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[TechRadar] Buying Guide: The 10 best graphics cards in the world
Buying Guide: The 10 best graphics cards in the world

<img src="" alt="Buying Guide: The 10 best graphics cards in the world"/><h3>Best Graphics Cards</h3><p><strong>Update: </strong><em>AMD has</em> <a href="">confirmed the specs</a> <em>of its insanely affordable new Polaris graphics cards, complete with support for both VR and high-dynamic range color standards.</em></p><p>As PC gamers, we know the importance of a capable graphics card. Sure, your monitor and even your mouse matter. But nothing determines how high you can bump your visual settings up quite like the GPU. Problem is, there are so many different cards to choose from with each one claiming pixel-pushing perfection, even when that's drastically untrue.</p><p>The simple solution is to go for the best of the best, the cream of the crop. In other words, the most expensive. For those of us whose money in fact does not grow on trees, this means shooting for the best bang-for-buck deal on a set budget. Keep in mind that you'll need to <a href="">choose the rest of your parts</a> wisely once you've found your perfect match GPU.</p><p>If you have a 4K, or even 1440p, monitor for instance you're going to need a high-end graphics card to make the most of it. But, equally, there's little point unloading on the finest GPU money can buy if it's being bottlenecked by an old CPU or feeding a feeble screen.</p><p>With all that in mind, here's our guide to the fastest cards for the dollar money can buy. And, if you want to see how your own card compares, check out our <a href="">benchmarking guide</a>!</p><p><img src="" alt="best graphics cards" width="420"></img></p><h3>1. EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Unparalleled performance</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 2,560 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1,607MHz | <strong>Memory:</strong> 8GB GDDR5X | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 7,010MHz | <strong>Power Connectors:</strong> 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin | <strong>Length:</strong> 266.7mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:EVGA%20GeForce%20GTX%201080%20Founders%20Edition "><p>EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Great all around performance</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Makes 4K gaming viable</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Great all around performance</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Makes 4K gaming viable</div><p>If you want proper entry into 4K gaming, the Titan X no longer reigns supreme. With the launch of Nvidia's Pascal architecture, you can get the performance of two 980Tis for a fraction of what you'd spend on an EVGA Titan X SuperClock. Of course, no graphics card is perfect. This GTX 1080 falls prey to an early adoption tax in what Nvidia calls the &quot;Founders Edition&quot; model, based on the reference set by the company and manufactured by EVGA. Though you may want to wait for the inevitable launch of more affordable, more powerful GTX 1080 GPUs from third parties, the GTX 1080 is undoubtedly the best in its class right now – as if it's even a contest.</p><p><img src="" alt="Zotac 980 Ti" width="420"></img></p><h3>2. Zotac GeForce GTX 980Ti AMP Extreme Edition</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Nearly 1080 power without the 1080 cost</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 2816 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1253MHz | <strong>Memory: </strong>6GB | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 7220MHz | <strong>Power Connectors: </strong>2 x 8-pin | <strong>Length:</strong> 267mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:Zotac%20GeForce%20GTX%20980Ti%20AMP%20Extreme%20Edition "><p>Zotac GeForce GTX 980Ti AMP Extreme Edition</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk">Nearly equal to GTX 1080</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk">Even closer to GTX 1080 with OC</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk">Nearly costs as much as GTX 1080</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Only worth it for high-res gaming</div><p>Though it can't match the GTX 1080 in terms of video memory (6GB versus 8GB GDDR5X), the GTX 980Ti offers a higher clock speed. And, with the right amount of overclocking, it can even beat that card. Cards with the &quot;AMP&quot; moniker usually mean business, and this card lives up to its name. It'll let you game in resolutions up to 4K, even if can't reach that glorious 60 fps standard at that pixel count. The 980Ti AMP Extreme Edition may be better value than the GTX 1080 Founders Edition, but it's far from cheap, costing around the same as a budget (or entry level, mid-range) gaming PC.</p><p><img src="" alt="R9 Fury X" width="420"></img></p><h3>3. Gigabyte Radeon R9 Fury X</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Uses an all-in-one liquid cooling system and new High-Bandwidth Memory</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 4096 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1050MHz | <strong>Memory: </strong>4GB | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 1000MHz | <strong>Power Connectors</strong>: 2 x 8-pin | <strong>Length: </strong>195mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:Gigabyte%20Radeon%20R9%20Fury%20X "><p>Gigabyte Radeon R9 Fury X</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> High bandwidth memory</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Over 4,000 stream processors</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Only 4GB of HBM, struggles at 4K</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Water-reservoir takes up space</div><p>If you're urging for a GPU that does it all, the R9 Fury X is the best AMD has to offer. Hauling an all-in-one liquid cooling system and the latest high-bandwidth memory technology may seem like a heavy workload, but Gigabyte's Radeon R9 Fury X pulls it off all the same. </p><p>There is a catch, however, to what appears to be a future-proof gaming spectacle. Not only will you need space for an extra radiator-fan combo a la the liquid cooler, but 4GB of HBM memory is awfully limited compared to the 8GB of GDDR5X you can get with the GTX 1080 for a similar price.