Best graphics cards 2016/2017


For a price premium of one decent game, you get a graphics card that’s far superior to the Founders Edition, both in terms of performance and features.  Thanks to its programmable RGB lighting, it’s especially interesting for those who want to build great-looking systems with windowed side panels. It’s also great for those who would like their PC to remain silent when not in use for gaming.

  1. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition is an excellent high-performance buy – but only if you don’t compare it against another GTX 1080. It isn’t likely to be the best choice if you care about value for money or if you would prefer at least some level of assistance overclocking the card to achieve best performance.

  1. MSI GeForce GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G

At £419.99, the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G costs significantly more than the £374.99 you would be paying for a ‘vanilla’ 1070, but it offers much more in terms of both performance and features, and is still some way off the price of a GTX 1080. If you can’t afford a GTX 1080, or would simply like to save some money, this is an excellent high-performance graphics card.

  1. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition brings a new level of performance to mid-range gaming, with high frame rates at 2560×1440 resolution, strong VR peformance and low power consumption, but the Founders Edition is, as ever, not the best version of the card

  1. XFX Radeon RX 480

The XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB is a relatively inexpensive high-performance gaming card with great frame rates at 1080p and 1440p. However, its performance is bettered by the Nvidia GTX 1060 and the lower-priced 4GB version of the RX 480 will offer better value for money for most gamers.

  1. Sapphire Radeon R7 250X

The R7 250X is a breath of fresh air compared to the cheap £45+ products. At a resolution of 1680×1050, it can effortlessly shatter the 30fps mark. Crucially, it’s never far away from the 50fps mark. If you’re getting close to 50fps, you should be having a very comfortable playing experience. The 250X is the fastest card at this price point, thanks mainly to its superior texture handling, and generally finishes ahead of the GT 740 by around 4-5fps. Pound for pound, it offers the best value of all the budget graphics cards we’ve reviewed.

  1. Asus GeForce GTX 980Ti Strix Gaming

Despite the high price, the GTX 980Ti Strix Gaming offers considerable value for money to those who can afford it. It may costs over £100 more than many other cards based on the same GPU, but its tangible performance benefits and superb build quality make it quite obvious where that extra money is going.

  1. Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition

The Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Edition performs well and comes at a reasonable price. It’s not as impressive than the Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti, but the Zotac is around £100 cheaper, and has a reassuring five-year warranty.

  1. MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G

The MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G is an excellent graphics card for those who want to run games at the highest quality settings, but who don’t want, or can’t afford a 4K setup. The factory overclock, control applications and Twin Frozr V cooler allow for full control over performance, consumption and noise output.

  1. Club3D Radeon R9 390 royalQueen

Noise issues aside, the Club 3D Radeon R9 390 royalQueen makes a great choice for a first enthusiast-level system. It also serves at a convenient drop-in performance boost when teamed up with an existing AMD card, even from the previous generation. Give, the low price, it probably makes more sense to buy one of these than to step up to a Radeon R9 390X.