Video Card Buying Guide: What GPU to Choose in 2019
We selected the best models and prepared a bit of advice on building a gaming PC to help you choose the best components for your needs
In mid-summer, the computer components market shook up again. First of all, it affected CPUs. But the choice of video cards was slightly refreshed by a pair of middle-class Radeon models and an updated RTX 2000 line. The latter got additional shader units and became more powerful by 15% on average. So AMD’s position in the market is much better now.
In this guide, we divided all current graphics accelerators for gaming PCs into price segments and selected the most successful models from each one.
Price range: $30-120.
- Asus Silent GeForce GT 1030 — $90.
In terms of power, the “starters” are not far from the modern CPU-integrated graphics although they can still be useful to owners of old or budget systems. In fact, you can take the cheapest option for about $30 and be happy. However, if you need at least some performance in games, we recommend you to take a closer look at the GeForce GT 1030 from any vendor. Price issue: about $90.
Budget video cards
Price range: $120-200.
- Gigabyte Windforce GeForce GTX 1650 — $160;
- Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 570 8 GB — $180.
Budget video cards are the entry level for gaming. With Full HD (1920x1080) resolution, you can get stable 30 FPS at high settings with titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider or Metro Exodus. Besides, almost all online games will run at 60 FPS.
The best choice today is Radeon RX 570 (not RX 5700). For example, you can get an 8-gigabyte version from Sapphire, the oldest partner of AMD, for only $180. This model catches up with last year's favorite, GeForce GTX 1060, but is significantly cheaper. If you're not a fan of the “Red” team, then Gigabyte GTX 1650 for $160 will be a good variant too. True, it is weaker at a palpable 20%, and 4 gigabytes of video memory is not enough today.
Middle class video cards
Price range: $280-450.
- Sapphire Radeon RX 5700 for $350;
- Gigabyte Windforce GeForce GTX 1660 Ti — $280;
- MSI Ventus GeForce RTX 2060 Super — $410.
In the middle class, the situation is quite controversial. This segment is ideal for Full HD-monitors, but for about the same money there are video cards that differ in power dramatically. For example, legendary GeForce GTX 1060 can already be purchased for no more than $250. But GTX 1660 Ti, which is 30% more powerful, costs only a bit more. Besides, if you add about $100, then for about $400 you can get a full-fledged RTX 2060 with raytracing. Another variant is the new Radeon RX 5700 from Sapphire for only $350, which is equal in performance to the RTX 2060.
We also note that in order to balance performance in a PC with a GPU of an average price segment, we need a processor not weaker than the old Intel Core i5 or one of the latest Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 5.
Advanced level video cards
Price range: $400-550.
- Sapphire Radeon RX 5700 XT — $400;
- MSI Ventus GeForce RTX 2070 Super — $510.
Advanced level video cards allow gaming in Full HD with a good power reserve (even on 144 Hz monitors), or stable 60 FPS in QHD resolution (2560x1440). New Radeon RX 5700 XT from Sapphire costs only $400. Meanwhile, GeForce RTX 2070 Super, worth $100 more, supports trendy but not very common raytracing. At the same time, the results of these GPUs in games differ too little. So the choice is yours.
Price range: $700-1400.
- MSI Ventus GeForce RTX 2080 Super — $700;
- MSI Gaming X Trio GeForce RTX 2080 Ti — $1310.
In the flagship price segment, only two Nvidia graphics chips remain relevant: RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2080 Ti. They both are “sharpened” for gaming in 4K but with power reserve — rather, the last one. In gaming performance, they generally differ little from each other, except that the Ti-version has 11 gigabytes of video memory versus 8 for the RTX 2080 Super. Doubtful reason for the overpayment of $600 on top.
PC gaming has ceased to be available. The interest in mining on video cards has long passed, but prices, especially for flagships, have only become higher. At the same time, the PlayStation 5 and the new Xbox are expected to be released in 2020, costing several times cheaper than a good gaming PC, and support all the new titles in 4K. So is it worth to buy an expensive GPU this year?
Also be sure to check out our CPU buying guide for 2019.