Posts Tagged ‘graphics cards’

The great GPU crisis – why are graphics cards so expensive now, and just how bad is it?

ZEC tales

Updated to reflect the latest, even more horrifying graphics card prices & availability, plus the concurrent RAM shortage.

If you’ve made a point of leaving any conversation as soon as you hear the sound ‘bitc…’ start to emanate from someone’s face-hole, I’ve got some bad news for you. The effects of the cryptocurrency goldrush are no longer confined to twitchy-eyed evangelists and screechy news headlines – for the second time in recent memory, it’s caused a huge spike in graphics card prices, both new and second-hand, as the crypto-clan rush to snaffle up any GPU they could possibly use to mine blockchain currencies such as Ethereum and Zcash. Even the recent decline in crypto exchange rates hasn’t brought GPU pricing back down to Earth – quite the opposite, in fact.

This means two things for us, in practice. 1) Now is the worst possible time to buy a new graphics card for gaming 2) now is the best possible time to sell on any unused old graphics cards you own.
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AMD Radeon RX 570 review: An all-round 1080p card

AMD RX 570

Back toward the end of last year, the AMD Radeon RX 570 looked like the saving grace of AMD’s graphics card line-up. However, with prices still ludicrously inflated thanks to the ongoing Great Mining Drought, even the RX 570 has now been hurled violently over the £300 barrier violently over the £300 barrier, taking it worryingly close to its vastly superior big brother, the AMD Radeon RX 580.

With fewer ‘stream processors’ (i.e. cores) than the RX 580 and just 4GB of memory, the RX 570 is once again the awkward middle child – not powerful enough to consider over the RX 580 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, and too expensive to consider over budget alternatives like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti.  So where does this FreeSync-enabled, 1080p/1440p card sit on the best graphics card 2018 ladder? To find out, I’ve got an Asus ROG Strix RX 570 OC Edition.

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AMD Radeon RX 580 review: Our top pick for 1440p gaming

AMD RX 580

The AMD Radeon RX 580 is the patriarch of AMD’s Polaris architecture family and was, until a few months ago when all graphics card pricing went out the window, our recommended centrepiece for mid-range PC builders. Indeed, while it still occupies the top spot for 1440p gaming in our Best graphics cards 2018 article, its main rival, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, is actually significantly cheaper at the moment, putting its reign in serious jeopardy.

For those unaware, the RX 580 comes in both 4GB and 8GB VRAM flavours. I’m covering the latter here, and it’s hard to make an argument as to why you’d consider the former: it’s not that much cheaper, but does essentially cut you off from the flashiest graphical stuff (like Ultra-high quality textures) in games which support them. Having less memory can also generally scupper you when running with higher resolutions, and considering that the RX 580 appears to have been made with 1440p firmly in AMD’s collective mind, 8GB just makes more sense.

Once again, it’s an Asus ROG Strix OC Edition I’m testing, though since the overclock in question has such a tiny boost speed upgrade from 1340MHz to a maximum of 1380MHz, it should be representative of most partner-made RX 580s. Here, however, you do get three fans, a sturdy backplate and an extra HDMI port for VR kit for your trouble.

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AMD Radeon Vega RX 64 review: Finally some competition for the GTX 1080

Asus Vega RX 64

Just as the Radeon Vega RX 56 targets the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, the Vega RX 64 is AMD’s precision strike on the mighty Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080. About damn time, too – by focusing solely on the mid-range and entry-level RX 400 and RX 500 series (which you can read more about in our AMD Radeon RX 580 review), AMD has given Nvidia free reign of the premium market for about two years. Time for some competition in the best graphics card 2018 tourney, methinks.

The model I’m testing is Asus’ ROG Strix version, or to use its full title for the only time in this review, the Asus ROG Strix RX Vega 64 OC Edition. The poetically-named ARSRV64OCE builds on AMD’s tech – which includes 8GB of High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2), which stacks its memory modules units on top of each other, supposedly speeding up how long it takes to talk to your CPU – with a nifty three-fan air cooler and, as the name suggests, overclocked cores. It’s only a little bump, mind, upping the base clock from 1247MHz to 1298MHz and the boost clock from 1549MHz to 1590MHz. As to whether all that makes the RX 64 as capable as the GTX 1080 at 1440p and, perhaps most importantly, 4K, the answer is: yes! Pretty much!

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Best graphics cards 2018 for 1080p, 1440p and 4K gaming

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti

With graphics card prices soaring once again thanks to the lovely exploits of nefarious cryptocurrency miners, choosing what graphics card to buy has never been more difficult – which is why this here article is all about identifying the single best GPU you can get for playing games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K at a price that suits you. Read on for advice on what and how to pick your next graphics card for 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti review: The best 1080p graphics card under £200

It’s been a pretty bleak couple of months for anyone hoping to buy a new graphics card, but there’s still a bit of good news to be found for those whose ambitions stop firmly at getting a great gaming experience at 1920×1080, as entry-level cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti on test here have been largely unaffected by recent price hikes.

