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Buying guide: AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards

Buying guide: AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards

January 8, 2015 3:22 pm0 comments

We continue with a new shopping guide, in which we will help you choose a very important component that greatly limits the possibilities of the PC, the graphics card.

This component is the one that arouses more doubts among beginners and even among advanced users, and we are confident that this selection will be very useful to you.

AMD and NVIDIA

We will maintain the same structure as in the previous guide, so we will divide it into five broad ranges with different prices, so that you may be able to choose the one that best fits your needs, but also your budget.

As always, I encourage you to comment and leave any questions you may have in the comments section.

Basic range:

Within this range we grouped those graphics cards that allow us to play with a medium or high quality in medium resolutions, though this depends on game requirements, as it allows you to even get to 1080p.

Radeon R7 250X

It integrates 640 stream processors, 128-bit bus and 1GB of GDDR5, allowing it to offer pretty good performance levels. It’s ideal to give a second life to your PC, because it doesn’t require a overeating source or too much space in the case.

Alternative option: GTX 750.

Its performance is around 15% more but it’s also more expensive, so the choice depends on your budget. It has an extremely low consumption and requires no additional connector.

Medium range:

This range is very wide, so much that we decided to create a second category, called Upper Medium Range where will post those solutions that are closer to the high range than medium range.

With medium range graphics cards we can play safely at 1080p, with high or ultra-quality, depending on the game.

Radeon R9 270

It comes with 1,280 stream processors and 256-bit bus with 2GB of GDDR5, which places it as the best choice in its class and price range. As a curiosity I will tell you that it’s more powerful than the PS4 GPU.

Alternative option: GTX 750 Ti

It is less powerful than the R9 270 but it’s also more economic and above all, less demanding when it comes to power supply requirements. On average it has a performance of around 25% -30% less in 1080p resolutions, so this model is only advisable if you are sure that your power supply won’t support an R9 270.

Upper-medium range:

In this category we put those cards that allow us to reach up to 2K resolutions and that have high quality in specific games, but not to the level of a high end graphics card.

NVIDIA GTX 760

It integrates 1,152 shaders, 256-bit bus and 2 GB of GDDR5, sufficient to ensure high performance in the most demanding games. To give us an idea of its power it’s only 8% slower than the Radeon HD 7970 of the first batch.

Alternative option: Radeon R9 280

It has lowered considerably in price, making it a highly recommended solution, but its performance is between 5% and 10% lower at 1080p than the GTX 760, so keep this in mind to see if you can compensate the price difference.

High range:

It consists of those graphics cards that allow us to play on 2K resolutions with no issues with maximum or high qualities, depending on the requirements of each game.

Radeon R9 280x

It has 2,048 stream processors, a 384-bit bus and 3GB of GDDR5, which makes it capable of providing a high level of performance even in demanding games such as Crysis 3 or Battlefield 4.

Alternative option: None.

The reason is simple, the GTX 770 would be its equivalent, but it offers an almost identical performance and it is priced around 400 dollars, so it’s not worth it.

Highest Range:

These graphic cards allow you to play at 4K with no problem, but as always, quality settings depend on each game.

NVIDIA GTX 970

It is based on Maxwell, the new generation of NVIDIA graphics and offers a fantastic performance level, albeit maintaining low power consumption, so it works with 500W power supplies. It comes with 1,664 shaders, 256-bit bus and 4GB of GDDR5.

Alternative option: None.

AMD has nothing that can really compete with the GTX 970, since rendering even more than the R9 290x in 4K resolutions, while in 2K resolutions they are tied. Given that the AMD option is more expensive and consumes much more, you will understand better why we made this decision.

Read More:

Part 1: Buying guide: motherboard and processor
Part 2,  Buying guide: Hard Drives and SSDs

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