The Best Graphics Cards by Price (Oct 2018)

Adrian B Updated on Oct 08, 2018

Picking up the correct GPU can be a tedious task. Manufacturers are always releasing new models every month. In this guide, I will show you the different options you have available depending on how much you want to spend.

 

If you see errors, misleading information, or you just don’t agree with me I would really appreciate your comments so we all can improve this post together. Try to be nice with each other and be collaborative.

How To Choose A Graphics Card

Before you start thinking about what graphics card suits you better, you should consider the following:

  • The best performance/price models are between the $150 to $250 range. Above that range, the power/price ratio will be considerably lower.
  • If you want a graphics card to be used for the next three to five years, playing games at ultra settings, you should consider the $300 to $400 price range models.
  • My personal advice is: buy a $200 to $250 card and renew it every two years. You will always have an edge-cutting graphics card, games at best quality settings and you will save a lot of money.

Now that all the new 2016 GPU models are available in the market, it’s time to know how to identify the successors or substitutes of the previous generation.

Unlike previous years, this current generation is much more colorful with the new Polaris architecture from AMD. We could say that Nvidia finally has someone to compete with and this is all good news for us, the consumers. And this means basically one thing: more competitive/adjusted prices.

Every time a new generation is released, the same questions arise once again: what’s the best model? How they perform compared to their respective previous version? Which one should I buy for {name your needs}?

New 2016 Generation VS Old 2015 Generation

In my opinion, the first thing you want to know is the equivalence between the old and the new generations. Follow the next directions to get the big picture of the current situation:

  • Entry level ($110 to $150): the RX 460 replaces the GTX 950.
  • Mid-tier ($200 to $240):
    • The RX 470 replaces the R9 380X and the GTX 960.
    • The RX 480 4GB and GTX 1060 3GB replaces the R9 390 and the GTX 970.
  • Mid-high tier ($220 to $300): RX 480 8GB and GTX 1060 6GB replaces the R9 390X and the GTX 980.
  • High-end ($450): the GTX 1070 replaces the GTX TITAN X 2015, R9 FURY and FURY X.
  • Enthusiasts (+ $640): the GTX 1080 and the new GTX TITAN X Pascal are the most advanced models of this generation and they currently don’t have any competitor, nor in this generation, nor in the previous.

** Learn more about the Nvidia’s Pascal architecture in this post:

Choosing The Right GPU That Fits Your Needs

Now, the next question is obvious: from all the models mentioned above, which one is the best for my needs? That’s probably the most difficult question to answer as the graphics cards’ specifications can vary a lot from year to year.

But, as always, no matter how complex any matter can be, it can be rewritten or summarized so anyone can understand it. So I will try to put it straight for you:

  • For 1080p / 30 fps / high settings: the RX 560 or the GTX 1050.
  • For 1080p / 30 to 40 fps / ultra settings: the RX 570 or the GTX 1050 Ti.
  • For 1080p / 60 fps / ultra settings: the RX 580 (either 4 or 8 GB) or the GTX 1060 (either 3 or 6 GB).
  • For 1440p / 30 fps / ultra settings: the RX 580 8GB or the GTX 1060 6GB.
  • For 1440p / 144 fps / ultra settings: the GTX 1070.
  • For 4K / 30 fps / ultra settings: the GTX 1080.
  • For 4K / 60 fps / ultra settings: the GTX 1080 Ti or 2x GTX 1080 (SLI).

Note that the mentioned models are just the minimum recommended to achieve certain performance levels. Anything above the recommended models will obviously give you better results.

A Bit Of Theory: What Is A Shader?

You will see in this guide that one of the features that I’ve decided to include on each listed GPU is the number of shader cores included. And that is so for a reason: shaders are a reliable marker of GPUs power.

From a low-level perspective, a shader core is a computational resource that receives instructions and processes it in order to manipulate the pixels and polygon vertices within a scene, i.e. graphics rendering. AMD call these shaders cores Stream Processors while Nvidia names it CUDA Cores. Also, each manufacturer builds and configures the shader cores in their own ways, depending on the used architecture and performance goals. So, while there are some similarities, AMD and Nvidia shaders can’t be directly compared to each other.

