Best Graphics Card Reviews 2018

You know a good graphics card will take your PC’s performance to another level. You also know that the best graphics card for you exists among the many great options out there. What you don’t know is which brand/product it is. We can help you with that as we have researched those options and have narrowed them down to 5 of the best graphics card from trusted brands. Below is our review of those five top brands (with a sample product from each brand) that offer great products. Keep in mind that these brands have other products apart from the ones we featured that you can also check out.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Cooling
Graphic Ram
Resolution
Clock Speed
Coprocessor
Our Top Choice
Gigabyte Gaming 4GD Graphics Card
When you want to get into serious gaming, you can count on Gigabyte. It delivers a high-performance card with extended flexibility in arranging monitor configurations.
Automatic monitor detection and support for simultaneous multi-display gaming. Can be overclocked to beat much pricier cards. Great cooling system with low noise level.
Coil whines a little when card is pushed to its limits. However, you can’t hear this with your speakers on. In addition, it lessens with use.
Windforce 3X Cooling System
4GB
4096 x 2160; 2048 x 1536 pixels
Base: 1178 MHz/Boost: 1329 MHz
NVIDIA
Best Value
MSI Radeon™ R9 380 Gaming Graphics Card
MSI, one of the biggest names in the industry, gives you a great weapon to take out your opponents in this high-performance gaming graphics card with advanced cooling systems.
Great performance. Superior cooling system. Overclocking tool that allows you to tweak anything on your graphics card. Ability to capture your moves as video or image.
Power consumption is quite high.
Twin Frozr V Cooling System
4GB
4096 x 2160 pixels
5700 MHz; 5800 MHz (OC Mode)
AMD Radeon R9 380
PNY NVIDIA Quadro K5200 PCIe Graphics Card
PNY, a global leader in high-end graphics cards for workstations, gives you high performance and flexibility for enhanced workflow and overall increased efficiency.
Easy computation of large datasets and the display of complex scenes and models. Creates cinematic scenes and environments without jeopardizing performance. Advanced multi-display.
Hefty price, though justified by the top-end performance it delivers.
Ultra-quiet active fansink
8GB
4096 x 2160 pixels
Information not provided
NVIDIA
EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Gaming Graphics Card
EVGA, a company that believes that every PC deserves a great graphics card, makes this high performer that stays cool and operates at ultra-high settings.
Installs on Win 10 out of the box. Renders videos fast. Excellent image quality and exceptional detail. Streams smoothly and with very low latency. Handles ultra high settings.
You may find EVGA’s packaging a little disappointing.
EVGA ACX 2.0+ Cooling Technology
6GB
4096 x 2160 pixels
Base: 1102 MHz/Boost: 1190 MHz
NVIDIA
Sapphire R7 240 2G D3 Graphics Card
Sapphire, a leading manufacturer of PC products and accessories, offers a great but low-cost graphics card.
Affordable. Fast and efficient. Sharp images with excellent detail. Multi-display support.
Sticks out in compact PCs.
Single slot fansink
2 GB
2560 x 1600 pixels
900 MHz
AMD Radeon R7 240

(Updated )
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Watch Our Graphics Card Review

How Do I Choose the Best Graphics Card?

Whether you have a gaming desktop or a gaming laptop, it’s well-known that what makes your gaming experience worthwhile is the graphics card you have in your computer. The better your graphics card, the better image quality you can expect to see as you’re playing your game on your gaming monitor. But quality graphics cards are not just for gamers. Professionals who work with a lot of photos and videos, modeling software such as AutoCAD or people who want the ultimate in movie streaming quality may also want to invest in a higher end graphics card.

