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Best graphics cards for under $200 - August 2017


Overall Winner: GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

But which brand? It depends, mostly on the cooling. If you don't care, or want a compact card, then get the...

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC


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  • New NVIDIA Pascalâ„¢ architecture delivers improved performance and power efficiency
  • Classic and modern games at 1080p @ 60 FPS
  • Fast, smooth, power-efficient gaming experiences
  • Base Clock: 1354 MHz / Boost Clock: 1468 MHz; Memory Detail: 4096MB GDDR5
  • EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC GAMING - Compact Size 5.7in

 

If you want more fans, then get the...

Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti Windforce OC

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  • New NVIDIA pascal architecture delivers improved performance and power efficiency
  • Classic and modern games at 1080P @ 60 FPS
  • Fast, smooth, power-efficient gaming experiences
  • Support for the latest DirectX 12 Features
  • Delivers all the latest GeForce gaming Features.Card size-H=40 L=229 W=118 mm

 

The Contenders, and comparisons:

GeForce GTX 1050 vs GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Price Range:

GTX 1050: about $110-$130 (Check prices on Amazon)

GTX 1050 Ti:  about $140-$180 (Check prices on Amazon)

The GTX 1050 Ti is noticeably faster, so if your budget allows, it's definitely a better option. 4GB of video RAM is also a lot better than 2GB. Video RAM assists with higher resolutions. It is possible to play games on 1080p with 2GB, however FPS will drop occasionally. If you're going to play at over 1080p, then 4GB is nearly mandatory.

How much Video RAM (VRAM) do you need?
1080p: At least 2 GB
1440p: At least 4 GB
4K: At least 6 GB

3DMark Fire Strike Graphics Score

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 7750 points
GeForce GTX 1050 6740 points
Difference: 1010 (15%)

The GeForce GTX 1050 features a GPU clock speed of 1354 MHz, and the 2048 MB of GDDR5 memory is set to run at 1750 MHz through a 128-bit bus. It also is comprised of 640 SPUs, 40 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, which makes use of a 14 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 1290 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1750 MHz on this particular model. It features 768 SPUs as well as 48 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Specifications

Model GeForce GTX 1050 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Manufacturer nVidia nVidia
Year October 2016 October 2016
Code Name GP107-300 GP107-400
Memory 2048 MB 4096 MB
Core Speed 1354 MHz 1290 MHz
Memory Speed 7000 MHz 7000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 75 watts 75 watts
Bandwidth 114688 MB/sec 114688 MB/sec
Texel Rate 54160 Mtexels/sec 61920 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 43328 Mpixels/sec 41280 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 640 768
Texture Mapping Units 40 48
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
Fab Process 14 nm 14 nm
Transistors 3300 million 3300 million
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 12.0 DirectX 12.0
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.5 OpenGL 4.5

 

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface within a second. It's calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory clock speed. If it uses DDR type memory, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that are processed per second. This is worked out by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the video card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels the video card can possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of ROPs by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum fill rate.

 

GeForce GTX 960 vs GeForce GTX 950

The GeForce GTX 950 comes with core speeds of 1024 MHz on the GPU, and 1652 MHz on the 2048 MB of GDDR5 RAM. It features 768 SPUs as well as 48 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

Compare all of that to the GeForce GTX 960, which makes use of a 28 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 1127 MHz. The GDDR5 memory runs at a speed of 1750 MHz on this particular model. It features 1024 SPUs as well as 64 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

3DMark Fire Strike Graphics Score

GeForce GTX 960 7851 points
GeForce GTX 950 6560 points
Difference: 1291 (20%)

 

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

GeForce GTX 950 90 Watts
GeForce GTX 960 120 Watts
Difference: 30 Watts (33%)

 

Specifications

Model GeForce GTX 950 GeForce GTX 960
Manufacturer nVidia nVidia
Year August 2015 January 2015
Code Name GM206 GM206
Memory 2048 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 1024 MHz 1127 MHz
Memory Speed 6608 MHz 7000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 90 watts 120 watts
Bandwidth 105728 MB/sec 112000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 49152 Mtexels/sec 72128 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 32768 Mpixels/sec 36064 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 768 1024
Texture Mapping Units 48 64
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
Fab Process 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2940 million 2940 million
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 12.0 DirectX 12.0
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.5 OpenGL 4.5

Radeon RX 460 vs Radeon RX 550

The budget range for these is more around $85-$130.

The Radeon RX 460 uses a 14 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 1090 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a frequency of 1750 MHz on this particular card. It features 896 SPUs along with 56 Texture Address Units and 16 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the Radeon RX 550, which uses a 14 nm design. AMD has set the core speed at 1100 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1750 MHz on this specific model. It features 512 SPUs as well as 32 Texture Address Units and 16 ROPs.

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon RX 550 50 Watts
Radeon RX 460 75 Watts
Difference: 25 Watts (50%)

Memory Bandwidth

Performance-wise, the Radeon RX 550 should in theory be a little bit better than the Radeon RX 460 overall. (explain)

Radeon RX 550 114688 MB/sec
Radeon RX 460 112000 MB/sec
Difference: 2688 (2%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon RX 460 is much (more or less 73%) faster with regards to AF than the Radeon RX 550. (explain)

Radeon RX 460 61040 Mtexels/sec
Radeon RX 550 35200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 25840 (73%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon RX 550 will be a small bit (about 1%) faster with regards to anti-aliasing than the Radeon RX 460, and should be capable of handling higher resolutions better. (explain)

Radeon RX 550 17600 Mpixels/sec
Radeon RX 460 17440 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 160 (1%)

 

Specifications

Model Radeon RX 460 Radeon RX 550
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year August 2016 April 2017
Code Name Polaris 11 Polaris 12
Memory 4096 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 1090 MHz 1100 MHz
Memory Speed 7000 MHz 7000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 75 watts 50 watts
Bandwidth 112000 MB/sec 114688 MB/sec
Texel Rate 61040 Mtexels/sec 35200 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 17440 Mpixels/sec 17600 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 896 512
Texture Mapping Units 56 32
Render Output Units 16 16
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
Fab Process 14 nm 14 nm
Transistors 3000 million 2200 million
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 12.0 DirectX 12.0
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.5 OpenGL 4.5

 

 

Older cards that may be worth getting if you can find one for cheap:

Radeon R9 380

Radeon R7 370

GeForce GTX 750Ti

 

What do you think? Which one is best? Leave a comment below!

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