Shaders are the the computational units used for rendering graphics. So, the more shaders, the better.

So, while there are some similarities, AMD and Nvidia shaders can’t be directly compared to each other. This does not mean that AMD is better/worse than Nvidia. They are just different and the best way to figure out which one is better is through performance tests. What you can actually do is compare GPUs within the SAME manufacturer: Nvidia vs Nvidia or AMD vs AMD.

Buying Guide

Casual – From $65 to $170

Cheapest models to play some games at 1080p. You will be able to play games at mid-high settings on two years old games and low-mid settings on recent titles.

GeForce GT 1030

GIGABYTE GT 1030 2GB

GIGABYTE GT 1030 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1265 MHz / 1506 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5 6GHz
chevron_right384
chevron_right30 W
Market Price: $79.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
EVGA GT 1030 SC 2GB

EVGA GT 1030 SC 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1290 MHz / 1544 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5 6GHz
chevron_right384
chevron_right30 W
Market Price: $92.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

GeForce GTX 1050

MSI GTX 1050 GAMING OC 2GB

MSI GTX 1050 GAMING OC 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1404 MHz / 1518 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right640
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $135.33
Available on:
Amazon USA
EVGA GTX 1050 SC GAMING 2GB

EVGA GTX 1050 SC GAMING 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1417 MHz / 1531 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right640
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $121.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Mini 2GB

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Mini 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1354 MHz / 1455 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right640
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $140.21
Available on:
Amazon USA

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

ZOTAC GTX 1050 Ti Mini 4GB

ZOTAC GTX 1050 Ti Mini 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1303 MHz / 1417 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right768
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $185.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC Gaming 4GB

EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC Gaming 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1354MHz / 1468 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right768
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $186.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti Windforce OC 4GB

Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti Windforce OC 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1354 MHz / 1468 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right768
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $184.98
Available on:
Amazon USA

Radeon RX Series: 550 2GB, 550 4GB

ASUS RX 550 2GB

ASUS RX 550 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1100 MHz / 1183 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right512
chevron_right50 W
Market Price: $112.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte RX 550 D5 2GB

Gigabyte RX 550 D5 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1100 MHz / 1195 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right512
chevron_right50 W
Market Price: $109.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Sapphire PULSE RX 550 4GB

Sapphire PULSE RX 550 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1100 MHz / 1209 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right512
chevron_right50 W
Market Price: $122.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Radeon RX Series: 560 2GB, 560 4GB

Sapphire PULSE RX 560 2GB

Sapphire PULSE RX 560 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1275 MHz / 1300 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right1024
chevron_right90 W
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte RX 560 Gaming OC 2GB

Gigabyte RX 560 Gaming OC 2GBlaunch

chevron_right1275 MHz / 1300 MHz
chevron_right2GB GDDR5
chevron_right1024
chevron_right90 W
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI RX 560 AERO ITX OC 4GB

MSI RX 560 AERO ITX OC 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1196 MHz / 1295 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right1024
chevron_right90 W
Market Price: $134.40
Available on:
Amazon USA

Standard – From $170 to $235

Recommended price range for most Gaming builds.

GeForce GTX 1060 3GB

ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GB

ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 3GBlaunch

chevron_right1506 MHz / 1708 MHz
chevron_right3GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $219.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
EVGA GTX 1060 3GB SC GAMING

EVGA GTX 1060 3GB SC GAMINGlaunch

chevron_right1607 MHz / 1835 MHz
chevron_right3GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $209.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI Gaming X GTX 1060 3GB

MSI Gaming X GTX 1060 3GBlaunch

chevron_right1594 MHz / 1809 MHz
chevron_right3GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $290.64
Available on:
Amazon USA
ASUS Dual GTX 1060 OC 3GB

ASUS Dual GTX 1060 OC 3GBlaunch

chevron_right1594 MHz / 1809 MHz
chevron_right3GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $212.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Radeon RX Series: 570 4GB, 580 4GB

MSI RX 570 GAMING X 4G

MSI RX 570 GAMING X 4Glaunch

chevron_right1168 MHz / 1293 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right2048
chevron_right150 W, 1x 8-pin
Market Price: $275.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
ASUS RX 570 ROG STRIX OC 4GB