The best graphics cards have enough bandwidth to allow data to transfer quickly to keep your game functioning optimally. They have an efficient cooling system that functionally dissipates the heat generated. They also have sufficient memory to store gaming data that lets you play at high resolutions and impressive sound output. As you read on, you will have a better understanding of how a good graphics card can enhance your gaming experience and overall computer power.
Price
The bandwidth, processing power, and memory size are the main factors that affect the pricing of a graphics card. A typical gamer will want the best graphics cards on the shelf with all the ‘nice things.' When you consider the price of such cards, you will quickly snap back to reality. A high-end graphics card will cost around $700 while a less expensive one that’s not quite as powerful can go for $200 or less.

It’s almost natural to be attracted to products with low prices, but when it comes to graphics cards, rock-bottom prices are alerting you of cheap graphics cards! Don’t be persuaded by the price or by the thought of saving a few bucks. If you invest in a great graphics card now—one that’s still within your budget—you won’t need to replace it within a year or two.
Features
Have you tried to run some application on your computer, but everything starts to run in slow motion or doesn’t even work at all? Especially if the particular application you’re trying to open requires the assistance of your graphics card? It’s possible, then, that you may need to upgrade your card. If you want to get an upgrade, here are the features you should be looking out for:
  • Bandwidth
  • Size
  • Power
  • Cooler
  • Memory
  • Memory type
  • Compatibility
Now that you know what to look out for, keep reading to have a better understanding of how these features affect the performance of a graphics card.
Construction and Design
Most people looking to buy a graphics card opt for ones with larger memory, believing that the higher the memory, the better the card. This thought process is synonymous to deciding to purchase a car because of the size of the gas tank. The most important feature to consider is the bandwidth. This is the speed of the card, or how fast it can process, and it’s measured in GB/s (translation for the non-techies, gigabytes per second). Simply stated, the higher the bandwidth, the better, because then your card can process faster frame rates and retain the quality of your graphics.

Because bandwidth is one of the most important features, you’ll find that cards with higher bandwidth are more expensive. The memory of a graphics card is not as significant in terms of raw performance. For instance, GDDR5 cards are better than GDDR3s because the former has twice the bandwidth.

Size is another thing you’ll consider when buying a graphics card. It’s possible the new card is bigger than the one you’re replacing it with, and fitting it in your CPU shell might be an issue. Though most cards are around 10 inches long, there are some that are up to 12 inches, so be sure of its dimensions before you purchase.

That last thing you want to happen is to buy a new, advanced graphics card only to find out that your PC doesn’t have the required power to supply the card, effectively ruining the dreams you were having about all those games you were going to play. What a bummer! To avoid this, make sure you check the PCIe power connectors of your system. If you already have a power supply unit (PSU) installed, confirm the wattage ratings and how many amps the 12V rails supply. Check these against the graphics card to make sure your unit has enough juice to power it. If not, check for another graphics card that can work with your system or consider getting yourself a PSU.

Graphics cards use up a lot of power, which creates a lot of heat. Your graphics processing unit (GPU) will burn up if it doesn’t have a cooler, which is why graphics cards come with a cooling system. There are two types of card coolers: Reference, which channels heat through the back of the case, and aftermarket, which is custom made and high-performance. The reference coolers are a bit noisy while the aftermarket type is quieter, but dissipates heat into the CPU casing, which raises the temperature of the case. Unless your system already has a way of managing its general temperature, this could be a problem. If your system temperature goes beyond 131 degrees F during gaming, you might want to consider reference coolers and live with the noise. But if your system already manages heat efficiently, you’d be better off with the high-performance aftermarket coolers.
Performance and Ease of Use
The hardcore gamer wants to get the best possible gaming experience. Playing in 4K resolution and combining monitors with sounds outputting in surround will require some memory power. This is where the amount of memory a graphics card has comes into play. The RAM is used for storing visual images and post-processing effects, which is why most high-end games require a lot of memory to function optimally because there’s a lot of data to be processed. Unless you plan to combine monitors and play in surround, the regular 2GB or 4GB RAM is okay for a graphics card.

