Are you looking for the best gaming graphics card for your PC? Do you want your games to go like lightning, without jerks or drops of FPS? Then, in this guide, you can choose the model that best suits your needs.
Important note: The market for mid-range and high-end graphics cards has gone through months of great instability due to the high demand from Bitcoin miners. The consequence has been an exorbitant rise in prices and a huge lack of stock in many of the models.
Little by little, the situation is returning to normal. Prices start to fall again, although in certain cases, especially in the Radeon, they are still very high, and the stores have stock again.
That’s why we recommend that before deciding to compare different versions of graphics cards, since looking good and being patient you can save yourself a good peak.
Of all the components you need to set up your own gaming PC, the graphics card is the one that will have a more direct impact on your experience when playing.
In this guide, we will see some essential aspects that you need to know to buy your graphics card, and then we will review the Best Gaming Graphics Card Under Rs 45000 at the moment.
- What is a graphics card?
- Types of graphics cards
- How to choose a graphics card
- AMD vs. Nvidia: Which is better?
- Graphics card assemblers
- Specifications: What to look for before buying a graphics card
What is a graphics card?
A graphics card is a device that is responsible for giving a visual output, usually to a monitor, to the data generated by a computer. Hence the importance it has in any PC, and especially in one oriented to gaming, since it depends largely on what we see in our monitor is well defined, move smoothly and have a good appearance in general.
They also receive the name of video card or screen adapter. At its heart, we find the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which is the chip in charge of carrying out all the necessary operations to enjoy good videos and animations (decoding, smoothing, rendering, texture mapping …).
The GPU is actually a second processor, only dedicated to graphics tasks. That is why there are those who confuse it with the main processor of the computer or CPU.
But their tasks are very different. The CPU is the one that creates and manages all the necessary data to give life to a video game, while the GPU gives exit to that virtual world and is in charge of that it looks good before our eyes.
It often tends to call the entire graphics card GPU, but in reality, it is only a part of it, its main chip. A graphic also has other components, such as heatsinks, fans, memory units, output connections…
This piece is responsible for processing all data and operations related to graphics and visual effects, working as a CPU dedicated exclusively to this task. In addition, so download the processor of this work, so the overall performance and speed of the computer will be greatly benefited.
Types of graphics cards
Although graphics cards can be divided according to different criteria, they are usually classified into two types: integrated and dedicated. We can also find some external ones.
These are graphics cards that come integrated into certain motherboards and processors. The microprocessors that combine the CPU and the GPU are called APU (accelerated processing unit).
Normally they have a lower performance than the dedicated ones, so they are only recommended for users who only go to play from time to time, and at a graphic level not very high.
It is the most common type of graphics, and by which most gamers choose.
They are cards that are sold as an independent component and must be connected to the motherboard, and those of a certain power also to the power supply, to function.
This is the best choice in most cases since they can be replaced without having to change the processor or motherboard as well.
This type of graphics is mainly oriented for laptops since it is quite difficult to change the card they bring as standard.
To solve this problem, some manufacturers have released models that connect to the equipment externally.
It is also possible to manufacture an external graphic in a homemade way, from a dedicated one. It is not very practical, but it can be a good solution in some cases.
How to choose a graphics card
If you feel overwhelmed by so many existing options in the market and you wonder how you can choose your graphics card, here are some tips that you may find useful.
When considering what graphics card to buy, we must take into account various factors. Otherwise, we run the risk of failing in our choice and finding a model that does not meet our needs.
The most important factors are the following:
We have to be clear about what budget we have available both for the graph itself and for the entire accessory equipment.
It is very common for this component to devote a disproportionate amount, be it for scarce or excessive.
I know it first-hand because I receive many inquiries in which people plan to buy a high-end processor, such as an Intel Core i7-8700, to accompany it with a very basic graphics card, such as a GTX 1050.
And the opposite also happens. Sometimes, by investing too much in the graphic, we neglect equal or more important pieces, such as the power supply.
As a general recommendation, this section should be reserved around 25% or 30% of the total budget, although it must be adjusted to each specific case.
Resolution and refresh of the monitor
This is another aspect that is often overlooked. It is not the same if you have a monitor of the most common, 1080p or full HD resolution and 60 Hz refresh rate. If you have a 4K or 1440p and 144 Hz refresh, then the case is different, as explained below.
For the first option, you will be served the cards that appear in the sections of the basic and mid-range of our purchase guide. On the other hand, if you have a monitor with higher benefits or you think you will get one for a long-term usage, then you should go for one of the high-end models.
