When it comes to gaming, the GPU is one of your PC’s most important components. Sometimes called a graphics card, the GPU (graphical processing unit) is the main driver of your computer’s display – and thus an integral part of the gaming experience. Without a dedicated GPU, you’re never going to get the best gaming experience possible.
Lucky for you, there has never been a better time to shop for dedicated GPUs – the market has never been so full of options. NVIDIA and AMD are, of course, the top two names in the market, thanks to their top-notch GPUS that can run even the most demanding of today’s games.
Since shopping around for a suitable GPU can be complicated, we went ahead and did the hard work for you – compiling this list of our top choices. Read on to learn which products are the best gaming GPUs of 2019.
Let’s get the best out of the way; the NVIDIA GeForce RTX Ti is the most powerful graphics card money can buy. With this bad boy, you can easily exceed 60 fps on ultra-high graphics on any modern game you can dream up. The tech specs are amazing: 11 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, 4,352 CUDA cores, and a maximum boost clock of 1,635 MHz – all a huge upgrade from the last-gen 1080 Ti version.
What do technical specs like that mean in terms of performance? A whole lot. The RTX 2080 Ti outpaces all other graphics cards on speed. One reason for this is NVIDIA’s patented tensor cores and AI ray-tracing tech; these tensor cores have a new technology called Deep Learning Super Sampling which increases resolutions via AI while applying anti-aliasing. The 2080 Ti is also the first NVIDIA GPU to feature a dual-fan cooling system; since it’s so powerful, it tends to run rather loud and hot, and you’ll want to make sure you have a good external liquid cooling system as well.
The single biggest drawback to the RTX 2080 Ti is its steep price. Obviously, such a powerful piece of hardware is going to be expensive. If you can’t burn the money, you could likely manage just fine on the last-gen RTX 1080 Ti. But If you do have some extra cash lying around – you won’t regret the RTX 2080 Ti.
The AMD Radeon RX 570 is our pick for a budget GPU. Originally a remodel of the Radeon RX 470, the RX 570’s price has dropped significantly since NVIDIA launched their new line of mainstream GPU’s. That means it is a pretty sweet deal for a GPU that can reach 60 fps in 1080p on high and even ultra settings. It comes in two models – 4 GB of VRAM and 8 GB VRAM.
The RX 570 increases the clock speed to 1,206 MHz – almost a 300 MHz increase over the last-gen 470 model, although it does require a larger power supply (150W compared to 120W). The Radeon also uses some software tricks to deal with these energy demands by adding a new power state that automatically reduces power consumption when idle.
Although not as powerful as the NVIDIA RTX 2080, the Radeon RX 570 is a solid mid-level GPU and a great choice for gamers on a budget.
Coming in as our pick for the best all-around gaming GPU is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. Although a slightly older model, the GTX 1060 is still a champ among its peers, standing a head above its Radeon rivals. It’s powerful enough to run most modern games at 1080p on high/ultra settings and can even handle modern games at 1440p resolutions.
The GTX 1060 is best used in conjunction with a 60Hz monitor – gamer’s most common display of choice. It comes equipped with 6 GB of VRAM, is super power efficient, and runs cool compared to other NVIDIA cards. Additionally, it (and all GeForce cards) is compatible with free sync monitors and have a special G-sync display option.
Bottom line, the GTX 1660 is a great card for peerless 1080p gaming – though it may have a tougher time handling ultra-fast 144Hz or 240Hz monitors.
The Radeon RX 570 might just be the best overall graphics card in terms of performance bang-for-your-buck, bringing 1440p gaming to the masses. It’s based on AMD’s new RDNA graphics architecture, which increases performance per clock by almost 1.25x while also serving as an upgrade to PCIe 4.0, increasing bandwidth over old models.
Probably the most unique features of the RX 5700, however, is its Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS). The CAS tech is implemented in games with the goal of making upscaling look much sharper. For example, if you are playing a game on a 4k monitor, but your computer cannot handle the horsepower required, you can render the game in 1440p and rely on the CAS to automatically tighten up the image so it looks closer to the native 4k resolution. Radeon’s anti-lag software ensures your gaming GPU and CPU work together best.
And as far as performance goes, the RX 5700 is a beast.
If you are looking to build a micro-PC for gaming then this one is for you. The GTX 1080 Ti is an older graphics card from NVIDIA, but this new release takes the power of the original GTX 1080 Ti and shrinks by about half the size. NVIDIA graphics cards are known for being rather large, so the inclusion of a mini GPU in their lineup is a great change of pace.
With 1,408 stream processors, a 1,530MHz core clock speed, and 6GB GDDR5 RAM, the 1080 Ti mini can hold its own against most bigger GPUs. In fact, the Ti mini has slightly higher benchmarks than the GTX 1080 Ti full edition in some areas, including base clock speed.
This mini model’s real advantage might also just be how much easier it is to install. It is only a 2-slot card, however, which means that there are fewer connector ports for fans and a heatsink. So it is recommended to have an external cooling system with this one.
Before buying a GPU, take some time to check out these features.
AMD and NVIDIA are the two top manufacturers of gaming GPUs; both offer excellent products and have their own unique features. AMD has it patented RDNA processing architecture, and NVIDIA is known for its AI Tensor core Turing architecture.
Which is best is really a matter of personal preference. If you want a better price, go for AMD; their products tend to be cheaper than NVIDIA’s. For top performance, we’d recommend an NVIDIA.
You also need to make sure your GPU is compatible with your PC setup; for example, whether it has enough physical space and the right kind of connector pins and display output ports. You also need to make sure your power supply is strong enough to run it at full speed.
Even with the fanciest GPU on the market, if your CPU is not up to snuff, you won’t be able to take full advantage of its capabilities. A powerful GPU requires a powerful CPU to get max performance. If you are going to drop a lot of money on a high-end graphics card, make sure your CPU can handle the extra load.
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