Best Graphics Cards for Your Money – March 2016 (Part Two)

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Kicking off from where we last left off, this the continuation of the best graphics cards for your money. Above and beyond the Rs. 50,000/= mark, you’re looking to pretty much max out everything and the kitchen sink at full HD 1920×1080 and even touch on higher resolutions such as 2K or even the awe inducing bring-everything-to-their-knees 4K resolution.

Best Graphics card for Rs 50,000/=

Maximum settings (ultra) on all the latest games at 1920×1080. Good performance (high) on all the latest games at 2560×1440. Entry level performance (low/medium) at 3840×2160.

Once again we find a lone wolf running the show at 50k. The recently released R9 380X stands alone as the only card available at 50k. This card fills the glaring gap in the market that was left between the 40k cards and the GTX 970, which was almost twice as fast.

Numbers wise, expect around 15-20% more performance than a R9 380 and about the same amount less from a GTX970, leaving this a solid buy at Rs 48,000/=

Recommendation:
Radeon R9 380X 4GB GDDR5

Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro 4GB GDDR5 – Rs 48,000/=

Image taken from http://www.sapphiretech.com
Image taken from http://www.sapphiretech.com

Recommended processor:
Intel Core i5 6500

Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1920×1080, 2560×1440

Recommended Power Supply:
500W

Best Graphics card for Rs 60,000/=

Maximum settings (ultra) on all the latest games at 1920×1080 with 60+ FPS average. Great performance (high/ultra) on all the latest games at 2560×1440. Average performance (medium) at 3840×2160.

At 60k, we find another classic red vs green battle. The AMD Radeon R9 390 and the Nvidia Geforce GTX 970. The R9 390 is the reincarnation of the R9 290 with faster memory and better power management and comes with the same whopping 512-bit memory interface coupled with a 8GB buffer that can chew through high resolution textures, making the powerful GTX 970 looking weak by comparison. So another round to the red team then? Not quite.

A few months ago, the answer would have been more straightforward. The R9 390 was selling for 56k while the cheapest GTX970s were pushing 65k. It was hard not to recommend the R9 390 even at the expense of a slightly higher power requirement. At the point of writing, however, we find the tables turned. The cheapest R9 390 in the market sells for Rs 64k while the GTX 970 is available for as low as Rs 59,000/=

So how does this affect our recommendation? Lets bring another factor into play here, one that you should be considering as well if you are planning to drop 60k on a graphics card. With 1440p (or 2K as they are commonly known) monitors now available for around much less than they used to cost, this is the point where you should be looking at stepping up to a higher resolution as well. IF you plan to stay on 1080p for a while, then get the GTX 970. It offers what some have called “the definitive PC gaming experience” – 1080p 60FPS gameplay at maximum settings – at the lowest cost. IF you plan to get a higher resolution monitor sometime in the near future (2K or 4K), then consider investing the little bit extra on the R9 390 which would serve you better in such a scenario.

Recommendation:
Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 4GB GDDR5

Honorable Mention
AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB GDDR5

Our Pick:
Gigabyte Geforce GTX 970 G1.Gaming 4GB GDDR5 – Rs 63,000/=

Image taken from http://titan-ice.co.za
Image taken from http://titan-ice.co.za

Recommended processor:
Intel Core i5 6500 or Intel Core i5 6600K

Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1920×1080, 2560×1440,  3840×2160

Recommended Power Supply:
450W for GTX 970, 550W for the R9 390

Best Graphics card for Rs 80,000/=

Great performance (ultra) on all the latest games at 2560×1440. Good performance (medium/high) at 3840×2160.

If you are using a full HD monitor, this is not for you. if you are planning to spend this much on a graphics card, take a long hard look at your monitor setup and make sure you aren’t wasting so much performance on inadequate screen real estate. After all, it’s not really what you put in your PC that matters, but what they put out on your display. If you are sitting in front of a full-HD display right now and contemplating spending Rs 80k on graphics, we’d strongly advise considering a monitor upgrade or if that’s not on the cards, get a cheaper card and save up for a future upgrade.

Both Nvidia and AMD are represented at the 80k range by cards that were once flagships. The R9 390X – which in-turn is a reincarnation of the R9 290X – and the GTX 980, which used to be the top dog in the green team until the GTX 980Ti showed up to spoil the party. If you were to run these on a 1080p screen, then the GTX 980 would generally be the faster card. But as we explained before, we aren’t looking at using either of these cards on a 1080p monitor, so those numbers don’t mean much. Step up to a higher resolution though and the story changes. Both cards trade blows at 1440p and the R9 390X steps ahead in most scenarios when gaming at 2160p (4K). Being the cheaper of the two cards, the R9 390X takes our recommendation as the preferred card for a 2K or entry level 4K gaming system.

What about a multi-card setup? In the past, we’ve recommended multi card setups for as low as 70k. Surely a couple of R9 380s for 84k should be faster than a R9 390X right? If you were to assume so, you would be correct. A pair of R9 380s would in general perform better than a single R9 390X. However, unlike in previous instances where the multi-card setup outclassed the single card solution in terms of either cost or performance, this time we feel that Crossfire R9 380s don’t offer enough of either to warrant a recommendation.