</p><p>On the upside, the Fury X can easily handle anything at 1080p and in most cases even 1440p. Throw a 4K game in the mix, though, and it's a different story altogether.</p><p><img src="" alt="Radeon R9 Nano" width="420"></img></p><h3>4. Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Tiny graphics card packs a big punch</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 4096 |<strong> Core Clock:</strong> 1000MHz | <strong>Memory:</strong> 4GB | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 1000MHz | <strong>Power Connectors</strong>: 1 x 8-pin | <strong>Length:</strong> 152mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 2 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:Sapphire%20Radeon%20R9%20Nano "><p><a href="">See more Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano deals</a></p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Beautifully small</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Low power consumption</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Small size doesn't make it cheaper</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Not quite as powerful as the Fury X</div><p>Building a small PC no longer means passing on power thanks to new graphics cards like the Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano. AMD's dinky video card is short enough to squeeze into the smallest of PC cases without sacrificing the raw grunt that you get from high-end cards. Highly efficient for a Fiji GPU, it has the same 4GB of 4096-bit HBM memory found in the Fury X, with an identical number of texture units and ROPs. The clock speed is 5% lower, but on the plus side you won't need as huge power supply to go with it due to the power envelope dropping to just 175W.</p><p><strong>Read the full review: </strong><a href="">Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano</a></p><p><img src="" alt="Palit GeForce GTX 970 Super JetStream" width="420"></img></p><h3>5. MSI GeForce 1070 Gaming X</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Titan X performance at a GTX 980 cost</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 1,920 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1,607MHz | <strong>Memory:</strong> 8GB GDDR5 | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 8,108MHz | <strong>Power Connectors:</strong> 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin | <strong>Length:</strong> 279mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:MSI%20GeForce%201070%20Gaming%20X "><p><a href="">See more MSI GeForce 1070 Gaming X deals</a></p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Strong 1440p performance</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Affordable reference card</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Founder's Edition still too pricey</div><p>We all know that 1440p is the new 1080p, and so does Nvidia. That's why it's taken the new Pascal architecture and devised the GTX 1070, complete with a 1,607MHz base overclock and 8GB of 8,108MHz, GDDR5 RAM. What's more, this VR-ready card is more powerful than a Titan X for a fraction of the price. Still, while you'll be able to play everything at the highest settings at humblebrag-worthy frame rates at either 1080p or 1440p resolution, the £410 (around $584 or AUS$792) price tag of the MSI's 'Founders Edition' Gaming X card is notably more expensive than what we'll see in the coming months from AIBs, or add-in boards.</p><p><strong>Read the full review: </strong><a href="">MSI GeForce 1070 Gaming X</a></p><p><img src="" alt="Sapphire" width="420"></img></p><h3>6. Sapphire Radeon R9 Tri-X 390X</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>AMD's card has the GTX 980 in its sights</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 2816 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1055MHz |<strong> Memory:</strong> 8GB | <strong>Memory Clock: </strong>6000MHz | <strong>Power Connectors:</strong> 2 x 8-pin | Length: 308mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 2 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:Sapphire%20Radeon%20R9%20Tri-X%20390X "><p>Sapphire Radeon R9 Tri-X 390X</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Lower price than GTX 980</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Triple-fan cooler from Sapphire</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> GDDR5 memory rather than HBM</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> 375W power consumption</div><p>When it comes to cost, the Radeon R9 Tri-X 390X sits somewhere between Nvidia's GTX 970 and 980 cards. It often gets the better of the former card, though the 970 performs better in some games. The Tri-X 390X produces blistering frame rates at resolutions up to 2,560 x 1,440 with all graphic details dialled up to 10. Featuring 2,816 stream processors and a core clock speed of 1,055MHz, it doesn't quite pack the muscle required for 4K gaming unless you're playing lesser demanding titles.