Holiday 2016 Graphics Card Buyers Guide

Keith May
Posted Nov 5, 2016
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With the 2016 Holiday Season quickly approaching it is time to start taking a look at where is best to put your graphics cards buying budget with our graphics card buyers guide.  Keep your eyes on the site as we’ll be posting up deals to be looking for, especially with Black Friday coming up.  Whether you are in the market for a new graphics card for yourself or you are looking to get one for someone as a gift we take a look down the various price points and give our recommendation of which make and model of the graphics card we recommend.  If at any point you disagree with anything we suggest in this list feel free to drop your own recommendation in the comment section.

 

We will be breaking this down into $50 increments until we get to the high dollar amount to help make sure we hit the meat of most budgets.

 

Up to $100

 

If your budget is $100 or less we can’t recommend anything lower than the XFX Radeon RX 460 2GB for $99.99 on Amazon.  Offering up an excellent entry point for newcomers to PC Gaming or veterans who typically stick to E-Sports titles at greater than 60 FPS.

Find it here.

 

$100-$150

 

In the next bracket we recommend the EVGA GTX 1050ti 4GB graphics card.  The GTX 1050 Ti offers enough of a boost over the RX 460 in this price category to be the clear winner, just don’t overdo it.  The GTX 1050 Ti is the point where triple-A gaming starts to become a reality with a large variety of games hitting over 60 FPS with High Detail settings.  Going past $150 for this card really limits your return and bumps you up the next segment.

Find it here.

 

$150-$200

 

This is where things start getting toasty.  At under $200 the XFX RX 470 is hard to beat.  Offering much faster performance than the previous price category, this model brings the Hard Swap Fans in the mix as well as an excellent backplate.  And at this point you’ve entered that Triple-A market where you’re playing the latest games at 1080p High – Ultra settings and more than clearing that 60 FPS mark.

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Find it here.

 

$200-250

 

For just a little more you can bump up the Stream Processor count and fall into a XFX RX 480 4GB and get a bit of a boost over the RX 470.  But, if you can find another RX 480 with 8GB for under $250 you need not hesitate as it’ll be the better buy.  Either way you’re well into Triple-A titles at 1080p Ultra 60+ FPS and looking at that high refresh rate or a move to 1440p.

 

Find it here.

 

$250-$300

 

Now we get to the dog eat dog section of this.  The rival of the ages, the RX 480 8GB or the GTX 1060 6GB.  I’ve got an answer that isn’t going to help much, both.  Seriously, with these two cards you need to consider what games you’re going to be playing and what you want to be doing with the graphics cards.  They literally punch each other to death.  But out of all the models in this price range my pick is the MSI Gaming X RX 480 8GB or the MSI Gaming X GTX 1060.  They can often be found at similar pricing so flip a coin if you can’t make up your mind here.  Either way blazing fast 1080p Ultra and rock solid 1440p High is where you’ll be sitting with either one of these cards in your system.

Find the RX 480 8GB here.

Find the GTX 1060 6GB here.

 

$300-350

 

Yup, I’m going there.  At this price point the Sapphire NITRO R9 Fury may be a last gen gem, but it more than holds up today.  Offering much more brute force than either the RX 480 or GTX 1060 until Radeon releases a more powerful card in this bracket, my vote goes with the Black and Silver robot.  And thanks to the NITRO cooling you’re able to overclock this one very well giving way to high refresh rate 1440p gaming provided you keep the VRAM buffer in check.

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Find it here.

 

$350-$500

 

Once we make it to this point the options become obvious, the GeForce GTX 1070 of course.  But which one?  Two actually.  Well, rather the option between two as they offer very different approaches for the same cost to you.  My first choice is the EVGA GTX 1070 Hybrid since it offers up uncompromising cooling as well as a fully custom PCB so you can push it as far as possible.  But, if AIO cooling isn’t your thing we’ve got you covered.  The MSI Gaming GTX 1070 at the same price point delivers an excellent cooling solution and the overclockability that comes with it.  Either way, you’ve got Triple-A 1440p high refresh rate at Ultra settings on lock-down with either of these cards

Find it here.

Find it here.

 

$500+

 

The sky’s the limit, right?  At over $500 your choices get slimmer than ever; GTX 1080, GTX Titan X Pascal, or a Radeon Pro Duo….maybe a GTX 1080ti eventually.  Our pick is the ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 ROG STRIX as it falls between the basic and Founder’s Edition in pricing but offers much better cooling performance and headroom than either.  The GTX 1080 really does make for the reality of 4k 60 FPS gaming on a single card, albeit at the sacrifice of a few detail settings.  Otherwise is an absolute 1440p monster or more than able to tame that 3440×1440 monitor you’ve been eyeing.

Find it here.

 

Well, there you have it, eight pricing categories with recommendations in each.  Hopefully this will help narrow down your choice when faced with that decision on how you want to game or give the gift of game this holiday season.  Again, if you feel you have better suggestions let us hear about them in the comments section.

 

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