The launch of the first Pascal-based enthusiast cards for Nvidia , GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 early last summer was a hilarious step for the industry and PC players. According to our own measurements, performance increased by about 76 percent over the previous generation , something we have not been close to watching other generational switches in recent times.
A little later came Nvidia and AMD’s middle class card. The GTX 1060 6GB, along with the first Polaris-based RX 480 8GB, delivered a proper performance race also in the middle class. In particular, the alternative versions with half as much memory yielded very high performance per penny.
In the budget segment, the war started between AMD’s RX 460 and RX 470, against Nvidia’s GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti .
The next move we did not get until the GTX 1080 Ti was launched in March this year. Everyone had expected high performance from the graphics card that would complement Nvidia’s Pascal family, but it would yield performance that was up to 35 percent over the GTX 1080, but few could imagine. Nor did it endorse Titan XP itself at almost twice as high a price and it would push Nvidia’s own GTX 1080 sharply down in price.
April brought the RX 500 series, which was essentially a “refresh” of the RX 400 series with some adjustments and higher frequencies. We could quickly determine that potential in the Polaris architecture was as well as already dropped, and in our comparison of the RX 480 and RX 580 , we measured only 3.5 percent higher performance on the newest card.
When AMD’s new enthusiast card in the RX Vega series, the RX Vega 56 and the RX Vega 64 , finally arrived in August, there were many hopes for a parking of the over a year old Pascal-based rival. However, that was not the case. At the same time as a very chaotic launch, full of “package deals”, misleading pricing and a limited number of cards available, our measurements showed mixed results. The Vega cards performed largely in line with or something over the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, but pulled a lot of power and noise a lot.
And that’s the way the market looks like this recommendation is being updated. Before we get to the recommendations, we should also take a quick look into the crystal ball.
This will be the graphics landscape in the future
Now that AMD has received its reference card in the RX Vega series out the door, we are awaiting models from third party manufacturers that we hope to solve their noise problem. Otherwise, there are no more exciting new graphics cards from AMD this year.
For Nvidia, we thought the GTX 1080 Ten complimented the Pascal family back in March, but it may not be the case. According to new rumors, Nvidia is expected to launch a new GTX 1070 Ti later in October . This card is expected to place itself both performance and price-centered between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. The competition from AMD’s RX Vega 56 helps to make the rumors trustworthy and the card meaningful, we mean.
As AMD has just launched its two high-performance Vega-based graphics cards, Nvidia’s turn is to introduce us to a whole new generation. It is expected that Nvidia will do once during the first half of 2018, and then the Volta architecture will become more familiar with. According to rumor, Volta is based on a 12nm production process and is launched as the GTX 20 family.
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB
Full HD is still the “crowd resolution” or the solution most people play. So it’s extraordinary that the AMD’s RX 570 4GB on average delivers the magic 60 FPSs in our game tests, even with the graphics settings turned on the ceiling.
With higher resolutions, the card will struggle more, but with moderation from the graphics you can also achieve an acceptable flow in newer games.
The RX 570 is somewhat more demanding compared to other cards with the same performance, but supports the return of FreeSync. This means that the RX 570, along with a FreeSync display, can offer you a silky smooth image free from demolition without having to lock the refresh rate to 30 or 60 FPS.
Otherwise, the card offers the latest connectivity standards and is ready for HDR games and HEVC content.
We have not made your own test of the RX 570, but you can see all the measurements of the MSI Gaming X model in this test »
As for the competitor GTX 1060 3GB from our middle class, this delivers approximately as high performance per crown as the RX 570. Still, we think the latter draws the longest straw thanks to its support for FreeSync. The GTX 1050 Ti , which does not cover up to 60 FPS in full HD resolution, gets too much to spit to want to pull it out with a recommendation here.
AMD Radeon RX 580 4GB
1440p games within range
AMD Radeon RX 580 4GB
We did not impress AMD’s refurbished RX 400 series when we tested the RX 580 this spring. Performance improvements were about non-existent, and power consumption and price had increased from the previous generation. In isolation, the RX 580 is still a card that can still meet the Nvidia GTX 1060 Series with raised head.
