Learn how to choose the best gaming video card when upgrading or building a new computer. When it comes to building PC for gaming, the video card (also known as the graphics card, or GPU which is short for Graphics Processing Unit) is THE single most crucial component of all in regards to direct gaming performance.
Choosing the right one for your budget isn't always an easy task, especially as a newbie, as like most computer parts there are tons of differing models with various specs and features that can make your head spin.
We're here to make things as easy as possible and help you to understand the current world of GPUs and how to navigate the current market so you can easily pick the right card for you.
At the end of this guide on how to choose the best gaming video card, we'll also throw in our current top recommendations for the best bang for your buck graphics cards in different price ranges.
GPU Wars: AMD vs NVIDIA
Just like when choosing the best CPU, you've basically got two main company choices when picking the best gaming video card. You've got NVIDIA, who basically dominate the high-end GPU market (but also provide great budget cards), and then you have AMD (formerly ATI, but AMD bought them out) who cater more for the budget conscious gamers though still have their fair share of high-end cards.
Keep in mind that whilst there are only two players in the GPU game, you actually buy your card from companies who re-sell either NVIDIA or AMD cards under their own brand. Some of the more popular and trusted sellers are EVGA, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, XFX, Sapphire and Zotac.
So which is better, NVIDIA graphics cards or AMD cards? Well, that's a heated debate that's been on for centuries (ok, maybe not centuries hehe). At this point in time (2016), the general consensus is that if you're going high-end then you really should lean towards NVIDIA as their current top-tier GPUs in the 1070 and 1080 are currently unmatched by AMD (things could change though).
But in the budget to mid-range tier, both NVIDIA and AMD have great offerings so the choice is less clear and depends on your exact budget and current pricing of the specific GPUs in question. Anyway, we'll get to our current top recommended AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards at the end of this guide.
GPU Features to Consider
GPUs contain a host of different features, options, connections, etc. Here are the main ones you should keep in mind when choosing the best gaming video card for your PC:
If you've read up until this point, you should know exactly how to choose the best gaming video card for your hard-earned money and be able to more confidently wade through the market.
It pays to do you homework on choosing a great GPU and making sure it's a good fit for your build and your current and future wants/needs. As a PC gamer it's the single most important part of all, so choose wisely. Good luck.