Gamer's Guide To Buying a GPU in 2016

With so many powerful new GPUs on the market, it can be daunting to decide what kind you want. Read more to find out exactly what the graphics card market has to offer for your particular needs.

It's that time of the year again. The launch of another set of new GPUs and another assault on the wallets of gamers all over the world. With so many confusing numbers, specs, prices, rumors and benchmarks, buying a graphics card when you have no idea what you're doing can be one of the most daunting tasks in building a PC.

Maybe you're looking for the most powerful GPU available on the market. Maybe you want something that's a little cheaper or maybe you just want something that will let you play Overwatch.

Well, I'm here to solve all your problems by telling you exactly what will fit your budget.

Note: The specifications are taken from the Founder's Edition or Reference Versions. Specifications of variants like MSI and EVGA may vary.

The first card on our list is also the first card that was released on the market. Playing for Team Green, it's arguably the strongest GPU in the world right now. Oh, and what sweet specs it offers:

GTX 1080 has a ton of variants. But which one should you buy? My advice would be to buy the most powerful variants on the market which would be the Zotac AMP Extreme or the ASUS ROG Strix Gaming OC. The are definitely the most value for money GPUs.

It doesn't really get much better than this. One of these GPUs is enough to run pretty much any game in 4K res. I shudder to think what two or even 4 of these could do. Anyways, get this if you've got cash to spare because it's definitely an excellent upgrade from pretty much any GPU you're using. It practically wipes the floor with cards like the Fury X or the GTX 1080 ti.

Is this the real life? A GPU that is astoundingly cheaper than the GTX 1080 yet only a tiny bit worse off? That is the case with the GTX 1070 which is touted as NVIDIA's budget GPU. It's pretty high end and only gives a few less frames than the 1080.

There's some great variants here too. The Gigabyte G1 Gaming and the MSI Gaming X variants are excellent. I advise you to get those as, again they're the best value for money.

The GTX 1070 is the 1440p king. While it's capable of running most games on 4K ultra, if you want 60fps, then you're gonna have to lower the resolution. So if you own a 1440p display, then this is definitely the card for you. It's only a tad bit weaker than the GTX 1080 and a whole lot cheaper.

Ah, yes. Finally an item from Team Red. If you've been a gamer all these years, then you've probably been told to stay away from AMD. Either you stuck to NVIDIA or you kept faith. If you did, then it's paying off. The RX 480 is the most value GPU on the market. It's had a somewhat controversial release with early benchmarks foreshadowing a lack in performance. Then there's the fact that the reference model could potentially damage motherboards. Despite all that, when the variants roll in, we could have a potential monster on our hands.

Variants are currently on the way but I would advise you to get any variant with an 8-pin connector. It's been reported that a 6-pin RX 480 may damage your motherboard. AMD claims it's a driver issue but you're better safe than sorry.

RX 480 is the 1080p King but if you've got something like the GTX 970 or a 980, then you're better off not upgrading to this. If you've got something older, like the R9 390 or a 780ti, then this would be a great upgrade. It should be able to let you kick any game's ass on 1080p ultra.

The fun's not over yet though. If somehow, none of the above GPUs take your fancy, then you can wait for some of the other ones:

It's being much hyped and it's definitely going to be very expensive indeed. But, here you have the perfect enthusiast GPU on your hand. Future proof? You bet. Get this if you don't want to upgrade for a couple of years. When it comes to PC gamers, they want the best and the best comes in the form of the GTX 1080Ti because I'm sure it will be able to kick Battlefield 1's ass at 4K.

Specs are just in and the GTX 1060 is launching next week. According to NVIDIA, it provides performance equivalent to the GTX 980 but we don't have much to go on at the moment except for a hefty price tag.

I don't know what to think here. NVIDIA says that it's "15 percent faster and over 75 percent more power efficient than the Radeon RX 480." But the price point might just be a deal-breaker for most people. It's definitely great on paper but we don't have actual benchmarks to go. Another deal-breaker would be the fact that there is no SLI support for this GPU. I think you should wait for benchmarks before buying this GPU.

Well, looks like AMD is turning into Santa Claus by granting the wishes of the Budget Gamer. It's gone ahead and released two "eSports GPUs" which is a nice way to say that they're not meant to run demanding games. Except that, as of right now they should be good to go. They can definitely run games like The Division and Witcher 3 which can get very demanding. The RX 460 has 4 GB VRAM while the RX 470 has 8 GB VRAM. That's kinda overkill for a game like League of Legends. Let's see what the performance is truly like before we have a verdict though. Right now, the price is $99 for the RX 460 and $149 for the RX 470.

Coming up next from Team Red would be the RX 490. It's meant to provide competition to NVIDIA's GTX 1080 but at this point we have no idea about how it will perform. Considering that the GTX 1080 is meant to be a 4K-Ready GPU, we should expect the RX 490 to be able to max out games at 4K on at least 40fps like the GTX 1080. It should also be on the GDDR5X Memory Type. I think if the RX 490 manages to beat the GTX 1080 in terms of price, then it could potentially take back a lot of market share from NVIDIA.

Let's admit it. There's people who will always want the best on the market and NVIDIA knows this. The GTX Titan P will definitely be able to satiate any enthusiasts out there that wish to do crazy stuff like run Witcher 3 and The Division at the same time. If you're not gonna do any crazy stuff, then I don't know why you'd want a Titan P though. You could buy a GTX 1080 and simply upgrade in a few years.

2016 is proving to be the year of the hardware upgrade. With great budget GPUs coming out left and right, the time to upgrade is finally nigh. Whether you go for a monster like the GTX 1080 or the more laid back RX 480, you're definitely looking at some great gaming ahead of you.



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