1080

If you're a PC gaming or HTPC enthusiast looking for the best video cards on the market at every price point, you've come to the right place! What you'll find here is a comprehensive guide to every card worth buying, starting at under $50 for a simple drop-in upgrade for older systems, and going up to a liquid-cooled dual-card gaming setup for $1,400! We update this guide every season to keep up with the latest new products and price changes. And for Spring 2017, we have great new options for every PC Enthusiast. That includes the just-released GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB for ultra-high-end 4K gaming, and the low-profile GTX 1050 Ti card from MSI, the best low-profile model ever released. We're also recommending an extreme high-end solution, dual liquid-cooled GTX 1080 cards in SLI, based on our hands-on SLI vs. Titan X Pascal 4K Showdown!

Looking back, the year 2016 was absolutely fantastic for GPU enthusiasts, with the release of AMD's new 14nm-based RX series, headlined by the RX 480, and Nvidia's full range of 16nm-based Pascal GPUs, including the GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and the insane Titan X Pascal. But 2017 promises more great news, starting with the March 10th release of the incredible GTX 1080 Ti 11GB, which we broke the news on way back in January. It matches the Titan X Pascal for $500 less, just 6 months after that card's introduction. And before the end of June, we should finally see what AMD's long-delayed RX Vega 8GB card can do to bring competition back to the high end. And yes, we did say 8GB, despite the fact that AMD hasn't confirmed this. We did a little digging through AMD's demo units back at CES 2017 and figured this out for you all! By the way, if you'd like to learn how our recommended cards compare to previous-gen products, check out our updated Video Card Rankings, which ranks just about every card released since 2007 in terms of performance, as well as bang-for-the-buck. 

Prices shown in this guide use real-time pricing engines, so they are always up-to-date. And since video cards sold in the US frequently have rebates, final prices may be even lower than posted - just click through our links to see if a rebate is available. Note that we've recently added country-specific links for our readers in Canada, the UK, and Germany as well. If you decide to purchase one of the cards we profile, please use the links we provide, which helps support continued development of this guide. And keep in mind that once you start throwing the kind of GPU power that the higher-end video cards in this guide provide, you'll quickly reach the limits of older CPUs, which are taxed more heavily at higher settings. Feel free to check out our Builder's Guides to get a sense of what we consider to be balanced systems in terms of CPU and GPU power. 

Video Cards - Spring 2017

    Basic Use:

    MSI Radeon HD 6450 1GB DDR3

    This is the perfect upgrade for any older PC. Whether your existing built-in video or add-in video card has stopped working, or you just need to take advantage of the latest digital displays using DVI or HDMI, this card is a great pick. And with its low-profile, single-slot design, it will fit in any PC. Just keep in mind that the built-in video on Intel and AMD's latest CPUs is actually faster, so this won't be an upgrade for systems using newer CPUs. One reason you might get one anyway: if your onboard video can't support resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080. This card supports up to 2560 x 1600 via a dual-link DVI cable.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this card isn't completely silent due to its use of a small cooling fan. If you want an entirely silent solution, go for the fanless Asus Radeon HD 6450. Just keep in mind that it can run a bit hot in a case with limited airflow, so we don't recommend it for use in ultra-small cases with no cooling fans.

    Home Theater:

    PNY GeForce GT 730 1GB GDDR5

    A big step up from the HD 6450, the GeForce GT 730 1GB GDDR5 is a true home theater PC workhorse. This is the most powerful single-slot, low-profile video card on the market, making it a great fit for compact systems and home theater PCs. Its on-board video processing will take the load off the CPU during movie playback. In general, we prefer GeForce-based cards over Radeon-based cards for HTPC use due to their slightly-superior video processing and decompression capabilities, as well as their excellent efficiency.

    The Guru's Tip:

    XFX RX 460 SS

    By the way, if you're looking for the most powerful single-slot video card, period, then go straight for the new XFX Radeon RX 460 4GB. Because PCs that require single-slot cards typically also require low-profile cards, this standard-profile model won't be for everyone, but it is by far the best single-slot GPU ever released, offering over twice the performance of the GT 730.

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2GB LP

    Looking for the most capable low-profile HTPC card ever made? This is it, by a long shot! The first new low-profile gaming card to hit the market since 2014's GTX 750 Ti (our previous recommendation), the 1050 2GB represents a quantum leap in low-profile performance. It's about twice as fast as its predecessor, while also offering full HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 support for 4K HDTVs, never before available in a low-profile card! 

