My Recent GPU Shopping Trip
It was time to upgrade . . .
I recently started playing the new Resident Evil 2 remake (RE:2), as I'm sure many of you out there have. With the proper hardware, this game looks amazing! Having a good graphics processing unit (GPU), also known as a graphics card, is almost a requirement to get the full experience out of this game. The GPU I had when I got the game was an NVIDIA GT 740 4GB (GDDR5).
This card came out in mid-2014, and I got mine almost a year later. This card was always fine for what I was doing—I could play most of the games I wanted to play, at between low and medium graphical settings, which got me by. However, when it came to RE:2, it just couldn't quite cut it. So I found myself at an impasse, I wanted to play this game and experience its full potential, but to do so would require a GPU upgrade. While doing my research to solve my dilemma, I decided to write it out and tell you about some of the best GPUs I found at this time.
How to shop, and what to look for
So the first thing I looked at was what is the best card out there right now. Best, in this scenario, means the biggest, badest, most powerful card available. This card should have the highest bench scores and make every game look, run, and feel amazing. After doing some research, this title went to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 TI.
If you have the money and are wanting to make sure your games look and run well for a long time (probably between 3-7 years), this card is absolutely for you. Now, as much as I would have loved to get one of these, I wanted to play the game sooner rather than later, and for me would have to save a little bit in order to get this bad boy. But one day it will be mine—oh yes, it will be mine.
The next set of GPUs I started to look at were the NVIDIA GeForce 10XX Series, specifically the 1050 TI, 1060, 1070, and the 1080 TI. This is the series of cards that came out at the end of 2016 and into 2017. These have been the GPUs to have over the last few years, whether on a budget or going all-out. The 1050 TI goes for about $150, and moving to the top-of-the-line card for this series the 1080 TI, you're looking at around $745. After looking at the specs for each one and the prices, I felt like the 1060 was going to be the best fit for me at the time.
As with any major decision in life, I decided to research some options I might not choose as my first choices as well, to ensure I was going to get the perfect product for my needs and price-point. This lead me down a path that I don't often go down, and one I definitely didn't think would result in a purchase—AMD graphics cards.
Before I continue, I just want to say that I have been using NVIDIA cards in my computer builds for as long as I can remember. AMD has never been a thought that's crossed my mind when it comes to trusting hardware to render graphics. But this time, due to my budgetary restrictions and wanting the best bang for my buck, I looked at some AMD cards. The first card from AMD I looked at was the Radeon RX Vega 56. This card is around $400 and performance wise falls between the NVIDIA 1070 and 1080TI—a higher benchmark than the 1060 I was originally looking at.
The unexpected decision
The next card I looked at blew my mind, that being the AMD Radeon 580 8GB.
This card was going for $200 and is easily benchmarking much higher than the NVIDIA 1060 and is $40 cheaper, which made it almost a no-brainer decision. Furthermore, due to a promotion that AMD was having at the time, I also received several game codes for purchasing this card at the time, which meant that I actually got the card for a value of around $100 ($100 for the card, around $100 in free games that I probably would have purchased eventually).
So the Radeon 580 8GB version has become the card for me, at least for now. I was going to get an NVIDIA 1060, but when I saw that the benchmark for the AMD 580 was a lot higher and cheaper, I couldn't avoid it. I have been extremely happy with my card and RE:2 looks amazing. I also have no slow down or lag in the process. This has also made some other recent games like Anthem and The Division 2 look great as well. As we move into the future with gaming and 4k becoming a bigger thing, having a good graphics card is going to be a must in your PC.
The graphics card market has been crazy lately. Between the new standards for graphics processing and things like ray tracing, and the idea of crypto mining, it's been a really confusing time to shop for this type of hardware, and to be sure you're getting a good deal. The crypto mining craze has died down recently, but that doesn't mean it won't start up again. If you are in search of a new GPU, or a new computer system in general, stop by Armor Techs and talk to any of our technicians—most of them are PC gamers themselves and have a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to shopping for and buying new parts, and we are more than happy to help you out in your decision on new hardware. Plus, Armor now offers Square financing, so you won't have to worry about forking over $1,000 to get your new computer.