Indeed, the GTX 1050Ti currently occupies the top spot in our Best graphics card 2018 article for 1080p gaming, and more importantly can still be found for as little as £150-odd in the UK and a fraction over $200 in the US. That’s almost half the cost of Nvidia’s next card up, the GTX 1060, which you can read more about in our Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review. It won’t be much good for anything beyond 1080p, but if Full HD gaming is your bag, then the GTX 1050 Ti is an excellent choice.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review: The best 1440p graphics card (for now)

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is Nvidia’s new mid-range contender, chasing the coat tails of its more powerful big brother, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and rubbing shoulders with the AMD Radeon RX 580 for 2560×1440 gaming goodness. Or at least the 6GB version of Nvidia’s card is, as you’ll also find lesser 3GB variants on sale as well.

3GB models have the same basic DNA as 6GB GTX 1060s, but they have slightly lower clock speeds and fewer cores, meaning performance won’t be as good as their 6GB counterparts. Indeed, we wouldn’t really recommend the 3GB GTX 1060, if only in the name of future-proofing yourself against the ever increasing memory requirements of the latest games. As you can see from our Best graphics cards 2018 article, you should really be looking at the 6GB version if you want something to rival the GTX 1070 at resolutions beyond 1080p, as there are plenty of cheaper cards, namely the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti, that do 1080p just as well as the 3GB GTX 1060 without you having to spend almost £300 for the privilege. Fortunately, we have one such 6GB card on test to show us what it’s capable of. Say hello to the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Gaming X.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 review: Still the best 1440p graphics card in 2018?

For many PC gamers, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 is the next logical step up from the excellent GTX 970. While not as powerful as the beefy Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, it still offers significant gains over its lesser sibling, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, providing a smoother, more flexible gaming experience at both 1080p and 1440p alike, and even a teeny bit of 4K. The problem is, graphics card prices have currently sky-rocketed beyond all reasonable consideration at the moment, putting potential GTX 1070 buyers in a bit of a tough spot.

In fact, we wouldn’t recommend buying any mid-to-high-end graphics card at the moment until this crypto-mining business settles down again. You can read more about other options in our Best graphics card 2018 article, but provided you can actually find one in stock and don’t mind paying through the roof for it, then read on. After all, when Nvidia claims it can outperform its £1,000 Titan X mega beast, that’s reason enough to sit up and take notice.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070Ti review: Better than the GTX 1080?

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070Ti is a bit of a funny old thing. I’ve spent countless hours trying, and failing, to determine where this 4K-bothering card sits in Nvidia’s overall strategy,  and while its position in the Nvidia hierarchy is obvious – between the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 – it seems to be more of a toned-down 1080 than a souped-up 1070. It’s got hundreds more cores than the GTX 1070 – 2432 of them, compared to just 1920, but falls short of the GTX 1080 by just 128 of them. Why, then, would you not just make that tiny extra leap to a full-fat GTX 1080?

To help answer that question, I’ve got Zotac’s take, the GeForce GTX 1070Ti AMP Extreme, while Katharine has MSI’s GTX 1070Ti Gaming 8G. Together, we should hopefully find out how Nvidia’s newest card stacks up against its siblings – and whether it’s got the chops to dethrone the GTX 1080 in our Best graphics cards 2018 article for 4K gaming.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review: The best 4K graphics card right now

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is no longer top dog in its GPU family – that honour now goes the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti and, of course, the frankly ridiculous Titan Xp. However, with graphics card prices currently hitting all-time highs due to the rather ridiculous craze for cryptocurrency mining, the GTX 1080 is now our top choice for those after a 4K capable graphics card. If you don’t believe us, check out our Best graphics card 2018 article to see why we’ve picked this one and not its Ti counterpart.

To help us discover why it’s our 4K graphics card of choice, we’ve got the economically monikered MSI Gaming X 8GB Twin Frozr VI. To the benchmarks!

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti review: A 4K monster that isn’t worth the extra cash

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti

As muscular as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is, there have been some not-entirely-unwarranted grumbles about its underlying tech; specifically, that it’s basically a GeForce GTX 1070 with more of the GPU’s cores enabled. The GTX 1080Ti is much bigger break from the rest of Nvidia’s 10-series, and a much more overtly ‘high-end’ card. It uses the bigger, beefier GP-102 GPU, same as in the bonkers-expensive Titan X and Titan Xp, and wields 3584 processing cores to the GTX 1080’s 2560. Its 11GB of memory is the most you’ll find in a mainstream card, too.

Obviously, these upgrades will put a proportionally larger dent into your finances (which is part of the reason why it doesn’t currently occupy top spot in our Best graphics card 2018 list as our 4K card of choice). The MSI GeForce GTX 1080Ti Gaming X Trio I’ve been testing – with its factory overclocking and custom triple-fan cooler – is a staggering £900 right now, and generally the cheapest GTX 1080Ti I can find that’s actually in stock still asks for £850. With the GTX 1080 currently hovering around £650, this card needs to prove it’s not just a list of fancy-sounding specs.

