It’s been a while since our last graphics card roundup, and a few things have changed. Nvidia is trailblazing at the high end with never before seen performance of the GTX 1080/GTX 1080Ti. Meanwhile, AMD, as usual, has been largely inconsistent with their offerings after shaking up the market with the RX series more than a year ago.
Both parties have breathed life into the entry-level market with some interesting offerings, while cryptocurrency miners have caused a lot of pricing and availability fluctuations. Let’s run through the full stack and see where your hard earned money should be going.
In the graph we trust
Before we move onto our recommendations, our trusty graph. It’s worth noting that the graph is now based on 3D Mark FireStrike scores. As such, it should better reflect real-world performance. We will be focusing our recommendations on the current generation products available in the market.
Why 3D Mark? A couple of reasons. The above graph is a compilation of scores found here. How this list works is by collecting the scores of thousands of users. These are submitted through the FireStrike benchmark, and gives out an average for each card.
This eliminates the bias towards any platform and gives an indication of real world performance. Also, since some users submit scores of overclocked cards, it also gives an indication of the cards true potential available through overclocking. Actual gaming performance may vary due to multiple reasons.
Some older generation products such as GTX 970s and GTX 960s are still around as well. It’s important to note that our recommendations aren’t necessarily based on 3D Mark scores. Rather it’s by studying performance in many current gaming titles from many reputed sources. This is in addition to our own performance benchmarks. Well, onwards to our recommendations.
Best graphics card for Rs 10,000/= or below
What can you buy for less than 10k? Mostly, crap. Honestly, there is very little for under 10k to be had in terms of gaming. This price segment is populated by the ancient G210s, GT520s, GT610s, HD5450s, and HD6450s. There’s also the newer (but equally bad) GT710s and GT720s and the R5 230s.
Why are none of these recommended? The Intel HD Graphics present on the current generation Pentium processors will give you better graphics performance. And that processor itself costs only Rs. 12,000. So avoid these at all costs.
The GT710 and 720 redeem themselves a bit. Yet, these are bested by Intel HD630 graphics found on a current-gen Core i3 processor. These are only viable if you are looking for a cheap performance bump for a 5-6-year-old PC. Knowing what’s available for a little over 10k, we wouldn’t recommend any card in this price range.
Best graphics card for Rs 15,000/=
Max settings on any game at 1366×768 or lower. Average performance (40+ FPS medium) at 1980×1080.
There’s only one way this is going. The GT 1030. Back when we checked it out in June, we were surprised by the level of performance offered by this tiny card at just over Rs 13,000. Most casual gamers who don’t mind turning down a few settings to play the latest games can be very comfortable with a GT 1030.
Our own tests had this little card cranking out respectable performance numbers you wouldn’t expect from a 13k card. However, the GT 1030 suffers from the ‘GT Syndrome’ in the local market, where unassuming shoppers believe it’s a slow card because it doesn’t carry a ‘GTX’ in the name.
Best Graphics card for Rs 20,000/=
Max settings on any game at 1366×768 or lower. Above average performance (40+ FPS medium/high) at 1980×1080.
There’s a reasonable selection of cards available at the 20k range. The cheapest of these is the AMD competitor to the GT 1030 – the RX 550. While it’s around 10% faster than a GT 1030 on average, it’s also a tad bit more expensive, pushing it closer to 20k. If you are strictly under a 20k budget, the RX 550 is the fastest card you can buy.
Heading slightly north of 20k gives you access to the GTX 1050 and the RX 560. The GTX 1050 pulls ahead slightly in terms of performance. Coupled with its slightly lower power consumption, takes our recommendation for 20k.
The GTX 1050 continues the legacy of the GTX 750 of being the unloved smaller brother of its much-hyped Ti counterpart. Similar to the GTX 750, the GTX 1050 offers the better performance-per-dollar of the two. Yet as Nvidia has very cleverly caught on, an unnecessary suffix at the end of a model name is better marketing than any performance benchmark. Don’t worry GTX 1050-non-Ti. We love you.
Best Graphics card for Rs 30,000/=
Good performance (high – 40+ FPS) on all the latest games at 1980×1080. Recommended for solid performance in competitive multiplayer titles.
So, what does the Ti suffix give you? Roughly 15-20% more performance and 2GB of extra VRAM. The GTX 1050Ti pushes the performance envelope of what’s possible within the 75W limit of PCI-e power. Nvidia manages to package faster than GTX 960 performance into a card that runs without any auxiliary power, which leaves us with a card with never before seen performance-per-watt values.
GTX 1050Ti’s occupy a wide price range of around 28k all the way to around 37k. We’d recommend picking up a factory overclocked card (such as the Gigabyte OC or the Palit Dual) for around 30k for the best value for your money. Anything more seriously hurts the value proposition of this card and puts it too close to the next tier of performance. The GTX 1050Ti is our recommended starting point for any serious gamer.
But wait. There’s more.
As you can see, for around Rs. 30,000/-, you can get your hands on a pretty good graphics card. Check out for the next part of the series where we delve into the higher end lineup of graphics cards.