It is very important to maintain a good balance between the GPU and the CPU. If we have a very powerful processor but a very limited graph, we will be wasting the potential of the processor, and we will have spent an unnecessary amount on it.
And if, on the contrary, we have a graph that offers great performance and a very basic processor, we will be limited by it.
This phenomenon, in which one of the two components falls short and limits the potential of the other, is what is known as “bottleneck”. And we have to be very far-sighted to avoid it!
Types of games
Another thing you have to ask yourself is the type of video game you usually play.
There are games with a high level of graphic detail and realism, which need a graphics card of a certain level to offer an experience. Normally these titles are FPS, adventure or role, and are developed in open worlds: Battlefield 1, The Witcher 3, Rise of Tomb Raider, Shadow of Mordor, Doom…
On the other hand, we find games that demand much less to the GPU, especially eSports: Dota 2, League of Legends, Rocket League, Minecraft, CS: GO … These titles usually demand more to the CPU.
Other factors also enter into consideration, as if you are one of those who buys all the news or prefers to get old titles on offer, if you want to play everything at the maximum graphics quality or you settle for a low or medium level, etc.
To choose the graphics card, it is also necessary to make sure that it is compatible with other components of our equipment, especially with the power supply and the box.
As for the power supply, the most important thing is to look at the minimum power recommended by the manufacturer and buy a slightly more powerful model. You can keep the right watts, but this is always risky, and it is better to have a certain margin.
In addition, you have to make sure that the source has the PCIe connectors that the graphic requires.
These connectors are why the GPU is powered. Some basic models are powered directly from the motherboard and do not need to connect to the source, but in most cases, this is not the case.
You can also see this in the specifications, where the type and amount of PCIe needed will be indicated: 6-pin, 6 + 2 pin, 8-pin, 2 x 8-pin…
For the box, what you should look at is the available space. If your tower is of a large size, you should not have problems. But if it is a compact format, such as a mini-ITX or a micro-ATX, then you should walk with a sharp eye.
Some incompatibility may also arise even with rather small semitorres, especially if they are a few years old.
In the specifications of the boxes, the maximum allowed length of the graphics card is indicated. Simply compare that data with the size of your graphics card.
One fan or two (or three!)
The number of fans is also something to consider when we go to buy a graphics card. Although this is a later decision, once we have clear which GPU we want and we only have to choose between the different assemblers and versions.
As you can guess, a single-fan model will usually be cheaper than one of two. And although at the level of performance there is hardly any difference, yes there may be in terms of cooling.
If you want your graphic, and with it your whole system to work very cool, the idea is to get a version with two fans, or three in the case of high-end cards.
But this is not always possible, either for reasons of budget or because your box does not have enough space, and you need a smaller card.
In that case, you can go perfectly with the option of a fan. Especially, with the high prices that graphics have today.
AMD vs. Nvidia: Which is better?
In the market of gaming graphics cards, as you may already have noticed if you have looked for information to choose a model, there is some discussion between which of the two major manufacturers is better: if AMD (Radeon) or Nvidia (GeForce).
It is a debate similar to the one that exists when talking about the processors between AMD and Intel, but that does not make much sense, since in both brands you can find magnificent models.
The choice between one or the other depends on factors such as price, energy consumption or the genres to which we are going to play.
So, if someone advises you to buy one or another simply “because Radeon is better than Nvidia”, or vice versa, without giving you consistent reasons, chances are you’re not asking for advice from the right person and you should ask someone else informed.
Already, I know what you are thinking: “Come, get wet!”
Well, in my opinion, and at the present time, Nvidia has a great advantage over AMD.
This is mainly due to the price. The Radeon models have a disproportionate amount, especially in the high-end segment, which makes it really difficult to recommend it over the Nvidia GeForce.
Nvidia is also more efficient cards, with lower energy consumption, which makes them compatible with lower power sources.
But not all points are in favour of Nvidia.
The latest Radeon models, on the other hand, have a more modern architecture, and in recent games based on Vulkan and DirectX 12, they show a great behaviour, sometimes over their equivalents in Nvidia.
They also have Free-Sync technology, which is responsible for synchronizing the refresh rate of the monitor (which must be compatible) with the performance offered by the graph at all times.
In order to avoid annoying visual problems such as tearing or stuttering (those jerks that games sometimes give us when the monitor goes faster than the GPU).
Nvidia also has a similar system, the G-Sync, but compatible monitors are usually more expensive.