</p><div><img src="" alt="MSI GTX 970" width="420"></img><br /></div><h3>7. MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming Edition</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Value meets performance in Nvidia's capable card</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 1664 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1140MHz | <strong>Memory:</strong> 4GB | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 7010MHz | <strong>Power Connectors:</strong> 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin | <strong>Length: </strong>269mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 2 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:MSI%20GeForce%20GTX%20970%20Gaming%20Edition "><p>MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming Edition</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Best performance for under £300</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Still equipped to handle 1440p</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Struggles with high detail at 4K</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Still a whole lot of cash</div><p>A variant of one of the most popular graphics cards around, the GTX 970 Gaming edition is a 1080p monster. You could even get away with gaming at 2,560 x 1,440, though you'll have to temper expectations when it comes to 4K. Featuring 1,664 stream processors, a core clock of 1,140MHz and 4GB of memory, the GTX 970 offers the mainstream performance you may be looking for without breaking the bank.</p><div><img src="" alt="380X" width="420"></img><br /></div><h3>8. Asus Radeon R9 380X OC STRIX</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>Consoles beware, the OC STRIX delivers stunning 1080p performance</p></div><p><strong>Stream processors:</strong> 2,048 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1,030MHz | <strong>Memory:</strong> 4GB GDDR5 | <strong>Memory Clock: </strong>1,425MHz | <strong>Power connections</strong>: 2x 6-pin | <strong>Length:</strong> 271mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 2x DVI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 1.4</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:Asus%20Radeon%20R9%20380X%20OC%20STRIX "><p>Asus Radeon R9 380X OC STRIX</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Great 1080p performance</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Excellent Asus cooling</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Middling 1440p prowess</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Quicker GPUs aren't much pricier</div><p>In a similar vein to the MSI GTX 970 card above, the Asus Radeon R9 380X OC Strix handles 1080p gaming with ease, and can deliver impressive frame rates at QHD too. AMD's mid-range card is closer positioned to the GTX 960 in terms of raw performance, which is impressive considering the cost. And because it uses Asus' STRIX cooling design, the card stays relatively quiet when being put through its paces, with the fans only kicking in when it tops 60 degrees C.</p><p><strong>Read the full review:</strong> <a href="">Asus STRIX R9 380X OC review</a></p><p><img src="" alt="GTX 960" width="420"></img></p><h3>9. Asus GeForce GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC Strix</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>On a budget? The affordable GTX 960 still delivers the goods</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors:</strong> 1024 | <strong>Core Clock:</strong> 1253MHz | Memory: 2GB | <strong>Memory Clock:</strong> 7200MHz | <strong>Power Connectors:</strong> 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin | Length: 215mm | <strong>Outputs:</strong> 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:Asus%20GeForce%20GTX%20960%20DirectCU2%20OC%20Strix "><p><a href="">See more Asus GeForce GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC Strix deals</a></p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Absolutely fine for gaming at 1080p</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Short and easy to fit into most cases</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Lags behind AMD's R9 380X</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Only 2GB video memory</div><p>The GeForce GTX 960 is an affordable card and a great option if you're looking to game on a budget. With a short design that makes it easy to slip into PC cases, the card delivers great gaming performance at 1080p thanks to its 1,024 stream processors, core clock speed of 1,253MHz and 2GB of video memory. Performance-wise, Nvidia's card lags behind ones in the price bracket above, so things start to get choppy when you begin to raise the resolution. Still, you can't go wrong if you're looking to game at what is still the most popular resolution today.</p><p><strong>Read the full review: </strong><a href="">Asus GeForce GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC Strix</a></p><p><img src="" alt="EVGA" width="420"></img></p><h3>10. EVGA GeForce GTX 750Ti SC</h3><div class="subtitle _hawk"><p>A graphics chip that's super (and super cheap)</p></div><p><strong>Stream Processors: </strong>640 | <strong>Core Clock: </strong>1176MHz | <strong>Memory:</strong> 2GB |<strong> Memory Clock:</strong> 5400MHz | <strong>Power Connectors: </strong>None | Length: 170mm |<strong> Outputs</strong>: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI, 1 x VGA</p><div class="hawk-widget-insert _hawk widget_type:price model_names:EVGA%20GeForce%20GTX%20750Ti%20SC "><p>EVGA GeForce GTX 750Ti SC</p></div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Great value at under £100</div><div class="icon icon-plus_circle _hawk"> Fine to at run 1080p games</div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> More cash spent = more performance<br /></div><div class="icon icon-minus_circle _hawk"> Can't handle the latest games</div><p>Based on Nvidia's Maxwell architecture, the GTX 750Ti SC is an affordable card that still packs the latest technology. This entry-level offering is still up to the task of playing the latest games if you're happy with playing on Low or Medium quality settings at 1080p resolution, and because it's small it's easy to drop into a basic PC to give it some extra graphical grunt. Just don't expect it to work miracles.</p><p><strong>Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article</strong></p><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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