Choosing the right gaming video card for your gaming computer can be very confusing especially if you're not a tech geek. There are so many different graphics cards out there, all with different specs, fancy features, and model names - it's hard to know where the hell to spend your hard-earned cash so you can hurry up and start dominating your games already.
This article will aim to simplify the decision process for you and it will cover the various factors you should keep in mind when choosing your gaming card.
A better graphics card makes for a better gaming experience, and it's the single most important component in a gaming build and has the biggest direct influence on your overall gaming performance. So what card should you get? The best you can afford, because like most computer parts, you usually get what you pay for. Also, the better the card you buy, the longer it will last you without having to worry about making an upgrade.
AMD vs NVIDIA
Very much like the CPU market, there are two companies that dominate the world of gaming video cards, AMD (formerly ATI, but AMD bought them out) and nVidia. They make the best video card chips in the world and are the only two companies you need to concern yourself with in the video card game. AMD is responsible for the Radeon series, while nVidia is behind the GeForce line of cards.
Although AMD and nVidia make the graphics card technology you see in all the latest cards, they don’t always sell them themselves. They license their best video card chips to companies such as EVGA, Sapphire, and ASUS (just to name a few popular ones) who then sell their own variants on the original technology.
So which is better? There's no concrete answer and the video card market is constantly changing. Both are great companies and produce excellent cards, so it's a matter of comparing their individual cards side by side and by price to consider which is best.
At the moment though, at the time of writing, I'm confident in saying that NVIDIA has the slight upper hand at most price points, as you can probably see from our recommend custom build examples where we typically recommend NVIDIA over AMD. But that change soon, so it's important to do your homework and stay on your toes.
Features to Consider
Video cards contain a host of different features, options, connections, etc. Here I will outline the main factors you need to consider when choosing your video card for gaming:
Our Recommended Cards
If you're after specific recommendations on the very best bang for your buck video cards for your new custom build, take a look at the video cards included in our PC Build Examples. In each of the builds the cards chosen are the current best value cards on the market in different price ranges so it's a good start to get an idea of what's a good buy right now.