As you can see, we can not say that Nvidia is better than AMD, or vice versa. It all depends on your budget, what you are looking for, what components you already have…
Graphics card assemblers
Another very common confusion occurs between the manufacturers of the GPU itself, that is, Nvidia and AMD, and the assemblers of graphics cards.
We will try to clarify both concepts.
Nvidia and AMD are the only companies that manufacture GPUs. You can not choose between GTX 1060 from different manufacturers, for example. They are all from Nvidia.
What happens is that these firms license other brands to sell their own graphics cards equipped with these GPUs.
In this way, these brands or assemblers manufacture their own models based on the same graphics chip, but with different characteristics in other aspects: design, refrigeration, frequency, size…
Therefore, the performance between some versions and others may vary to some degree, but the difference is usually minimal, of a few FPS.
Which is the best brand?
Some of the best brands of graphics cards or assemblers, and of course the most popular on the market, are these:
- M: YES
Among them, the debate is similar to the one we discussed between Nvidia and AMD. The choice depends mainly on the price, since in the graphics card market it fluctuates a lot even from one day to another, and of course from one store to another.
Therefore, our advice in these cases is that, if the price difference is considerable, opt for the most economical model. As we have already mentioned, a higher frequency or better cooling can make you gain a few frames more, but we assure you that you will not be able to perceive the difference.
Another thing is that you have a broad enough budget, and you want to buy the best of the best. So it is a good idea to go for the best benefits.
Specifications: What to look for before buying a graphics card
Once you have clear all the points mentioned above, it is time to buy the best possible graphics card according to your needs.
But… what should you look at among so many features and specifications?
It is very easy to get lost among so many figures and acronyms. That is why we are going to explain to you what the main sections and components are that you should look at.
The VRAM, which is what is called the memory present in a graphics card, is one of the most important specifications that you must take into account. And not only the amount of memory, but also, and even more, its transmission speed.
The transmission speed is measured by bandwidth. You can not use many gigabytes if all that information cannot be processed at an adequate speed.
For that, we must make sure that the chosen graphics card has enough bandwidth. This data is measured in GB/s.
Also, the type of memory will contribute to its effective speed. Currently, the most popular types are the GDDR5 and GDDR5X by Nvidia and the HBM and HBM2 on the AMD side. The HBM2 is the fastest one at present.
As for the size of the memory, for low and mid-range gaming computers, up to 4 GB is enough. From there, the more resolution and speed you want to play, the more memory you will need.
So, what is more important, the amount of memory or its speed?
The ideal thing is to have a good balance, but between two models with an equal or similar amount of VRAM, we should stay with the one with the highest bandwidth.
The speed of operation of the GPU is measured in MHz. Graphics cards, like many processors, have a base frequency and an accelerated or turbo frequency, which is activated when more is required.
We can also find models that have a higher frequency than the reference versions, or that allow overclocking to increase them at our whim.
As you can guess, more often, better performance.
CUDA cores or Stream processors
To create as realistic shadows and lighting effects as possible, the graphics use a technology of transmission processors, also known as shaders.
Nvidia and AMD use different systems, but in the background, they work in a very similar way: CUDA kernels in the first case and Stream processors in the second.
Energy consumption or TDP
This characteristic refers to the amount of energy that the graphics card spends. It can be found expressed in watts (w), and next to it is also usually indicated the total watts recommended that the power supply must have to support that graph.
In addition to saving on the purchase of the power supply and the electricity bill (here the incidence will be minimal), the smaller the TDP, the better the card will be cooled and the less noise it will make.
Video connections and outputs
Finally, another aspect to consider is the available connections. A greater variety supposes more possibilities to connect our equipment to monitors and televisions of different type and antiquity.
Today’s video cards usually include HDMI and DisplayPort. It is also common to find them with DVI, although less and less.
Multi-card configuration: SLI and Crossfire
Over time you may want to improve the graphics of your games. And for this, you have two options: either buy a superior graphics card or add another unit to your team that you already have.
Normally it is better to install a more powerful graphic, since, contrary to what may seem, having two cards does not mean enjoying twice the performance. We would rather gain between 25% and 50% approximately.
But for higher resolutions or configurations with multiple monitors, adding a second graphic can be a good option.
That is why it is important to make sure that our chart allows this possibility. The low-average range does not usually do it, but the high-end ones do.
The two major manufacturers, again, use different names for this functionality: Nvidia calls it SLI and AMD Crossfire.