ASUS RX 570 ROG STRIX OC 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1168 MHz / 1310 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right2048
chevron_right150 W, 1x 8-pin
Market Price: $222.70
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI RX 580 ARMOR OC 4G

MSI RX 580 ARMOR OC 4Glaunch

chevron_right1257 MHz / 1366 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right512
chevron_right185 W, 1x 8-pin
Market Price: $269.00
Available on:
Amazon USA

Ultra – From $235 to $330

Do you want to play all the latest games at Ultra settings? This is your price range then! In this price range, the GTX 1060 is the best you can get: almost like a GTX 980 for less than half of its price.

GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

The queen of 1080p gaming. The 6GB version of the GTX 1060 is the preferred model to play current games at 1080p and Ultra settings for the coming 2 or 3 years.

MSI GTX 1060 AERO 6GB

MSI GTX 1060 AERO 6GBlaunch

chevron_right1544 MHz / 1759 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $295.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte GTX 1060 Windforce 6GB OC

Gigabyte GTX 1060 Windforce 6GB OClaunch

chevron_right1582 MHz / 1797 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $279.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Dual-fan OC Edition

ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Dual-fan OC Editionlaunch

chevron_right1594 MHz / 1809 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $283.82
Available on:
Amazon USA
PNY GTX 1060 XLR8 6GB OC

PNY GTX 1060 XLR8 6GB OClaunch

chevron_right1582 MHz / 1797 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $303.92
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI GTX 1060 Mini OCV1 6GB

MSI GTX 1060 Mini OCV1 6GBlaunch

chevron_right1544 MHz / 1759 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $289.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte GTX 1060 G1 Rev2 6GB

Gigabyte GTX 1060 G1 Rev2 6GBlaunch

chevron_right1620 MHz / 1847 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $289.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
EVGA GTX 1060 Gaming Mini 6GB

EVGA GTX 1060 Gaming Mini 6GBlaunch

chevron_right1506 MHz / 1708 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $258.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 6GB

ZOTAC GTX 1060 Mini 6GBlaunch

chevron_right1506 MHz / 1708 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $249.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI GTX 1060 Mini OCV1 6GB

MSI GTX 1060 Mini OCV1 6GBlaunch

chevron_right1544 MHz / 1759 MHz
chevron_right6GB GDDR5
chevron_right1280
chevron_right120 W
Market Price: $289.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Radeon RX 580 8GB

The 8GB Radeon RX 580 is pretty similar to the GTX 1060 6GB in terms of performance. It is an excellent choice for those who want to play current games at 1080p and Ultra settings for the coming 2 or 3 years.

Gigabyte AORUS XTR RX 580 8GB

Gigabyte AORUS XTR RX 580 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1257 MHz / 1439 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5
chevron_right2304
chevron_right185 W, 1x 8-pin
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
ASUS ROG STRIX RX 580 OC 8GB

ASUS ROG STRIX RX 580 OC 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1257 MHz / 1380 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5
chevron_right2304
chevron_right185 W, 1x 8-pin
Market Price: $271.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Master Race – From $330

Be careful here. The following graphics cards are the more powerful models, but the power/price ratio is dramatically lower compared to the previous price range.

GeForce GTX 1070

Gigabyte GTX 1070 Mini ITX OC 8GB

Gigabyte GTX 1070 Mini ITX OC 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1556 MHz / 1746 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5
chevron_right1920
chevron_right150 W
Market Price: $389.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
ZOTAC GTX 1070 Mini 8GB

ZOTAC GTX 1070 Mini 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1556 MHz / 1708 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5
chevron_right1920
chevron_right150 W
Market Price: $359.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
EVGA GTX 1070 SC Gaming 8GB

EVGA GTX 1070 SC Gaming 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1594 MHz / 1784 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5
chevron_right1920
chevron_right150 W
Market Price: $379.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB

ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1683 MHz / 1759 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5
chevron_right2432
chevron_right180 W
Market Price: $551.63
Available on:
Amazon USA

