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 $1,200!

We held off on updating this guide for Summer 2017 for two reasons: the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining craze, which wiped out worldwide stocks of all GPUs between $150 and $500, and the pending release of AMD's RX Vega GPU. Well, we're going to wait no longer. With the Ethereum market crashing, it's time to get gaming again, and while the Radeon RX 580 and GeForce GTX 1070 that were the favorites of coin miners will likely take months to return to store shelves, there are plenty of other GPUs to consider. Furthermore, having previewed RX Vega at CES 2017, and having seen recent benchmarks of the pro-edition Vega Frontier Edition, we just don't think AMD is going to be shaking up this market. We'll certainly update this guide in August if the RX Vega launch actually makes an impact, but we don't think it will.

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 - Summer 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 a digital display or HDTV 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.

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 2GB

    Nvidia sat out the low-end segment with its 900-series, but has come out swinging with the new single-slot, low-profile GeForce GT 1030. While it isn't a big deal when it comes to gaming, it is a very big deal when it comes to HTPC use. And there's one simple reason: HDMI 2.0. Until now, you've had to spend nearly twice this much to get a video card with that feature, which allows 4K/60Hz output for an excellent home theater experience. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Silent

    If your PC has space for a double-slot cooler, also consider the fanless edition of this card for a truly silent experience!

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1050 2GB LP

    Looking for the best all-around low-profile HTPC card? Here it is! While far less expensive than its predecessor the GeForce GTX 750 Ti , the 1050 2GB is about twice as fast (and is likewise twice as fast as the GT 1030 listed above), while also offering full HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 support for 4K HDTVs.

    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:

    Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti OC LP 4GB

    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:

    While this is the ideal card for anyone looking to turn a slimline HTPC into a true 1080p gaming system, it's a great pick for a full-size budget system too!

    Video Card:

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Mini

    The Ethereum cryptocurrency mining craze wiped out worldwide stocks of just about every video card between $150 and $500, so we're having to rely on limited stocks of the GTX 1060 6GB for a mid-priced gaming card at this point. Compact and efficient, with the performance of power-hungry cards from just a generation ago, it's a true wonder of design.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that we don't recommend anything less than 4GB of VRAM for gaming at this point, and with 6GB of VRAM onboard, this card is prepared for the future of gaming.

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB G1

    After a steep price cut in March on the heels of the GTX 1080 Ti launch, prices have gone back up on a lot of GTX 1080 models due to the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining craze. But that doesn't mean the GTX 1080 should be ignored - it's still a remarkable gaming GPU. It's about 25% faster than the sold out GTX 1070, allowing it to truly make the case as the perfect 2560 x 1440 card, and it can even hold its own at 4K. Furthermore, 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.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We view the GTX 1080 as the ideal incarnation of Nvidia's Pascal design, due to its excellent balance of performance, quiet operation, and low power use.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid 11GB

    The GTX 1080 Ti shocked pundits by coming in at a price well below expectations, and with the liquid cooler used on this model, it can actually outperform the much more expensive Titan Xp, as it holds maximum boost at all times.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We tested EVGA's Hybrid cooler for the GTX 1080 Ti and found that it actually kept GPU temperatures well below 60C, which means no throttling, ever!

    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: if your motherboard didn't include a new high-bandwidth SLI bridge, 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.