t be future-proof. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is able to max out most games at 4K, but every now and then you’ll run into one that requires lowering of some settings to get the silky smooth 60 FPS experience. The 1080 Ti is built on the same GP102 chip as the Titan X but with a slightly trimmed bus, cache and ROPs. However it has a faster GDDR5X memory that makes up for the lost bandwidth and even beats the Titan in most games.
Benchmarks and Conclusion
As the next-gen Turing/Ampere cards roll out and hopefully in time AMD’s next offering, the graphics card landscape should change drastically. But as of now this is the best of what the industry has to offer. NVIDIA’s next architecture should debut very soon, likely at Computex and we’ll be keeping a close eye on the event.