    The Guru's Tip:

    This card requires no external power connector, and will draw only around 65W, compared to twice that for previous-gen full-size cards at similar performance levels.

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB LP

    The GTX 1050 Ti is the fastest low-profile card ever released, which makes it the must-have gaming card for anyone with a low-profile PC. It offers 20-25% better performance than the GTX 1050, plus double the VRAM, propelling it into an entirely different performance class.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We view this as the ideal card for anyone looking to turn a slimline HTPC into a true 1080p gaming system!

    Video Card:

    Asus Radeon RX 480 4GB Dual

    This is where real gaming begins today - the awesome RX 480 4GB. It's powerful, efficient, and loaded with forward-looking features, like full compatibility with DX12 game engines, as well as the ability to run FreeSync monitors, which you can read more about in our Monitor Buyer's Guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Another fast card at this price is the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB. So why isn't it our top pick here? Well, in our opinion, budget-minded gamers will benefit from the much lower cost of AMD FreeSync monitors versus the higher cost of Nvidia G-Sync monitors. We also like the extra 1GB of VRAM on the RX 480, as it's already proving important for 1080p gaming in many current-gen games.

    Video Card:

    MSI Radeon RX 480 Gaming X 8G

    The RX 480 8GB is the card gamers should be looking at around the $250 pricepoint. It offers fantastic performance at both 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 resolutions, matching cards that sold for $500 just a few years ago. And this model has the best cooler you'll find on any RX 480 model.

    The Guru's Tip:

    AMD has finally pulled ahead of Nvidia in the mid-range segment, as the RX 480 can just beat out its GTX 1060 rival in most games, particularly ones using the newest DX12 game engines.

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Gaming X

    Our previous pick, the Radeon 390X, has now been thoroughly outgunned by Nvidia's new entry at the $400-$450 pricepoint, the incredible GTX 1070. With more power than a Titan X, it's the card just about every gamer is going to want. And just as impressive as its speed is its efficiency - it uses less power than a GTX 970, despite being 50-60% faster! The model shown here is among the very best, with an amazing cooler that allows near-silent operation while allowing the big factory overclock to work to its fullest effect.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The only real drawback of the 1070 is that it's going to continue selling out regularly for a long time to come!

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB G1

    After a steep price cut in March on the heels of the GTX 1080 Ti launch, the GTX 1080 is a better value than ever. It's about 25% faster than the 1070, allowing it to truly make the case as the perfect 2560 x 1440 card, and it can even hold its own at 4K. And like the 1070, it's very efficient, using less than 180W at load, compared to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Titan X Pascal which used 250W. We particularly like this model, which offers excellent cooling and one of the lowest prices of any GTX 1080 model.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you'll be running two 1080 cards in SLI, go for the liquid-cooled EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid instead, as it will provide ultra-low temperatures for massive boost potential!

  • Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Armor

    Nvidia gave gamers a gift with the 1080 Ti - given that it matches the $1,200 Titan X Pascal in performance, the 1080 Ti could have been $800 or even $1,000. At $700, it's a steal, and that's why it's going to be selling out for weeks, if not months to come.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Custom versions of the 1080 Ti will be arriving in April, but will be priced higher than the Founders Edition.

    SLI Video Cards:

    2x EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid 8GB

    OK, if you need way more performance than a Titan X Pascal or GTX 1080 Ti, you need to step up to dual GTX 1080 cards in SLI. Our 4K Benchmarks prove that this solution will beat the Titan by over 25% on average. That's a whole lot more gaming performance if you're really striving for an excellent gaming experience. We specifically recommend a liquid-cooled arrangement here due to the higher boost levels you'll achieve when running two high-powered GPUs in a single system. Note that your case will need room for two 120mm radiators, so check your specs before taking the plunge! Another important note: please buy an EVGA High-Bandwidth SLI Bridge or you'll be throwing away nearly 10% of this duo's performance! See our SLI Benchmarks for more info!

    The Guru's Tip:

    While 4K monitors are a good use of this power, we actually recommend 2K-class G-SYnc monitors for most gamers, as they can hit between 100Hz and 165Hz, providing a much smoother experience. Check our Monitor Buyer's Guide for the best options.