That’s why it’s also an RX 580 card that takes our middle class recommendation, but it’s not the 8GB variant that we tested.
We would rather extend the little brother with half as much memory. Looking apart from fewer memory chips, the two cards are exactly the same, so that only very high resolutions are available where large textures are in action that one will notice the performance difference between the two. And since you’re just not playing at higher resolution than 1440p when you go for a budget card, you do not also need eight gigabytes of memory in 99 percent of the cases.
Rather, you save some doggies to go for the RX 580 4GB, a card that delivers superb Full HD resolution and even sniffing at 50-60 FPS at 1440p if you adjust the graphics details or do not play the most demanding games.
Despite the same performance as the GTX 1060 6GB , we mean the RX 580 4GB is the best option due to support for FreeSync. Game screens with this technology, which give you a smoother image free from demolition or tearing, are, as mentioned earlier, far less expensive than monitors that support Nvidia’s corresponding G-Sync technology.
Of course, the card is ready for both HDR games and playback of HEVC content.
We mention that third party models are far from preferred over the AMD reference issue, thanks to their better cooling and lower noise levels.
Dead stable 1440p play
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
For those looking for a good and relatively affordable engine for your 1440p screen, you can not find a better candidate than the GTX 1070. The card delivers an average FPS of 64 FPS in this resolution and is not more expensive per FPS than what the GTX 1060 is.
In addition, the GTX 1070 average 95 FPS on extremely high graphics in Full HD resolution, which is a great advantage in games where image flow is absolutely essential, as in FPS games.
The card thus gives you great value and is a good starting point for you with a 1440p screen or you have a screen with a 120Hz full HD panel.
We will not recommend one specific version of the GTX 1070, but during our test of the Zotacs GTX 1070 AMP! Extreme we were impressed by the cooling solution that delivered very low temperatures and was almost impossible to hear. Just notice that this is very expensive and that a third party GTX 1080 is just a pair of dog tags more expensive.
PS: AMD’s RX Vega 56 is an interesting competitor for GTX 1070 for performance. Unfortunately, the reference card for AMD delivers so much noise that we can not recommend it, but we hope that third party manufacturers can fix this when they get on the track with their solutions beyond late autumn. The second appeal point, which is a massive power consumption, hardly makes any sense, though. Here, however, most GTX 1070 variants are better on both noise and energy efficiency.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
While the GTX 1080 Ti has now taken over the performance of this generation, the spring’s price reduction at GTX 1080 ensures that the card still delivers a lot of money.
Because, while the GTX 1080 is no longer the best choice for you with a 4K display, it’s just you sitting with a lightning fast 1440p monitor. Nvidia speaks here with an FPS of an average of 79.5.
Yes, too, we will not write off the GTX 1080 entirely for the 4K resolution either. The card almost reaches the 60-FPS limit with its 53 FPS in this sky-high resolution, and with a little adjustment on the graphics details, the experience can be very good. Especially if you’re lucky enough to pair the card with a G-Sync monitor so you do not experience a demolition in the image.
The GTX 1080 is very energy efficient and while we are not going to provide guidelines for the version you should go for, we’ll be happy to get you most pleased with a third-party version with better cooling solution than Nvidia’s own Founders Edition. Our tested GTX 1080 Gaming X from MSI showed far better results in our noise and temperature measurement than Nvidia’s FE.
Inno3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iChill X3
Who could guess that Nvidia’s latest Pascal-based graphics card would be their strongest ever? Just, quite a few, yes. But, how many did really think that the GTX 1080 Ti would 1) gruse GTX 1080, and 2) stay at the same price that the little brother had long been sold for? Not exactly as many no.
Here too, we were surprised, and above all, impressed by the incredible performance difference of up to 35 percent GTX 1080 Ti FE delivered over the GTX 1080.
The GTX 1080 Ti is chopped more expensive by FPS than its little brother, but as we talk about the market’s most powerful graphics card, offering a solid performance over GTX 1080 that does not meet any AMD competition, nobody can blame Nvidia for a bit better paid.
