The Best Graphics Cards for Your Money (Updated – June 2014)

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Our previous iteration of this article generated a lot of interest among our readers, and we received multiple inquiries as to if or when there will be a follow up. Well, we think in the two months that have passed since, there has been enough of a change in the market to warrant an update.

There have been a number of new entrants to the game since our last article.

A handful of new graphics card models have been launched from both the Red and Green camps, while in the local side of things a few brands such as Gigabyte and AFox are making a return to Unity Plaza with increasing rapidity.

As far as new models go, the latest is GeForce GT 740. However, this is merely a renamed GTX 650 with the clock speeds turned down in order to keep the power consumption down. Hence the GT 740 is a weaker from of the GTX 650, albeit a bit cheaper. However at around Rs 17,000, it’s still handsomely beaten by both the Radeon R7 250 and 250X, and therefore fails to gain a recommendation.

In the midrange, the GTX750Ti has made an appearance in the market. Although we were speculating near-GTX 660 performance back in April, the new card barely manages to beat a GTX 650Ti Boost, which makes the GTX 750Ti an iffy buy for just over Rs 25,000. The fact that the R7 265 manages to run rings around it doesn’t help either.

At the higher end, we find the return of an old favorite, the HD7950, in the form of the Radeon R9 280. At Rs 40,000, this is probably the best bang for buck card in this entire roundup, providing never before seen performance at a 40K price point. In fact, not so long ago, a secondhand 7950 would have cost this much. AMD’s clearly got the price war under control at this point.

The Titan Z: redefining poverty
The Titan Z: redefining poverty

At the super high end, both the Titan Z and R9 295X2 dual-GPU behemoths have been made available by local retailers with list prices of Rs 475,000/= and Rs 240,000/= respectively (yes you read those figures right).

If you really have too much money to spend on a graphics card, we’d suggest picking up the R9 295X2. It’s the faster card and comes with a custom closed-loop liquid cooler. Costing half as much as the competition also helps with the recommendation.

Thankfully, we’ve seen some significant price drops in the market since our last roundup.

All lower end NVidia cards have seen price drops, starting from the GT 630s now available for less than Rs 9,000, GT 640’s going for around Rs 14,000, GTX 650s around 15,000 and GTX 750s for just over Rs 20,000. Radeon has also cut prices. Let’s see how these changes play out.

Before we move onto our recommendations, our trusty graph.

graph

Why 3D Mark? A couple of reasons. The above graph is a compilation of scores found here. This list works is collects the scores of thousands of users who have submitted their scores through the 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.

Now onwards to the recommendations.

Best graphics card for Rs 10,000/= or below
Max settings on any game below 1366×768. Good performance (medium/high) on all the latest games at 1366×768. Entry level performance at 1980×1080.

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 GT 210s, GT 520s, HD5450s, HD6450s and the newer (but equally bad) GT 610s and GT 620s. Why are none of these recommended? To put it into perspective, the Intel HD Graphics present on the current generation Pentium processors will give you better graphics performance than all those older gen cards. Therefore, the verdict is simple: avoid them.

The R7 240 DDR3 took our last recommendation for the fastest card for Rs 10,000. That card has since dropped in price to the 8-9K region. Do we have a different recommendation this time around? The big brother of the R7 240 family, the DDR5 version is now available for just 10k.  Can faster memory make a significant difference? Absolutely. In real world situation you can find the DDR5 version outperforming the DDR3 version by upto 20%. For comparison, the R7 240 DDR5 manages to trade blows with a GT 640 which tends to sell for ~4k more. If the DDR5 version is beyond your reach, stick to the DDR 3 version.

With a little bit of tweaking, titles like Battlefield 3 are playable at 1366x768
With a little bit of tweaking, titles like Battlefield 3 are quite playable on the 240 at 1366×768
Recommendation:
Radeon R7 240 1GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R7 240 1GB GDDR5 – Rs 10,000/=
Recommended Processor:
4th Generation Intel Pentium G3220 or AMD Athlon II 750K
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1366×768
Recommended Power Supply:
250W

Best graphics card for Rs 15,000/=
Max settings on any game at 1366×768. Good performance on all the latest games at 1980×1080.

Let’s jump another 5,000 and see what’s available. Price drops over the past few months have seen a few of the contenders from the previous 20,000 bracket fall into the 15,000-rupee bracket. Namely, the R7 250X, GTX 650 and the GT 640, along with the R7 250 which took the crown for the best card for Rs 15,000 last time around. As the card picked as the honorable mention for the best card for Rs 20,000 last time and offering never before seen performance for 15,000, the 250X takes our recommendation as the fastest card you can buy for Rs 15,000, beating the GTX 650 by a large margin.

