7 Best Graphics Cards For Gaming 2018

By Muhammad Asfand Yar | Gaming

Graphic cards or Graphic Processing Units (GPU) are computer components that are used to handle extensive 3D work with great ease. Now for those who don’t know, the best graphic cards aren’t necessary to install, but doing so can grant you a lot of dedicated graphic power that you can use in games and other 3D work.

Benefits of a Dedicated Graphics Card

Now it’s important to know that in many cases, there is no real need of graphic cards, that’s mainly because some of the major platforms are already shipped with integrated graphic cards that allow you to do some amount of graphical work without the need for a dedicated graphic cards.

However, one should keep in mind that the integrated graphic cards are never that powerful to begin with, as a matter of fact, they are built merely to provide display, and that’s about it. If you want to watch videos on 4K, do some graphic intensive work, or even play games on your computer, you’re going to need a graphics card.

Currently, the 2 major companies that are shipping and selling the graphic cards are AMD and Nvidia, and with that, a person would think that the saturation isn’t that high, however, it’s not true. You see, these companies create graphic cards that are targeted towards different audience, some of them are really high end, and some of them are built for people who are on a tight budget.

Aside from that, these graphic cards have different aftermarket board partners who are known for creating better looking, and better performing graphic cards using the chips original provided by both companies. This further creates a saturation in the market to a point where the ordinary user gets confused.

Now that we have it out of the way, we are going to talk about some of the benefits of a dedicated graphics card. So, let’s not waste time, and have a look.

Decreased Load on the CPU

A lot of people don’t know this but integrated graphic cards are responsible for taking power from the CPU, hence, increasing work load on the CPU way more than it usually was there. In a system where you’re using an integrated graphics card to do some video work all of the workload from that video work will fall on the CPU, and not only that, even the load of general processing will be handled by the CPU.

However, whenever you add in a dedicated graphic card, the good news is that the workload gets balanced, which means that the entire video processing, and rendering is done through a different processor known as the Graphics Processing Unit, allowing the CPU to breathe, and perform other less intensive tasks.

Since the processors in graphic cards are a lot more powerful, they do really well when it comes to rendering videos, and processing them. Allowing you to save a lot of time.

Amazing Gaming Performance

It’s pretty safe to say that PC gaming has evolved into something entirely different than it used to before. Gone are the day when the number of games were very few as compared to the console counterparts.

The modern day gaming scene is a lot different, however, that has allowed the games to be quite resource heavy as well, and simply put, even the highest end modern day CPU can’t provide that type of resources to a game to work.

That’s where the dedicated graphic cards come in, they provide a lot of power for gaming, this is mainly because they are specifically designed for the purpose of carrying heavy graphical workload with great ease. The gaming performance on a good, high end graphics card result in some of the most epic gaming moments.

In simpler words, if you want to have the best possible gaming experience, nothing is really better than a high end graphics card

Increases Overall Value

Another benefit of adding a dedicated graphics card to your PC is that it actually helps in increasing the overall value of your graphics card. Now for those who don’t know what we are talking about here, we basically mean that if you ever decide to sell your computer as a whole in the future, you’ll get an additional boost in the cost mainly because of the graphics card.

However, the boost depends on just how good the graphics card itself is. If you have some high end, top of the line graphic card, then the boost will be significantly higher, and if you have some simple graphics card that people use for HTPCs (Home Theater PCs) then the boost in the price will be somewhat lower.

Whatever the case, the advantage in the price will always be there for you, so it’s better to just keep that in mind.

Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080Ti

Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080Ti-Best Graphics Cards

The first graphics card on our list is none other than the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080Ti, now for those who don’t know, this is currently the fastest consumer level graphics card. The reason why we picked the Asus variant is because Asus has done some really, really amazing work the graphics card.

While the design is largely the same, the good thing is the aftermarket cooler is still one of the best, and that allows for some really breezy temperatures, and some pretty hefty overclocks as well. Now, it’s important for us to state that the card does come factory overclocked, however, thanks to the beefy cooler, and an aftermarket PCB, you can achieve some pretty good overclocks on it too.

You get 11 gigs of GDDR5x memory that is overclocked, and some pretty amazing gaming performance. As a matter of fact, our testing showed us that the GTX 1080Ti is one of the few cards that are able to give respectable framerates on 4K resolution. However, if you wish to game on 1440p at 144 hertz, you shouldn’t really have any issues.