When it comes to performance, the type of memory your graphics card has will determine its output. The memory size handles the amount of graphics data that needs to be processed while the memory type—which determines the bandwidth—manages the rate at which the data is transferred (and this translates to performance!). A GDDR5 memory allows for twice the amount of data transfer as GDDR3. When it comes to performance, 1GB GDDR5 card is better than 2GB GDDR3.

After all is said, the graphics card you buy will ultimately be determined by the type of CPU you have. Older CPUs won’t be able to run higher-end graphics cards, but may be able to run mid-range ones instead. If you’re interested in playing graphics-heavy games on your PC, you might want to consider some upgrades if your system isn’t up to par. Or better still, you could invest in a more powerful PC.

What is the Best Graphics Card?

Now that your mind is made up on the combination of features you want in your graphics card go ahead and read our review of individual brands/products. We hope that this approach will help you decide on the graphics card that will provide all your needs and will be at an affordable price.
Our Top Choice
Gigabyte makes serious stuff when it comes to gaming graphics cards. That’s what you get with the GV-N970G1 (featuring a GeForce GTX 970 graphics card). If you don’t need a card as high-end as this, check out the more affordable Ti WindForce Graphics Card, also from Gigabyte.
Gigabyte GeForce 4GB Gaming Pcie Video Graphics Card With Gigabyte Flex Display Technology

Gigabyte Graphics Card GV N970 G1 GAMING-4GD


Features
Gigabyte, a big name in computer accessories, makes products that deliver the highest levels of performance. And where else do you expect the expertise and innovation prowess of a graphics card developer to be tested than in the e-gaming world? Gigabyte shines with products that give you the weapons to demolish your opponents.

The GV-N970G1 GAMING-4GD ($220 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) lives up to our expectations of a Gigabyte product. It delivers top-end performance and uncompromising system reliability. This graphics card comes loaded with features that provide the serious gamer with the right environment to thrive.

Let’s check out those features:
  • Gigabyte Flex Display technology provides automatic monitor detection, supporting simultaneous multi-display gaming (up to 4 monitors) via different output groups.
  • Dynamic Super Resolution Technology (DSR) gives you top quality displays with high fidelity and exceptional detail.
  • Multi-Frame Sample Anti-Aliasing (MFAA) gives you faster and smoother game play.
  • Heat Pipe Direct Touch technology helps deliver better heat transfer efficiency and increased cooling capacity with very low noise.
  • WINDFORCE 3X cooling system with Unique Blade Fan gives you a high cooling capacity while maintaining a lower noise level.
  • SOC ─ GPU Gauntlet™ Sorting provides excellent power switching and thereby guarantees higher overclocking capability.
  • OC GURU ll intuitive user interfaces make it easy for you to update BIOS and driver or change important settings.
  • Ultra Durable VGA™ board improves power efficiency and results in better overclocking while lowering the temperatures of GPU and memory.
The G1 Gaming series comes with different configurations. Some are powered by AMD Radeon, while others are powered by Nvidia GeForce so there’s one to suit everybody.
Best Value
MSI, committed to equipping gamers for “world domination,” makes gaming graphics cards that set new standards. The Radeon™ R9 380 GAMING 4G is the weapon of choice for many serious gamers. If its memory clock of 5800 MHz (OC mode) isn’t enough to vanquish your “enemies,” get the GeForce® GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G (with 8108 MHz -- OC mode).
MSI R9 380 4G Gaming Graphics Card With Multiple Advanced Cooling Technologies

MSI Graphics Card R9 380 GAMING 4G


Features
As a global leader in gaming and e-sport products, MSI creates tools and the environment for the world’s best and most aspiring gamers. It implements innovative ideas that lead to cutting-edge products, giving serious gamers “dominant weapons that pave their way to victory.”

You too can pave your way to gaming victory with the Radeon™ R9 380 gaming graphics card. It sells for $237.95 (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) but packs in many game-changing features that make that price look like peanuts in exchange (no offense, peanut lovers).