Recommendation:
Radeon R7 250X 1GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R7 250X 1GB GDDR5 – Rs 15,000/=
Honorable mention:
Radeon R7 250 1GB GDDR5 (if your PSU cannot handle a 250X)

Recommended Processor:

4th Generation Intel Core i3 4130 or AMD FX-6300

Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1366×768 or 1600×900
Recommended Power Supply:
300W

Best Graphics card for Rs 20,000/=
Max settings on any game at 1366×768. Good performance (high) on all the latest games at 1980×1080.

Rs 20,000 is the sweet spot for graphics card in our market. Whatever goes here will undoubtedly be the crowd favorite.

So what can you get in between 15 and 20K? The newcomer, the GT 740 and our old favourite, the R7 260X. Since the R7 250X we mentioned in the previous price category easily beats a GT 740, that eliminates the Nvidia card.

The R7 260X has dropped below 20K, now making it an easier recommendation for 20,000. Jumping just over the barrier of 20k, we find the GTX 750. Out of the two, the R7 260X is the faster card by a decent margin. However, the GTX 750 has the advantage of not requiring an external power connector, therefore being compatible with a wider range of low end systems. Our recommendation goes to the R7 260X while the GTX 750 gets an honorable mention.

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Recommendation:
Radeon R7 260X 1GB GDDR5
Honorable Mention
GeForce GTX 750 1GB GDDR5 – if your power supply can’t handle a R7 260X.
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R7 260X 1GB GDDR5 – Rs 19,000/=
Recommended processor:
4th Generation Intel Core i3 4130 or AMD FX-6300
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1600×900 or 1920×1080
Recommended Power Supply:
350W (250W for a GTX 750)

Best Graphics card for Rs 25,000/=
Exceptional performance (high/ultra) on all the latest games at 1980×1080. Entry level performance at 2560×1440.

There are not many options available between Rs 20,000 and 25,000 –  it’s mostly 2GB versions of the GTX 750 and R7 260X along with the now obsolete GTX 650Ti and a few overpriced GTX 650s. At 25,000, you will find two cards from both camps priced evenly – the new GTX 750Ti and the R7 265.

The R7 265 is the reincarnation of an old favorite, the Radeon HD7850. Sporting the same silicon, it also sports the same legendary overclocking prowess. All R7 265s we tried overclock to 1050 MHz out of the box, putting them on par with an overclocked GTX 660 or a stock R9 270!

The GTX 750Ti is the newcomer at this price range, albeit quite a bit slower than a R7 265. It doesn’t require a 6-pin connector; therefore making it the fastest card you can buy that doesn’t need external power. Just for this reason, it earns an honorable mention in our books.

Recommendation: 
Radeon R7 265 2GB GDDR5
Honorable Mention
GeForce GTX750Ti 2GB GDDR5 – once again, only if you don’t want to drop money on a decent power supply.
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R7 265 Dual-X 2GB GDDR5 – Rs 25,000/=
Recommended processor:
4th Generation Intel Core i3 4130 or AMD FX-6300
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1920×1080
Recommended Power Supply:
400W (450W if overclocking)

Best Graphics card for Rs 30,000/=
Ultra settings on most of the latest games at 1980×1080. Good performance (medium) at 2560×1440.

The Rs 30,000 price bracket has had its fair share of drama in the past few weeks. The GTX 660 which was a contender in our 40,000 bracket in the last roundup saw a significant drop to a much more affordable 29k. Not to be outdone, the R9 270 has come down to 28,000 which has really heated up the battle.

Still gold.
Still gold.

We still give our vote to the R9 270 for being a faster card that costs less. But hey, if you really really want a GTX 660, now you can buy one and not feel too bad for yourself by knowing that you didn’t pay too much extra for it.

Recommendation:
Radeon R9 270 2GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R9 270 Twin Frozr Gaming 2GB GDDR5 – Rs 28,000/=
Recommended processor:
4th Generation Intel Core i3 4130 or Core i5 4590
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1920×1080
Recommended Power Supply:
450W (300W for a GTX 750Ti)

Best Graphics card for Rs 40,000/=
Ultra settings on all the latest games at 1980×1080. Good performance (medium/high) at 2560×1440.

This is the price point where you are looking to max out everything on a full HD monitor. Price drops over the past couple of months have brought the GTX 760 closer to the 40k region and is locked into battle with the little brother of the R9 280X, the R9 280.