People who prefer rendering videos and other similar tasks should be glad to know that the 1080Ti comes with 3,584 CUDA cores, while this doesn’t have any impact on the gaming performance, this is really helpful for people who are into video rendering and production because CUDA cores are always a good thing to have for such things.

The base clock on this beast is 1,708 MHz, allowing it to go pretty crazy fast, not to mention, you also get the world famous RGB lighting. You get different zones of RGB lighting that are pretty good looking, and can sync in with other Asus Aura sync compatible components.

You also get a nice, black back plate with the ROG logo sitting on top, and in case you are wondering, it does light up. Last but not the least, the graphics card requires two 8 pin PCI-e power connectors to get all the power from. All in all, the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080Ti is clearly the best graphics card money can buy right now. The performance is just out of the world for the price that you’re paying for this graphics card.

Pros


    • Fastest consumer level performance.

    • Extremely good looking.

    • Amazing thermals.

    • The RGB lighting is just beautiful.

    • Silent when idle.

Cons


    • None.

Gigabyte Aorus Radeon RX 580

Gigabyte-Aorus-Radeon-RX-580

Now the next graphics card that we are looking at is the Gigbyte Aorus Radeon RX 580, for those who don’t know, this is a slightly refreshed version of the famous RX 480 from AMD. Now the RX 580 is a refresh, and the model that we have right here is basically the one that comes with 8 gigs of VRAM, which should plenty for the resolution that you’ll be playing at.

Considering how this is a budget oriented graphics card, it’s more suited for people who want to do some solid gaming on 1080p, and while it can run 1440p without a lot of issues or problems you need to know that achieving 60 frames isn’t something that is entirely possible on this graphics card.

However, if you want something like 1080p at 60 frames per second, then you should be more than okay with the graphics card. It does come in 4 gigabyte variant as well, however, the one we got for review has 8 gigs of VRAM.

Considering how we are looking at an aftermarket PCB, you get a decent amount of overclocking out of the box in addition to some good headroom as well. The entire graphics card is made out of solid material, you get 2 fans and some decent amount of lighting as well.

For those who don’t know, Aorus is Gigabyte’s higher end branding, and they are known for providing some of the most kick ass chips that are available in the market. Like we stated earlier, the card does come overclocked right out of the box, so you should expect some nice performance upgrade as well as better thermals thanks to a beefier cooler.

For those wondering, out of the box, the Auros RX 580 has the core clock of 1,425 MHz in Gaming Mode, and if you shift to OC Mode using the software, then you get a nice boost, and the core clock jumps to 1,439 MHz. Now this may not be substantial enough, but it should get you a pretty solid performance.

All in all, the Gigabyte Aorus Radeon RX 580 is a pretty decent graphics card that is going to offer a great performance to people who are on a budget. Our only real gripe is that it doesn’t really offer anything solid over the RX 480.

Pros


    • Pretty great performance on 1080p.

    • Great price to performance ratio.

    • Some really good thermals.

    • Nice, simple design.

Cons


    • Offers no real benefit over the RX 480.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme

ZOTAC-GeForce-GTX-1080-Amp-Extreme-Best Graphics Cards

Zotac really managed to rock the socks off of the competition back when they announced their Amp! Extreme line up of graphics cards. For those who don’t know, Amp! Extreme happens to be one of the fastest aftermarket series available in the market at the moment. It is known for featuring over the top design made out of metal, and some of the finest thermals that are known in the graphic card industry.

Today, we are looking at the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme, a top of the line 1080 variant from Zotac that offers a 2.5 slot cooler design instead of the conventional 2 slot cooler design, 3 fans that are known for providing some of the best thermals, and not to mention, one of the beefiest heat sinks that you will get to see in a graphic card.

The card is an absolute powerhouse that is able to overclock like crazy, even after the fact that it comes factory overclocked. The base clock on the Amp! Extreme is 1,771 MHz and the graphics card is able to boost up to 1,911 MHz, that’s a pretty hefty boost. However, during our testing, the graphics card boosted beyond 2,000 MHz, something that is very common in the modern day GPUs.

For those wondering, the card does support RGB lighting, and offers one of the best looking cooler, however, keep in mind that the cooler has a yellow and silver colour scheme, something that may not go well with majority of builds. Despite being a very tasteful colour combination, yellow and silver is something that we don’t see a lot in the modern day graphic cards.

All in all, the good news is that the Zotac GTX 1080 Amp! Extreme is perhaps the best variant of 1080s that we have seen so far, it offers stellar cooling despite being on fans, and not to mention, the acoustics are relatively lower. If it wasn’t for the silver and yellow colour scheme, it may have been the best one on the list.