These features include the following:
  • Twin Frozr V Cooler keeps things cooler while generating less noise.
  • SuperSU Pipe. Part of the heating solution, it also increases efficiency in heat dissipation.
  • Airflow Control technology directs airflow onto heat pipes, resulting in better heat dissipation.
  • Zero Frozr technology eliminates fan noise completely when your card is in low-load situations (and doesn’t need fans).
  • Premium LED-illuminated MSI GAMING Dragon lets you choose your preferred ambience for your games with just a click.
  • MSI’s Hi-c CAPs. Tiny super-efficient capacitors help reduce the card’s total thermal footprint.
  • MIL-STD-810G certified (military-grade) components ensure your card can withstand extreme situations.
  • Solid CAPs provide lower Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) and have a lifespan of over 10 years.
  • Super Ferrite Chokes deliver better overclocking power stability, a 20-percent improvement in power efficiency and a 30-percent higher current capacity.
  • Benchmarking utility Kombustor gives you insight into your card’s actual performance.
  • MSI Afterburner (GPU overclocking tool) enables you to tweak just about anything on your graphics card.
  • XSplit Gamecaster & Broadcaster V2. Record and show off your gaming skills to friends, family and the world.
  • Predator. Push a button and capture your coolest moments as videos or still images with this screen and video capturing tool.
If you need a graphics card that gives you all the power and flexibility you need to get the job done fast, then PNY is the brand you should look for, and the NVIDIA Quadro K5200 is a great pick. If you have more modest requirements and don’t need 8GB, we recommend the Quadro K2200 (also from PNY), with a more affordable price and a memory of 4GB GDDR5.
PNY NVIDIA Quadro K5200 8GB PCIe 3.0 GPU Graphics Card with NVIDIA CUDA Parallel Computing Architecture

PNY Graphics Card VCQK5200-PB


Features
PNY is a global leader that shows its commitment to excellence in the products it makes. It subjects every product it creates to stringent tests, so that you can be assured of less downtime. You can count on one thing: these products will run smoothly in the most demanding situations.

The NVIDIA Quadro K5200 gives you a taste of the level of top performance, reliability and innovation that the PNY brand stands for. It sells for $2,499.00 (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), but our research shows that you can get it for much less at Amazon.

This graphics card comes loaded with top-end features designed to make professional workstations work faster, more efficiently and more smoothly.
  • NVIDIA CUDA Parallel Computing Architecture accelerates techniques like computation fluid dynamics, ray tracing and image/video processing.
  • NVIDIA Parallel DataCache™ accelerates texture filtering, physics and real-time ray tracing.
  • Large Framebuffers with Ultra-Fast Bandwidth speed up computation of large datasets and the display of complex scenes and models.
  • NVIDIA Scalable Geometry Engine enables you to work interactively with much more complex scenes and models.
  • NVIDIA FXAA and TXAA improves image quality without compromising system performance.
  • Full-Scene Antialiasing (FSAA) gives you exceptionally realistic scenes and unrivalled image quality.
  • Quadro Tessellation Engines help deliver cinematic-scenes and environments without jeopardizing performance.
  • NVIDIA NVIEW Advanced Desktop Software gives users the flexibility they need in the control of multi-display or single large display options.
  • Multi-Display Support supports the next generation Display Port 1.2 for creating a sophisticated 3D CAVE environment, the deployment of multiple displays and building an expansive digital signage wall.
  • NVIDIA Quadro Mosaic Technology enables scaling of the desktop and applications across multiple displays from a single workstation while maintaining image quality and 100-percent performance.
  • DisplayPort 1.2 Support (with Audio) enables the maximum range, color depth, refresh rate and resolution necessary to support the latest display technologies.
EVGA, a brand that delivers quality dedicated gaming graphics cards, gives you top performance and amazing virtual reality in the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti. If you want a much lower memory configuration, we recommend the GT 610, with its lower 1000 MHz memory clock, 2048MB DDR3 and 300W.
EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super Clocked Gaming PCIe Graphic Card With NVIDIA Dynamic Super Resolution Technology