While the GTX 1080 delivers freakproof performance at 1440p resolution, there’s no doubt that GTX 1080 is the best way to play your games in crisp and detailed 4K graphics. With an average of 70 FPS in 4K resolution (35 percent higher FPS than GTX 1080!), You even have a little “going on” down to the magic 60 FPS limit, many rightly want to stay over.
The only thing we had to pick in in our GTX 1080 Ti FE test was that the card could get hot and under overclocking very noisy. However, this aimed both the Inno3D’s iChill X3 Ultra, MSI’s Gaming X and Asus Strix in a glance when they could show in their overall performance both higher performance, far better cooling and much lower noise levels than Nvidia’s own Founders Edition.
Note: The grades in the test are set based on prices that no longer apply. Although the Inno3D iChill X3 Ultra has slowed down, the price adjustments in the six months after publishing have made both MSI and Asus candidates very interesting.
This should be considered before you buy
If you are not looking for a specific card recommended for you, we’ve put together some points you should think through before jumping out on the hunting ground yourself:
Do not be too stingy
In general, we do not recommend buying a graphics card for anything less than 2,000 dollars if you wish to use it for regular gaming. Just about this price level, you get between 40 and 60 FPS in newer games at Full HD, and as many know, just the ability to play with more than 30 FPS is one of the PC’s most important features.
Think about which screen to play
If you have a full HD display, you do not need an equally powerful graphics card as if you have a 1440p display, and can be done with a graphics card from our budget class. If you’re on a budget and have a FreeSync screen, it’s a good idea to go for an AMD graphics card to experience an image free of demolition, something Nvidia owners can look forward to in this price range thanks to expensive G-Sync monitors .
You who have a 1440p monitor should at least move up to our middle class, while owners of a 4K monitor should obviously choose a graphics card from the top shelf and watch the enthusiast class.
FPS games make other demands a role-playing game
Esport and FPS games are examples of games that often require the graphics card to record more than 60 FPS, preferably 120 FPS. For turn-based games or role-playing games, the requirements are not so high and 60 FPS are sufficient. However, for the latter game, higher resolution can make a lot of experience and it imposes hard demands on the graphics card.
We checked the performance of 12 graphics cards in the most popular e-sports games:
Even more years old graphics cards connected over 100 FPS without sweating »
Set the needs of the day first
It’s not always easy to add extra money to buying a so-called future-proof card. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the reason why you should buy a card that performs well based on what you’re going to use it today, rather than next year, is that you do not know how the development has been in the graphics market about a year or two. Once that time has elapsed, graphics development and the requirements set by the players have left the performance of the graphics card you originally purchased.
If you expect to upgrade to a screen with higher refresh rate or higher resolution, it will of course be quite different.
Good luck with the choice of graphics cards!
That’s how we’ve been thinking
We note that the recommendation will change in the future, simply because the graphics card market is constantly changing. Therefore, take them for what they are: great tips for which graphics cards you can buy nicely in the price range that suits you, for your use and your wallet.
We have not considered graphics cards from previous generations who have now received a direct follow-up, cards that are no longer in sale in Norwegian online stores or cards that clearly do not focus / are phasing out of the market.
Note that for all cards, whether we have annotated the cards with names like Founders Edition, Sapphire Tri-X, Asus Strix, MSI Gaming or similar, we have not necessarily taken into account the price of exactly this specified model, but rather the least expensive from the series . Thus, our performance graphs are a general expression of the performance that can be expected, but it may vary by four to five percent up or down from which card from a series you choose. By looking at the name, you can easily see which card we have used to collect the performance figures, and whether the performance is registered with a third-party card or reference design.
The reason we have chosen to do this in this way is that while the price of the different third-party cards varies greatly, their performance is perceived to be relatively similar to either reference or overclocked variants from third-party producers. Nor are the external features such as noise and temperature that would like to give third party cards a big advantage and, of course, we have been able to emphasize this in our recommendations.