Pros


    • Possibly the fastest GTX 1080 in the market.

    • Great thermals and acoustics.

    • Overclocks like a beast.

    • Big, beefier heatsink.

    • All metal design.

Cons


    • Yellow and silver colour scheme is a bit confusing.

XFX AMD Radeon RX 460 4GB

XFX-AMD-Radeon-RX-460-4GB

For people who aren’t willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a graphics card, and just want something to get the job done, the good news is that there are plenty of options available. Sometimes, you just want something to play games like Counter Strike, DoTA, and Overwatch, and in situations like this, a high end graphics card can’t do you any good since the aforementioned games aren’t that taxing to begin with.

That’s why the graphics card we are looking at right now is aimed at the budget gamers and will provide just enough performance to get the games running. Say hello to the XFX AMD Radeon RX 460 4GB. 

Yes, as you can tell, this is in fact the aftermarket version of the Radeon RX 460, however, it is for people who just want to have a good graphics card and don’t’ really care about.

The graphics card comes with a single fan, and a pretty small design that can easily fit into HTPCs, in addition to that, you also get a single fan design. Now the single fan design is something that not a lot of people actually prefer, but considering how the card isn’t really that big of a performer, it shouldn’t really heat up all that much.

During our testing, the acoustics and thermals remained under control, confirming the speculation that the card isn’t really going to get hot even when under full load. We tested games like Overwatch, DoTA, Counter Strike, and the card managed to perform rather decently.

It requires one 8 pin PCI-E connector, and that’s about it. To take things further, we decided to run Rise of the Tomb Raider on 1080p, and while the game ran, the frame rate hovered around mid-30s. Confirming the fact that this indeed is a card built for light gaming, and HTPCs.

All in all, the Radeon RX 460 is a graphics card that manages to fit into a league of its own, doesn’t really provide a lot of performance on high end games, but manages to perform fairly decently in some low end games.

The only thing that’s holding it back is the cookie cutter nature of the mid-range graphic cards, and that’s something we can’t do much about in the first place.

Pros


    • Provides a decent performance.

    • Small form factor will allow it to fit in almost any type of case.

    • Low noise and low power consumption.

Cons


    • Average performance.

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 8G

MSI-GeForce-GTX-1070-Gaming-X-8G-Best Graphics Cards

Finally looking at some more high end stuff, we are back with the green team. When Nvidia announced the 1000 series, a lot of people were interested in the 1070, especially people who haven’t upgraded for quite some time. On paper, the card performed as well as the 980Ti, however, was efficient in both cooling, and power consumption.

It quickly became one of the most popular graphic cards that came out in the last year, the one we are looking at today is the variant from MSI. Say hello to the GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G. The 1070 offers 8 gigs of GDDR5 memory that is capable of running games at a pretty amazing resolution with some great frame rates.

While it may not be able to achieve 4K that easily, for anyone who wants to play games at 1440p and hit the respectable 60 frames per second mark, the card is more than enough. The MSI variant uses the ever so popular Twin Frozr cooler from MSI, and offers a pretty decent amount of cooling, and acoustic performance.

As you may have guessed already, the card does come factory overclocked, so anyone who is actually looking for some decent performance out of this card should get pretty good performance.

The card isn't too long in length, so you shouldn’t have issues fitting it in tight spaces, making one of the more accessible graphic cards in the market at the moment.

Needless to say, for anyone who wants to have a decent performance out of their money, and doesn’t want to spend a lot, the GTX 1070 is perhaps the best choice out there. It performs like a champion. As or the issues, the only issue that we have noticed so far with the GTX 1070 is the fact that it doesn’t do well in majority of Direct X 12 titles.

That’s mainly because it has something to do with the A-Sync compute not being available on the graphics card. If you’re okay with that, the GTX 1070 is still one of the best one in the market.

Pros


    • Pretty good price to performance ratio.

    • Red and black colour scheme goes well together.

    • Nice thermals and acoustics.

    • Able to max out every game possible.

Cons


    • Middling Direct X 12 performance.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB OC Edition

Zotac-GeForce-GTX-1050-Ti-4GB-OC-Edition

The second last graphics card on our list is again from Zotac, however, we are now targeting the entry level performers. Say hello to the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC Edition, for those who don’t know, this the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti GPUs are pretty recent in terms of release and they are mainly aimed at people who don’t want to spend a lot of money, but still want some decent gaming performance.