EVGA Graphics Card 06G-P4-4995-KR – GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ w/ BP


Features
EVGA believes that “every PC deserves great graphics.” Therefore, it creates dedicated graphics cards that give you superior performance even in extreme gaming situations. If you want an immersive experience and faster, superior multimedia, you'll do well with EVGA.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SC+ GAMING ACX 2.0+ sells for $696.10 (MSRP) but can be bought for less at Amazon. With it, you can now play tougher games and opponents in the knowledge that you have tools that deliver in extreme settings while maintaining smooth, hitch-free performance. These things and more are possible, thanks to its features.
  • NVIDIA Dynamic Super Resolution Technology. Enjoy 4K fidelity in 1080P displays with breathtaking image quality and exceptional detail.
  • NVIDIA GameStream Technology empowers you to stream your gaming experiences smoothly and with very low latency.
  • NVIDIA GameWorks Technology gives you a more “cinematic” and interactive game experience.
  • NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 allows you to reach new performance levels.
  • NVIDIA G-SYNC Ready reduces input lag and eliminates screen tearing.
  • NVIDIA MFAA Technology gives you a performance boost of up to 30 percent while maintaining high-quality edges.
  • NVIDIA Surround Technology provides an “inside the game” experience by expanding your games with full stereoscopic 3D across three displays using a single card.
  • NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync gives you a smoother gaming experience by enabling vertical sync based on a user’s current frame rates.
  • NVIDIA CUDA Technology with OpenCL support unlocks the GPU processor’s capabilities for faster handling of demanding tasks.
  • Industry-leading NVIDIA SLI technology enhances performance by implementing Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR).
  • Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate lowers temperature effectively as it makes contact with both GPU memory and mosfets.
  • EVGA ACX 2.0 Cooling gives you more air flow with less power, creating a cooler internal environment even in extreme situations.
The EVGA GTX Ti Graphics Card comes in different configurations, like memory size and texture fill rates.
Sapphire provides top quality PC solutions. The R7 240 2G D3 is a fast, affordable and efficient graphics card with 320 stream processors. If you need way more power, the SAPPHIRE Radeon™ R9 FURY X 4G D5 will serve your needs well, with its whopping 4096 stream processors.
Sapphire Radeon R7 240 2GB Graphics Card With AMD CrossFire Technology For Stunning Images

Sapphire Graphics Card 11216-00-20G


Features
Founded in 2001, Sapphire has grown to become a leading name in innovative solutions for your computer. You can count on well-designed items when you buy even its entry-level products.

While the Radeon R7 240 comes at a low price of $99.99 (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), there is nothing lowly about the powerful performance you can expect from this graphics card.

It comes with these great features:
  • AMD CrossFire technology allows your PC to use up to four graphics processing units (GPUs), resulting in uncompromising detail and sharp images.
  • AMD ZeroCore Power Technology saves power in situations that don’t demand peak performance from your GPU, putting it in an idle mode.
  • AMD PowerTune Technology assesses the load on your graphics processor and enables reductions in memory clock speeds, engine and voltage during low-load situations.
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology enables one graphics card to produce top quality visuals on multiple display units from a single PC or workstation.
  • 2GB GDDR3 RAM.
  • 320 stream processors.
  • 128-bit memory bus.
  • 20 texture units.
  • 15.6GT/s texture fill rate.
  • 2-year warranty.
Graphics cards in this series come in configurations that have different texture fill rates, features, power consumption and memory sizes.

Get the Best Graphics Card of 2018!

You’ve come. You’ve seen what’s available. Now conquer – we mean, buy yours! We hope we have provided you with enough useful information to enable you to buy the best graphics card for you with confidence.

Our Top Choice
Gigabyte Gaming 4GD Graphics Card
Best Value
MSI Radeon™ R9 380 Gaming Graphics Card
PNY NVIDIA Quadro K5200 PCIe Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Gaming Graphics Card
Sapphire R7 240 2G D3 Graphics Card