GeForce GTX 1080

With this GPU, 4K gaming is possible but with some limitations. It will run games at 40 to 50 frames per second and in newer AAA games (2017 and forward) will struggle to keep a stable 30 FPS rate. Eventhough, the GTX 1080 is an awesome graphics card for 1440p at 144 FPS, not to mention 1080p…

EVGA GTX 1080 Gaming 8GB

EVGA GTX 1080 Gaming 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1721 MHz / 1860 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5X
chevron_right2560
chevron_right180 W
Market Price: $653.38
Available on:
Amazon USA
ASUS GTX 1080 ROG Strix 8GB

ASUS GTX 1080 ROG Strix 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1607 MHz / 1733 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5X
chevron_right2560
chevron_right180 W
Market Price: $524.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8GB

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1708 MHz / 1847 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5X
chevron_right2560
chevron_right180 W
Market Price: $649.90
Available on:
Amazon USA
video_library
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming 8GB

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1721 MHz / 1860 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5X
chevron_right2560
chevron_right180 W
Market Price: $549.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Key Facts

Editor's Rating: 4.2/5

  • donePrice/Performance ratio
  • clearClumsy design

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

The GTX 1080 Ti, released on March 2017, is the first graphics card capable of running 4K games at stable 50-60 FPS on its own, that is, wihtout a multiple-GPU configuration (SLI, CrossFire).

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING 11GB

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING 11GBlaunch

chevron_right1569 MHz / 1683 MHz
chevron_right11 GB GDDR5X 11 GHz
chevron_right3840
chevron_right250 W
Market Price: $1,249.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti GAMING OC 11GB

Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti GAMING OC 11GBlaunch

chevron_right1544 MHz / 1657 MHz
chevron_right11 GB GDDR5X 11 GHz
chevron_right3840
chevron_right250 W
Market Price: $798.86
Available on:
Amazon USA
ASUS GTX 1080 Ti ROG STRIX 11GB

ASUS GTX 1080 Ti ROG STRIX 11GBlaunch

chevron_right1594 MHz / 1708 MHz
chevron_right11 GB GDDR5X 11 GHz
chevron_right3840
chevron_right250 W
Market Price: $1,476.79
Available on:
Amazon USA
MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11GB

MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11GBlaunch

chevron_right1569 MHz / 1683 MHz
chevron_right11 GB GDDR5X 11 GHz
chevron_right3840
chevron_right250 W
Market Price: $899.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti AORUS Xtreme Edition 11GB

Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti AORUS Xtreme Edition 11GBlaunch

chevron_right1632 MHz / 1746 MHz
chevron_right11 GB GDDR5X 11 GHz
chevron_right3840
chevron_right250 W
Market Price: $899.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Changelog

Added Products

  • March 19, 2018: ASUS RX 550 2GB, Gigabyte RX 550 D5 2GB
  • December 27, 2017: MSI GTX 1060 Mini OCV1 6GB, PNY GTX 1060 XLR8 6GB OC
  • December 22, 2017: PNY GTX 1050 Ti 4GB, Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti Windforce OC 4GB, MSI GTX 1050 TI GAMING X 4G
  • December 15, 2017: ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Dual-fan OC Edition, ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB
  • August 7, 2017: GIGABYTE GT 1030 2GB, EVGA GT 1030 SC 2GB
  • August 1, 2017: EVGA GTX 1070 SC2 GAMING 8GB, EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING 11GB
  • June 23, 2017: MSI RX 560 AERO ITX OC 4G, Gigabyte RX 560 Gaming OC 2GB
  • June 20, 2017: MSI GTX 1060 AERO 6GB
  • May 9, 2017: Radeon 550, 570 and 580 models
  • May 7, 2017: Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti GAMING OC 11GB

Removed Products

  • June 23, 2017: All remaining Radeon RX 4xx models
  • May 9, 2017: Outdated Radeon 4xx models
  • March 18, 2017 – All models from the following categories: AMD’s 390x, Nano, Fury and Fury X
  • December 23, 2016 – ASUS GTX 750Ti 2GB, Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti WindForce OC 2GB

How did you find this guide? How often do you upgrade your GPU? Do you think +$330 GPUs worth the money? AMD or NVIDIA?

Comment Below!
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