9.73
/ 10
9.48
/ 10
9.45
/ 10
9.30
/ 10
9.08
/ 10
9.00
/ 10
8.98
/ 10
8.90
/ 10
8.88
/ 10
8.85
/ 10
Real World Performance
PreviousNext
Category Average (fps)
111.9
94.5
93.3
83.6
71.6
69
67.9
66.6
57.2
59.6
2160p Average (fps)
58.3
50.2
51.3
41.9
36.1
37
33.7
36.3
27.6
27.6
Battlefield 4 (fps)
93.8
79.1
85.6
71.9
66.6
64.2
62.6
61.4
48.6
49.9
Metro: Last Light (fps)
89.7
78.7
75.33
64.7
55
53.7
53.8
51.7
44
48
Bioshock Infinite (fps)
132.8
115.3
93.7
97.3
86.8
73.4
83.5
69.5
70.9
74.4
Far Cry 3 (fps)
110.1
89.8
86.5
85.5
78.8
70.2
74.3
68.2
64.4
66.8
Dirt3 (fps)
179.3
151.5
168.4
139.9
114.1
121.7
107.4
118.4
95
97.5
Thief (fps)
84.2
71
69.4
61.1
51.2
52.2
47.8
50.1
40.6
41.9
Tomb Raider (fps)
159.5
136.8
135.6
117
98.8
96.6
94.6
95.5
78
83
Unigine Heaven (fps)
99.2
78.2
73.9
72.9
56.9
52.3
53.2
48.4
45.4
47.5
3DMark Fire Strike
13297
11421
10851
9657
7868
8020
7868
7683
6971
7215
Graphics Cards: Take Video Rendering to a New Level
With the latest graphics cards, you can bring gaming and other video rendering to a whole new level. With DirectX 11 technology, Mantle and other advanced APIs, prepare to be amazed.
GPU
PreviousNext
GPU
GM204
GM204
Hawaii XT
GK110
GK104
Tahiti XT2
GK104
Tahiti XT
GK104
GK104-325
CUDA Cores or Stream Processors
2048
1665
2816
2304
1536
2048
1536
2048
1152
1344
Texture Fillrate (GT/s)
144
109.2
176
166
134
109
128.8
118.4
94.1
102.5
Pixel Fillrate (GP/s)
72.1
67.2
64
41.4
33.5
27.2
32.2
29.6
31.4
29.3
Core Clock (MHz)
1126
1050
1000
863
1046
1000
1006
925
980
915
Memory Clock (MHz)
7
7
5
6
7
6
6
5.5
6
6
Memory Bus (bits)
256
256
512
384
256
384
256
384
256
256
Memory Bandwidth (GBps)
224
224
320
288.4
223.3
288
192.2
264
192.2
192.2
Max Memory Capacity (GB)
4
4
8
3
2
3
2
3
2
2
SLI or Crossfire (cards supported)
4
3
4
3
3
4
4
4
3
3
Auxiliary Power Connector
6-Pin/6-Pin
6-Pin/6-Pin
6-Pin/8-Pin
8-Pin/6-Pin
8-Pin/6-Pin
6-Pin/8-Pin
6-Pin/6-Pin
6-Pin/8-Pin
8-Pin/6-Pin
6-Pin/6-Pin
Noise, Power & Temp
PreviousNext
Power Consumption Idle (watts)
15
20
16
10
10
12
14
11
10
14
Power Consumption Gaming (watts)
186
143
242
205
175
212
172
200
150
160
Power Consumption Maximum (watts)
225
153
305
247
212
244
208
256
157
164
Noise Idle (dBA)
32.1
32.1
34.2
31.2
30.9
31.2
33.3
31.5
31.8
33.2
Noise Maximum (dBA)
43.6
40.8
59.2
41.6
41.3
48.4
43.2
48.8
39.8
39.4
Temperature Idle (°F)
87.8
N/A
89.6
86
86
86
89.6
87.8
89.6
89.6
Temperature Max (°F)
176
N/A
201.2
179.6
176
158
176
163.4
179.6
176
Rendering Technologies
PreviousNext
Max Display Quantity
4
4
6
4
4
6
4
6
4
4
3D Capable
4K Capable
PhysX Capable
Supported API
PreviousNext
DirectX 12
DirectX v11
Mantle
OpenGL (v4 or higher)
OpenCL
by

Graphics Cards

Why Buy a Graphics Card?

Whether you're a gamer, a video editor or a graphic designer, you need a computer with powerful graphics capabilities. Unless you upgraded when you bought your computer, its graphics chipset is likely integrated with the CPU or even motherboard. Often called onboard video, such a solution shares system memory and processing power with your computer, which can make graphics-intensive applications work painfully slowly. What you need is a discrete graphics card with ample processing power and video memory. Such cards fit into a slot on your motherboard and connect directly to your monitor.

We've created side-by-side graphics card comparisons and detailed reviews of the best graphics cards, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 and AMD Radeon R9 290X. You can also read our articles on graphics cards and get tips on eking the best video-rendering capabilities out of your computer.

Graphics Cards: What to Look For

Graphics cards continue to get faster and more powerful, and the options can seem overwhelming. To find the right one, first consider how you'll use it. If you want to play the latest games at ultra-high settings and resolutions higher than 1080p, you'll be happiest with a high-end card. If you just want to edit videos, a midrange card still provides a vast improvement over integrated graphics. This guide will help you choose the right graphics card for your needs.

Performance
Whatever a graphics card looks like or its specifications are, all you really need to know is how it performs. Can it handle your favorite games at the highest settings, and at what resolutions? We created our graphics card comparison by compiling test data across a slew of modern games. We tested all of the games at 1080p with the highest settings and recorded their average frame rates. We also looked at 4K performance. Higher frame rates are better, as they provide a smoother rendering experience and are a good indication of more power.

GPU
The most important aspect of a graphics card is its graphics processing unit, or GPU. By processing graphics separately, the GPU lightens the load of your computer's CPU, allowing it to function faster. Look for a card with a high core clock speed and memory clock speed. These two factors help determine a card's memory bandwidth, which in turn affects frame rate. Faster frame rates result in smoother scrolling and animation. Pixel and texture fillrates are also important to consider.

Noise and Power
Generally, the more work your graphics card needs to do, the more electricity it consumes and the hotter it runs. Thus, high-end cards usually use more electricity and run hotter, but they provide you with significantly more rendering power. What you want is a balance. Nvidia does a particularly good job of keeping its cards relatively quiet and powerful. AMD graphics cards are notorious for their fans being quite loud.

Rendering Technologies
The two major players in the graphics card world are AMD and Nvidia. Each has developed its own rendering technology for processing graphical data. Nvidia graphics cards use CUDA cores, and AMD uses stream processors. While these technologies are measured differently, their purpose is to accelerate the communication rate between the graphics card's GPU and your computer's CPU. The more CUDA cores or stream processors a card has, the faster it is, and this makes your program or game run smoother and faster. AMD and Nvidia have also made great strides in offering 3D capabilities.

Supported API
The application programming interface (API)   DirectX, Mantle, OpenGL or OpenCL   enables the card to interact with your software. Choose a card that's compatible with the API of the programs you wish to run. For example, if your card supports only DirectX 9 and you buy a game or application that requires DirectX 11, you have to upgrade your card in order to play it.

There's no such thing as a perfect graphics card for all situations, but by determining which key features best suit your needs, you can find one that does exactly what you want it to do. The newest, fastest cards are expensive, but the results can be worth it.