If you’re looking to build your own PC, choosing a graphics card can be one of the most difficult decisions, particularly if you’re a gamer looking to at least somewhat future-proof your system. There are so many graphics cards options, making it easy to shell out thousands on the best of the best to ensure you have the best possibly system. However, spending an extra $300 on a GPU that is able to inch you out just a little bit more performance isn’t always worth the cost or even the way to go.
With that in mind, we’re going to show you why you don’t always need the best-of-the-best for a future proof system and what graphics cards can really give you high-end performance without spending too much.
Should you get a top graphics card?
First off, I’m not against pricey $5,000 graphics cards, but it’s certainly not always a feasible option. They have their place, as that few extra notches of performance could make a huge difference in doing film editing or creating detailed effects like you might see in a Hollywood movie like The Avengers. But, as far as something casual like gaming goes, spending $5000 on a single video card can be overkill.
You can get just as good performance with casual gaming in a $700 card. With that $700 card, you’ll be able to play games on their highest settings on a 4K setup. Not to mention that you could even get into virtual reality technology no problem as well.
So, what card should you get? It’s ultimately up to you an your budget, but if you’d rather save some dollars, the following three video cards will perform just as well as far as gaming performance goes and for so much less, too.
Gigabyte Radeon R9 Fury X
A great option for a build your own PC setup is the Gigabyte Radeon R9 Fury X. It has 4096 stream processor, a core clock of 1050MHz, 4GB of high-bandwidth memory and a 1000MHz memory clock. This graphics card is neat as it comes with an all-in-one liquid cooling system. The con is that you’ll need extra space in your case for the liquid cooling components. On the upside, this graphics card will be able to perform just fine with any 1080p or 1440p setup. Keep in mind that the graphics card does struggle with 4K. If you’re looking for something for a 4K setup, the Radeon R9 Nano or GTX 1080 are better performers.
Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano
The Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano is a favorite. It has 4GB of RAM, a memory clock of 1000MHz, 4096 stream processors and a core clock speed of 1000MHz. This graphics card is unique because of its slim profile. In fact, it’s so slim that you can fit it in plenty of mini-ITX cases. It’s not the most powerful graphics card on the block, but 4K and virtual reality gaming is still a breeze on this unit. The only downside is that there’s only a single DisplayPort output, but you also get an HDMI option as well as two DVI ports.
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
Looking to jump into the world of 4K resolution? Well, this is the graphics card for you! It has a lot going for it. With 8GB of RAM, a memory clock of 7,010MHz, 2,560 stream processors and a core clock of 1607MHz, this graphics card will provide you enough power to run many of your games at their highest setting and then some. You can power up to three 4K display all at once with its 3 DisplayPort output ports. There’s also an HDMI and DVI slot available, too.
The graphics card not only performs extremely well in gaming and your casual day-to-day stuff, but it’s an excellent contender for video editing and special effect creation as well. If you’ve got $700 to invest in a graphics card in your build your own PC setup, this one is definitely the way to go.
It’s important to remember that the higher the price of a graphics card doesn’t always equate directly to performance, especially in hobbies like gaming. We hope we helped you or a friend make a great choice on choosing a graphics card for your system. And, if you have a favorite you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment below or over in the PCMech forums!