When building a gaming computer, picking out the best graphics card to suit your needs is absolutely paramount to manifesting the best gaming experience. But here is the all-important question: what, exactly, constitutes suiting your needs?
Not everyone plays the same games, not everyone needs to max out their computers’ graphics technology. So when all is said and done, you may be left paying way too much for something that you did not really need, or you may get a graphics card whose specifications do not end up meeting your needs.
If you want to avoid the headache of picking out graphics cards, consult our handy list of some of the best graphics cards.
First off, let us give you the rundown of the graphics cards.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition graphics card utilizes the Nvidia GP102 graphics processor, and is one of the better choices in terms of raw power for gamers who want to get the most out of their gaming PCs.
Its GPU engine clock speed sits at a nice and solid 1,600MHz, while its memory clock speed sits at 11,000MHz. It sports a more than respectable 8GB graphics memory. With all of that, it is definitely a quality product as far as what it is doing. It is, however, a bit on the pricier side.
You can get it for all of $699.99. This is certainly no drop in the bucket, so you should definitely make sure you know what you are getting into with this graphics card. $700 is too large a sum of money to waste.
This graphics card WILL cover pretty much any base that needs covering, and if you have or want to get a 4K monitor at any point in the future, you would definitely do yourself a world of good to give this graphics card some serious thought.
MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2G OC
The MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2G OC graphics card is, relatively speaking, a more budgeted option. It uses the Nvidia GP107 graphics processor.
It is a great choice for gamers who do not have a serious interest in making a high-powered gaming PC or who simply cannot afford to do so (at least not yet anyway).
Of course, this does not inherently mean that the MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2G OC graphics card is not a solid graphics card in its own right.
It is capable of running games at 1080p, and it does so fairly quietly as well. Its GPU engine clock speed is set at 1,404MHz, and its memory clock speed at 7008MHz. Of the graphics cards on this list, this graphics card has by far the lowest graphics memory however with only 2GB (the only one close is the PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 470, with 4GB of graphics memory).
It is also a smaller than average graphics card for what it is able to do, It can be gotten for about $119.99 at websites such as Amazon.com, a pretty solid price point for all of what is being offered and definitely one of the top class graphics cards of its price range.
PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 470 (4GB)
If the MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2G OC graphics card is just too little for your needs, but other more expensive, higher-end graphics cards on this list are just too far outside of your price range, the PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 470 graphics card may be what you need.
Like the AMD Radeon RX 480, it uses the AMD Polaris 10 graphics processor and it has a GPU engine clock speed of 1,330MHz, plus a memory clock speed of 1750MHz. It lands right in the middle of the graphics cards options, offering 4GB compared to 2GB and 8GB for others.
You can buy it for $319.99, which is about what I would expect to spend on a graphics card of this quality.
This graphics card will not be able to cover all of the bases that you may want to have covered, so you absolutely should be mindful to do some reading on exactly what this thing can and cannot do as far as games that you want it to run. This price range has certainly improved recently from what it used to be, which is definitely a welcome sight for me.
Ultimately, the best graphics card for your tastes is going to come down to a simple question of what your needs are and what your tastes are. For example, my partner and I have pretty diametric tastes on gaming. I personally prefer to play more “artful” video games, while she likes to see more technical polish in her video games. So if I was the only one using my gaming PC, I might find myself preferring something down the middle of the road like the PowerColor Red Devil Redeon RX 470.
That would be adequate for me to play some of the most excellent artsy video games with a fair amount of ease, such as Ori and the Blind Forest, The Witness, and INSIDE. But because I have to (well, choose to – always happy to share with my girl!) share with my partner, I decided to splurge on my gaming PC and bought the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition graphics card.
I may prefer artsy video games, but that does not mean that I did not love the living heck out of playing awesome high performance video games from 2017, such as Destiny 2, Tekken 7, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (always been a fan of the Wolfenstein series). This graphics card really puts my 4K gaming monitor to proper use.
But hey, that is me, not you. The last thing you should want to do is define and dictate your tastes based on the preferences of my partner and I. The one good rule of thumb is to always work within what you can afford to spend on a graphics card for a gaming PC.
If you can only afford, say, the 2GB MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2G OC graphics card, your options are to either settle on that one or to wait and save up money until you can afford something better. For the most part though, you do not NEED to have a graphics card as powerful as the one that I am using.
I mean sure, it is definitely a cool thing for you to have if you want that level of visual fidelity to your video games, but you can play basically any video game on pretty decent specifications without having to spend all of $700.00 to do so.
Plus, if you do not have a 4K gaming monitor, that is one of the perks of that graphics card that does not really exist anymore. You can spend several hundred dollars less and play the biggest games without missing a beat. When all is said and done, the best principle that you can hope to follow is “you do you.”
Are you like me, and enjoy your games to be on the artsier side of things? Or are you like my bae, and prefer that your games ooze with an incredible level of visual flare? Or heck, maybe you are the happy middle ground of people who likes their games to be artistically AND technically beautiful?
Of course, these are not necessarily the only options at your disposal, there are quite a few others that you may consider. But if you want to have the best gaming experience of graphics cards this year, you would do yourself well to take the advice I gave you to heart.
I may not be the end all be all of gaming card opinions, but that does not mean that I do not know what I am talking about. Do not let a subpar graphics card be a drag on your gaming experience, make sure to get a graphics card that can actually run the games that you want to play. And always remember that no matter what you wanna play right now, that could easily change somewhere along the line.
So making sure that you future proof your gaming PC could be a good idea if you can pull it off!