Selecting the Best Graphics Card

We here at BIG-EURO are fans of all things that are gadgets and automotive in nature. This will our first article in the tech topic.

Here’s a little background of the needs of our computer workstation. There are really only two major needs that we wanted to address for our workstation – Photo editing (Photoshop/Illustrator) and casual gaming (World of Tanks/Heroes of Newerth/Dota 2).

For those that are familiar with photo editing, it really depends on the type of graphics/files you are working with. We often are creating marketing material or general photo editing for event promotion and social media. And our list of games isn’t considered the latest and greatest. Generally speaking the graphics requirements for our use isn’t considered extreme.

We also wanted to keep the upgrade complexity and budget to a minimum. We are not writing this article to get the best and fastest video card on the market, because there are plenty of techniques/methods to select one of those. You could simply find a benchmark site and pick the #1 card. There are video cards $600-$2,500 in price available. What I hope to help you with, is how to select a video card that is a balance of value and performance for the requirements that you might have.

Current system:

Intel i7-3770 – 3.4ghz
16GB RAM
128GB Samsung 830 SSD + 1TB Western Digital 7200rpm
AMD Radeon HD 7570 1GB
275 watt PSU

With these major considerations we did some research into the graphics cards that might improve your experience. We started doing research online via Google, etc. We recommend using Futuremark website with a full listing of the GPU, price, 3DMark scores, Value for money and popularity ratings. We took their list and sorted by Value of Money and/or Popularity and went down the list to see what would be the best fit. We highly recommend you do the same and take a look at the best Value for Money and Popularity and see what your price point matches up to that list. Click here for Futuremark list.

The difference between sorting by Value for Money and Popularity is an important factor. Value for Money is based on the 3DMark Graphics Score and the average price for the particular GPU. I think that is a great measure of how much you will pay in comparison to the estimated 3DMark score that they have reviewed. If you sort by Popularity, this will account for other buyers judgement on the technology of the GPU and why they chose to purchase a particular GPU. I think both are very important factors on purchasing a video card. As of Feb 2016, you will see that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 ranks 5th for Popularity and 3rd for Value for Money. If you consider that the GTX 750 also is considered extremely cheap at $128 (I found it for cheaper at $119 on Amazon, and cheaper at many other sources). This was one of the GPU’s that were top of my list.

After more research, I discovered the GTX 750 Ti also was one of the best bang per Watt. What that means is, if you are looking for a low power consumption GPU, the GTX 750 Ti is the way to go. I found this great article about Bitcoin mining that measured the power consumption of the GTX 750 Ti that claimed a 34W usage at full load. Of course official numbers say 60W. The reason this was important for my consideration, is that my current system had a PSU (Power Supply) of only 275 watts. After researching my current HD 7570 needed about 60W, I wanted to find a GPU replacement that would not consume more than the current video card.

Eureka! The GTX 750 Ti SC was the perfect replacement for anyone that needs to upgrade their video card to the maximum, but did not want to replace their current PSU. But really why I wrote this article, is to give you the tools to research a video card for your needs. I believe that any of the top ranking GPU’s on the list for Value for Money and Popularity that aligns with your budget will be money well spent.

To make things even more confusing for those looking for the best gang per watt, looks like they have launched a low power consumption version of the GTX 950 that does not need an external PCIE power plug. Read more about the new GTX 950 lower power EVGA | MSI | Asus (April 2016 news)

video_card

According to my technique, I would recommend these video cards for your system.

Value for Money (as of April 2016)

  1. AMD Radeon R7 370 – $181 – 8140 3DMark
  2. AMD Radeon R9 390X – $424 – 18680 3DMark
  3. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti – $128 – 5650 3DMark

Popularity (as of April 2016

  1. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 – $315 – 15790 3DMark
  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 – $180 – 10370 3DMark
  3. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti – $640 – 24190 3DMark
  4. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti – $128 – 5650 3DMark

 

I hope this article helps you. And you are able to find a video card that is in the right price point and capacity. Keep in mind, technology moves so fast that in a year something else will replace what you buy today. I always purchase technology at the sweet spot of value and performance.