Recommendation:
AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB GDDR5

Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R9 390X Nitro 8GB GDDR5 – Rs 78,000/=

Image taken from http://www.sapphiretech.com
Image taken from http://www.sapphiretech.com

Recommended processor:
Intel Core i5 6500 or Intel Core i5 6600K

Recommended Monitor Resolution:
2560×1440, 5760×1080 or 3840×2160

Recommended Power Supply:
550W

Best Graphics card for Rs 100,000/=

Great performance (ultra) on all the latest games at 2560×1440. Good performance (high) at 3840×2160.

What does a cool 6-figure sum buy you in terms of graphics cards? As it turns out, we have quite a few options available at a 100k budget, including an introduction to AMDs groundbreaking Fury lineup.

The AMD Fury lineup has 3 members so far, 2 of which fall in the 100k price range. The R9 Fury and the R9 Fury Nano. These cards feature the brand spanking new (and very creatively named) High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) which, as the name suggests offers more than twice the memory bandwidth than the fastest available graphics cards powered by GDDR5. As the technology is really new, there are a few limitations. Firstly, these cards are limited to a maximum of 4GB of memory. While being sufficient for pretty much anything you can throw at them, 4GB of VRAM feels a bit adequate for a card that costs more than your average PC. Secondly, for whatever reason this also means that the cards are very inconsistent in their performance. While a R9 Fury will in general offer 10-15% more performance than a GTX 980 which is priced slightly cheaper, it will on occasion be matched by the significantly cheaper R9 390s and GTX970s. We believe that in true AMD fashion that these quirks will be addressed in a driver update sometime later this year, but that’s how it stands for now.

Can we now have a multi-card setup? Yes we can! 100k will get you a pair of R9 380Xs that will come pretty close to the more expensive GTX 980Tis in most titles. With AMD’s ever improving drivers and impeccable multi card scaling, it’s very easy to recommend a crossfire setup, making this our go to setup for a 100k.

Recommendation:
2x AMD Radeon R9 380X 4GB GDDR5 in Crossfire

Honorable Mention
AMD Radeon R9 Fury 4GB HBM

Our Pick:
2x Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Nitro 4GB GDDR5 in Crossfire – Rs 96,000/=

Image taken from http://www.sapphiretech.com
Image taken from http://www.sapphiretech.com

Recommended processor:
Intel Core i5 6500 or Intel Core i5 6600K

Recommended Monitor Resolution:
2560×1440, 5760×1080 or 3840×2160

Recommended Power Supply:
750W (550W for a R9 Fury)

Best Graphics card for Rs 120,000/= and beyond

Great performance (ultra) at 3840×2160.

Flagship vs spiritual flagship. R9 Fury X vs GTX 980Ti.

The GTX 980Ti might not be Nvidia’s “flagship” card, but it certainly is the fastest gaming graphics card they make. The Titan X solely exists for that specific scenario where a card with good gaming performance is needed along with a bucketload of VRAM (Lumion anyone?). Or as a cash-grab “just because we can”. So that writes the Titan X out of the equation.

Despite what fanboys of either team will say, it’s well documented that a stock R9 Fury X is only a fraction slower than a stock GTX 980Ti while also costing slightly less. This means both cards are theoretically worth their respective MSRPs.  Now comes the problem for the red team. Pretty much all the GTX 980Tis available in the market carry 10-15% factory overclocks while the Fury X has been locked down to stock clocks due to its experimental nature. This means that the GTX 980Ti’s that are actually available to buy are anywhere between 15-20% faster than a R9 Fury X. This makes the selection pretty straightforward.

Surprisingly enough for a market our size, if you are on the lookout for a GTX 980Ti, you’re spoiled for choice. There are no less than 9 – yes – nine different models of GTX 980Tis available in the market ready to be picked up off the shelves. You can’t really go wrong with any of them, so the sane advice would be to go for the cheapest card you can find that offers you a 3 year warranty.

But hey, you already decided to spend a small fortune on a graphics card. What is this sanity you speak of? Go get yourself one of these beasts. Or two.

Meet the Gigabyte GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce. Currently the fastest single GPU graphics card in the world, with overclocking headroom to spare. Yours for a cool Rs 140,000/=

Recommendation:
Nvidia Geforce GTX 980Ti 6GB GDDR5

Our Pick:
Gigabyte Geforce GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce – Rs 140,000/=

Image taken from http://hexus.net
Image taken from http://hexus.net

Recommended processor:
Intel Core i5 6600K or i7 6700K

Recommended Monitor Resolution:
3840×2160

Recommended Power Supply:
600W

Well there you have it. The best graphics cards for your money at what ever price range you’re looking at. All products shown here are available at retail stores across Sri Lanka and pricing is accurate to the date of publishing as well.

 

Thoughts? Comments? Feedback? We would love to hear from you

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