For any avid gamer, the key piece of hardware has always been the graphics card. This piece of silicon allows you to get the best image quality possible and enhances your whole experience. However, picking out the best one for you is going to be an almighty task.
Lucky enough, we here at Windows.Appstorm have decided to the make the whole process much easier. We’ll be covering GPU’s in our third computer builders article this week!
I’m going to be looking at three categories today, differentiating between price. Hopefully, one of the bands of GPU’s will be suited towards your budget and needs. Read on to find out more!
Editor’s Note: Newer releases from Nvidia and AMD have muddled the waters by quite a bit here. That being said, the core information is still valid and I hope this guide has been of use to you. We’ll be updating this guide shortly with updated hardware.
In this first tier, every GPU will be under $100. This is the lowest price range and, hopefully, you aren’t looking for spectacular performance. But, there may be a few surprises along the way!
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670
The first chip I’ll be looking at is the Radeon 6670, and for only $90 (and cheaper elsewhere) this is definitely a good contender. The first thing you’ll notice is that the 6670 has a core clock speed of 800MHz which is a nice solid figure which will surely allow you to play a range of games. With DVI, VGA and HDMI inputs too, this GPU is compatible with nearly every computer setup.
For the price that it is you should really be considering this if you’re a gamer on a budget. For what you’re actually getting, this is a sound buy for anyone.
Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7750
Gigabyte as a very reputable company which I have used in the past. Being very reliable and cost effective, this is also a good choice for this price range. Like the previous GPU, this chip has a high core clock speed, with a value of 880MHz.
It ships already overclocked which is great if you’re not the hardware tinkering kind, the majority of users. The GPU is cooled by a 100mm fan too, keeping your chip cold at all times. This fan is also silent, stopping any nuisance with noise.
The inputs on the 7750 come as follows: DVI, D-SUB, HDMI. With a memory clock of 5000Mhz, the Radeon 7750 is really a faster version of the 6670. Personally, I would choose this over the other.
EVGA GeForce 8400
The final GPU in this price band is the cheapest by far. Costing only $29 this is definitely an ultra budget chip. So, as you would expect, the performance here isn’t going to be too impressive.
The first considerable difference is that the core clock clock is only 520Mhz, quite a low value. The chip also has 8 CUDA cores as well as a 1024MB 64-bit memory capability.
Inputs include: DVI, HDMI, VGA. In conclusion, this is great if you need a cool running GPU for your HTPC or media rig.
In this tier, the prices will range from $150 to $300. This is probably going to be the category that appeals to the most people as this is a reasonable amount to pay for a decent GPU. Although, after searching for hours I only came across two worthy candidates. Both are brilliant in their own right. The choice is definitely up to you.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti
The 560 is definitely a machine of power. With a core clock of 900Mhz and a memory clock of 4000Mhz this chip has a big bang. Being able to cope with every game won’t be a problem here. One highly desirable feature is the two Windforce fans with anti-turbulence cooling system. This is probably the best cooling system I’ve seen on a GPU and staying cold is not going to be a problem. Something to always bear in mind is the PSU which is required: on this particular device you will need a 500W PSU.
It also supports 3D Vision, Nvidia’s revolutionary technology, (this is explained in detail later on in the article.) The inputs consist of two DVI-I and a mini-HDMI. All in all, this is a great piece of kit which isn’t too expensive.
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950
The second in this band is the Radeon 6950, an AMD chip. This is the cheaper of the two, but by hardly anything. The GPU has an 800Mhz core clock and a memory size of 2048mb. This is a bit slower than the last but that is assumed because of the difference in price. Inputs include are DVI, HDMI, 2 Mini-Display Ports and a DVI-D. The most compatible of all chips in today’s article for sure.
Being one of the upper class AMDs, Eyefinity comes as standard. In conclusion, this is a mid priced GPU which is powerful, smart and clever. Playing high end games isn’t going to be a problem with the 6950.
These are the most expensive GPU’s so you’re going to need to fork out a bit more than the rest. But with the high cost comes high performance.
AMD Radeon HD 6970
AMD is one of the most well known hardware companies in the world, and putting one in wasn’t a tough decision. The AMD Radeon HD 6970 is a GPU which costs just under $450, a price which is pretty reasonable in the current market. This particular model showcases a range of different features, so let’s see how much you bang you get for your buck.
The GPU has a memory clock speed 1.4Ghz and the memory size comes in at 2GB. The faster clock speed gives better all round processing power. Memory amount is a number which you should look for too: 2GB is the norm amount for high end GPU’s, but make sure to check the rest of your hardware is compatible. This also comes with Eyefinity, AMD’s highly acclaimed multi-screen support which allows for up to six monitors to run off a single unit. The Radeon also has a core clock speed of 880Mhz.
The ports include 2 DVI, 2 Mini-Display ports, and one HDMI – this will probably be compatible with any recent computer. The hardware is also cooled by its own fan.
All in all, this is a fantastic piece of kit possessing all the necessary features and abilities for the PC gamer.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580
Personally, I’ve always preferred Nvidia because of their quality and class. The 580 is the first of two in this band and the most expensive. Hopefully, we’ll be able to differentiate between the two!
The first significant difference between this and the 6970 is that the the core clock speed is only 772. This is much lower than the other, although, this is still a huge amount and could easily run anything. Also keep in mind that pure hertz number isn’t a great way to figure out performance anymore.
The card also only has 1.5GB of memory, which may not be enough for some gamers. Some faith is restored in that the memory clock speed is 2.0Ghz though. This GPU has been referred to as one of the fastest of its type and I’m sure it won’t let you down.
The monitor support for the 580 is “3D Vision Sound”, what I believe to be the best in the world. Nvidia has crafted this technology which allows for up to three HD monitors to run at one time — a great feeling for any PC gamer! The ports available are two DVI again, and unlike the AMD, a mini-HDMI. These may not be as accessible as the last, but nonetheless, a great, but expensive GPU!
ATI Radeon HD 5870
The ATI Radeon HD 5870 is of course another AMD GPU. Costing $470 dollars this is only $30 more than the last. The ATI has the lowest memory clock speed and memory size with only 1.2Hz and 1GB. However, this card does make up for it with a core clock speed of 850, a value only a bit lower than the first Radeon.
Again, the ATI uses Eyefinity monitor support. Although, this may be weaker than the Nvidia setup, this supports double the amount of monitors – and that must mean something. The ports on the ATI are: 2 DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 display port. A nice variety of compatibility options. A very reasonable GPU which is fast and highly able.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 470
The last Nvidia in the article is the 470. The cheapest of the four we’ve looked at today and personally, one of my favourites. One significant difference between the two is that this one has less power. With a core clock speed of 607, this is much lower than all the others. The memory clock speed is 1.7HZ and the memory is 1.3GB. These may not be as high as others, but, these are still reasonable values.
This is again supported by the “3D Vision Surround” and has the same ports as the 580, 2 DVI’s and a mini-HDMI. Unlike the AMD GPU’s, the Nvidia’s also contain heat pipes, as well as a fan. A better way to cool your hardware, and keeping everything running smoother. In conclusion, a relatively cheap card which still possesses some fantastic features.
I hope you’ve found your next purchase above, or at least one will take your fancy. Each one of them is a worthy competitor and could easily fit into your computer setup. At the end of the day it depends on two things, budget and needs. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find your perfect one!
What GPU do you use? What’s your computer setup? Let us know in the comments below!