To be fairly honest, we keep our expectations with low-range or mid-range products fairly low because they can’t perform that well, however, we were surprised to see just how good the 1050 Ti had managed to perform. Before we begin, you should know that it is by no means trying to compete in the big leagues.

The 4 GB variant that we tested managed to perform really well in majority of games on 1080p, and did really well in games that are more centered towards e-sports. We are talking about games like Overwatch and other similar titles.

This clearly means that the card is aimed towards the audience who prefers playing those games. Now despite having 2 fans, the card’s footprint is rather small, meaning that it can easily fit into small form factor cases, and doesn’t really require much power to work.

The one really good thing we like about this card is that it doesn’t require any power connector, it draws the maximum 75 watts from the PCI-express slot, and that’s about it. Nvidia has done a really great job at keeping the power consumption low, and even with an aftermarket cooler, and a custom PCB, it’s a nice thing to have.

All in all, the Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB OC Edition is a pretty good graphics card for the money that you are paying. While it may not be built for the finest, most beautiful games in the market, the fact that it manages to get the job it’s intended to done without any issues is commendable enough.

We don’t really have any problems apart from the fact that you can’t really overclock this card much higher, but considering the size, and price; it’s more than understandable.

Pros


    • Pretty decent price to performance ratio.

    • Extremely low power consumption at just 75w.

    • Dual fan design keeps things nice and cool.

Cons


    • Almost next to no overclocking potential.

XFX Radeon RX 480

XFX-Radeon-RX-480-Best Graphics Cards

The last graphics card on our list by the red team, and is perhaps the most popular mid-range graphics card that we have had the chance to test. In case you haven’t guessed it already, we are talking about the all popular RX 480.

A lot of people find it surprising that AMD never really came up with a high end graphics card in the RX lineup, however, the good news for the company is that they still somehow managed to release cards that went on and became really, really popular.

The RX 480 comes in both 4 and 8 GB of VRAM options, and are available throughout several different aftermarket board partners. The one we are looking at today is from XFX, and is one of the best looking, and best performing 480s in the market.

Now, you do get an all-black shroud, so it’s safe to say that the graphics card happens to have a pretty neutral colour scheme and will fit in just perfectly in almost every single system there is. As far as the performance numbers are concerned, we are looking at pretty good performance.

As a matter of fact, we can actually go to the extent of calling the RX 480 the king of 1080p, mainly because of how well it performs on the aforementioned resolution. Another really interesting thing here is that you can even push it to 1440p. However, in order to achieve respectable frame rates on the given resolution, you have to lower down some of the settings.

Power consumption wasn’t really a problem, as the RX 480 isn’t that power hungry to begin with, the one we got only required a single 8 pin power connector, something that is already available on majority of power supplies in the market at the moment.

Another interesting thing is that the fans can actually be swapped by the user without the need to take off the shroud, and voiding the warranty. Something that we rarely see on graphics card, and to top of the aesthetical part, XFX also offers an aluminum backplate to go with it.

All in all, the RX 480 is definitely one of our favourite mid-range graphics card in the market available at the moment, and it performs extremely well for the price it is available at.

Pros


    • Moderately priced.

    • Performs really well in 1080p and DX12 titles.

    • Custom PCB and shroud.

    • Great thermal and acoustic performance.

Cons


    • Middling performance on 1440p.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, our dear gamers! 7 of the best graphic cards tested in games, and well, in case you haven’t guessed it, we found the winner as soon as we created the list. Now you need to know that finding a winner wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be. Mainly because there isn’t much competition in the market at the moment.

Still, if you are wondering which graphics card we picked as the top winner, then you shouldn’t be surprised to know that the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080Ti is the clear winner of this list. The graphics card is undoubtedly the fastest consumer level GPU available in the market.

It absolutely runs through all the modern titles at maximum possible settings with great ease, and without breaking a sweat. It’s truly one of a kind graphics card that is clearly known for chewing all those amount of pixels that you throw at it.

Sure, the cost is ought to raise some eyebrows, but believe us when we say that it shouldn’t bother you that much.

Follow

About the Author

Muhammad Asfand Yar, or Asfand as his friends call, is Author cum Owner of List Enthusiast. Blogging is his old new-found love. He writes to boost his Knowledge - and yours too. He usually remains in front of computer screen - even when he isn't writing any Blog post - doing computer programming. C++ is his passion. Catch him on twitter @asfandyar12.