This time around however, it’s more of a fair fight between the R9 280 and the GTX 760. Both cards generally trade blows in most titles, while the R9 280 takes the lead at higher resolutions or higher AA levels because of its higher VRAM and higher memory bandwidth facilitated by a 384-bit bus. Being the cheaper of the two, the R9 280 earns our recommendation.

Recommendation:
Radeon R9 280 3GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R9 280 Dual-X 3GB GDDR5 – Rs 40,000/=
Recommended processor:
4th Generation Intel Core i5 4570 or i5 4670K
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1920×1080 or 2560×1440
Recommended Power Supply:
500W

Best Graphics card for Rs 50,000/=
Ultra settings on all the latest games at 1980×1080. Exceptional performance (Ultra/high) at 2560×1440.

This is the land of the 2K displays. With the GTX 760 being dropped down to a lower price bracket, the Rs 50,000 price range has a solitary competitor, the R9 280X. Comfortably faster than the R9 280 and the GTX 760, the R9 280X nips on the heels of the GTX 770 on some games. The R9 280X is, also a great starting point for a single card triple monitor gaming setup.

Recommendation:
Radeon R9 280X 3GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X Vapor-X Tri-X 3GB GDDR5 – Rs 50,000/=
Recommended processor:
4th Generation Intel Core i5 4570 or i5 4670K
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
1920×1080, 2560×1440 or 5760×1080
Recommended Power Supply:
550W

Best Graphics card for Rs 75,000/=
Ultra settings on all the latest games at 2560×1440 and at 5760×1080 (triple monitor). Solid performance (high/ultra) at 3840×2160.

You might notice a lack of a 60,000-rupee bracket this time around. Reason? Since the R9 280X has dropped in price and custom cooled versions are available for as low as Rs 50,000, we really don’t think the previous 60K recommendation, the GTX 770 is still a worthwhile buy for Rs 60,000. So lets jump straight ahead to Rs 75,000.

The pieces of the puzzle
The pieces of the puzzle

75,000 Rupees is a LOT of money. Who spends this much on a graphics card? Well, you’d be surprised as to the number of people interested -and more importantly- capable of buying these. What will Rs 75,000 buy? A Radeon R9 290. How fast is it? Have you ever heard of something called a GeForce Titan? Of course you have. Well, the R9 290 performs roughly on par with a Titan while costing just half as much. Yes. This card. Matches a Titan. And costs 75K. Next!

Recommendation:
Radeon R9 290 4GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X 4GB GDDR5 – Rs 75,000/=
Recommended processor:
Overclocked 4th Generation Intel Core i5 4670K
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
2560×1440, 5760×1080 or 3840×2160
Recommended Power Supply:
550W

Best Graphics card for Rs 100,000/=
Ultra settings on just about anything

Yup, people DO buy these things. Otherwise they wouldn’t be around. For about the same money which you could buy a decent gaming PC, you can buy either a Radeon R9 290X or a GTX 780. The R9 290X is the current top dog of the Radeon lineup and brushes shoulders with the GTX 780Ti which costs Rs 30,000 more (at this point you can safely assume that the 780Ti is not getting a recommendation). The GTX 780 is easily beaten by the R9 290 at the 75k price point, so there’s really no point paying the extra ~20k for a GTX 780.

So does this leave the R9 290X as the best graphics solution you can buy at Rs 100,000? Not quite. Not since some smart guy (literally) decided to put two graphics cards in his PC. Rs 100,000 will buy you a pair of R9 280X. Hook these up with a Crossfire connector and you have enough horsepower to run a school bus. Two R9 280Xs in Crossfire easily outpace the R9 290X and GTX 780Ti by around 20-25%.

However, there are inherent flaws in running a dual card setup. You need a bigger power supply, a Crossfire supported motherboard, a case with sufficient cooling for two cards, and you always have to wait for a couple of weeks after a game is released for it to support multiple graphics cards. Some older and not so popular games have issues with multi graphics setups, but a single R9 280X should be able to do away with these easily.   

Why settle for one when you can go for two…right? Right.

Recommendation: 
2x Radeon R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 in Crossfire
Honorable Mention
Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5
Our Pick:
2x Sapphire Radeon R9 280X Dual-X 2GB GDDR5 in Crossfire
Recommended processor:
Overclocked 4th Generation Intel Core i5 4670K or i7 4820K
Recommended Monitor Resolution:
2560×1440, 5760×1080 or 3840×2160
Recommended Power Supply:
800W for crossfire, 600W for 290X

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. can you tell me where can i buy a Radeon R7 240 1GB GDDR5 ?
    my cpu is intel core i3 4130
    i’m stuck in 10.000 that’s why………………..

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