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Cyber Monday 2017: The best deals on PC games, graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more

Cyber Monday 2017

After a weekend of gorging yourself on turkey and elbowing people in the face to get that last discounted something or other in the shops, now it’s time to settle in and continue those deal hunts from the comfort of your own home. For today is Cyber Monday, the day that’s reserved for purely online-only deals following the shopping bonanza that was Black Friday.

This year, we’ve done the hard work for you, as we’ve scoured the web for the best Cyber Monday deals money can buy. These aren’t just re-heated Black Friday deals, either, as most retailers usually have completely separate discounts running today, making it a great time to pick up another bargain if none of the deals last week took your fancy. As always, we’ll be updating this article throughout the day, so make sure to check back at regular intervals just in case something new appears. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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Black Friday 2017: Best graphics card deals

You can’t seem to go three days in November without some big, new AAA game being released, so if your PC’s been struggling to play the likes of Assassin’s Creed Origins, Nioh, Wolfenstein II or Middle-earth: Shadow of War recently, you’re in luck. For Black Friday is precisely the time of year when graphics card prices plummet and you can nab yourself a bit of a bargain.

 

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Black Friday 2017: The best deals on graphics cards, monitors, SSDs and more

1080ti

The sale event to end all sale events is here. That’s right, folks, Black Friday 2017 is here, and this year’s sales frenzy is set to be bigger than ever as we head into the Christmas shopping period. In all honesty, they should just rename it Black November, as there have been deals going on throughout the month in preparation for the big day.

To save you trawling through the web in search of a good bargain, we’ve created this handy guide containing everything you need to know about Black Friday 2017. If you’re on the hunt for a new graphics card, a bigger and better monitor, want to splash out on a fast SSD or upgrade your gaming headset and get a more reliable mouse and keyboard, this is the place to be. We’ll be updating this hub page on a regular basis as new deals get announced, too, so make sure to keep it in your bookmarks if you fancy grabbing yourself a bit of a bargain before Christmas. We’ve also got tips on the best places to browse, and how to find out if those hot discounts are really as good as they seem.

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AMD Radeon RX 480 review: Graphics greatness you can actually afford?

AMD’s pixel pumping Radeon RX 480 is slightly old hat now. Despite its close competitor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, being alive and well and readily available to buy, the RX 480 has all but disappeared from online retailers – unless you want to pay massively over the odds for one, of course. That’s largely because it’s now been replaced by the newer RX 580, which shares the same GPU / chipset / thingy as the RX 480, but comes with a slightly higher clock speed, allowing it to run just a teeny bit faster compared to its 480 predecessor.

That said, until we’ve taken a closer look at said RX 580 to find out just how much better it is, you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like by reading my original thoughts on the RX 480. So how does it perform? Forget the benchmarks, let’s give the new RX 480 a good old grope.

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Nvidia’s GTX 1070Ti is arriving next week for £420 / $449

Nvidia GTX 1070Ti

We all knew it was coming, but Nvidia have finally confirmed the GTX 1070Ti. Sitting roughly between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 in terms of specs and performance, the card will start shipping from November 2nd, with pre-orders open right now should you feel so inclined. It will set you back a fair chunk of change, costing upwards of £420 / $449 depending on which manufacturer design you go for, but with Nvidia’s next-gen Volta cards still seemingly a long way off and many regular GTX 1070 cards still priced in a similar kind of ball park, the GTX 1070Ti might be the card for you if you want something to rival AMD’s brand-new Vega cards. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Nvidia is overcharging us all off, just a bit

As I was saying, Intel’s CPU strategy has gone into meltdown. As a consequence, the cynicism of its approach in the face of weak competition – right up until AMD pulled its new Ryzen out of the proverbial – has been laid bare. But it’s not just Chipzilla that’s worthy of your scorn. For some time now, Nvidia has essentially been ripping us all off just a little bit. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia’s new $700 1080 Ti in theory beats $1200 Titan X

With Nvidia‘s long dominance of the top end of the graphics card market potentially under threat from AMD’s upcoming RX Vega line, they’ve just offered a speculative riposte. The Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is a buffed-up take on the year-old 1080, and though conventional wisdom (i.e. Nvidia naming traditions) would place it between that card and their $1200 Titan X, the claim is that their $700 new’un actually beats the X.

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Stop That, It’s Silly: Nvidia’s New Titan X Graphics Card

Sooner than anyone expected, Nvidia has rolled out its latest uber graphics card. It’s the new Titan X. It’s undoubtedly the fastest and bestest PC graphics board ever and probably by some margin. And it will cost you $1,200 and probably a similar post-VAT sterling figure back in the old, disintegrating empire. Call me a desiccated old cynic, but this is getting silly…

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2016 Awesomeness: Nvidia’s New Pascal Graphics

If it was a car it would be a gold-wrapped, kleptocrat-owned Bugatti Veyron ostentatiously double parked outside a Knightsbridge hotel. It’s still bloated, it’s still overly complex and you still can’t afford it. But it’s a graphics chip and a harbinger of things you might actually be able to buy. I give you Nvidia’s new Pascal GP100, a 15.3 billion transistor beast and the beginnings of that 2016 awesomeness I promised for the new year. In other words, if you’re thinking of buying a new graphics card, you might want to hold fire. Meanwhile, Intel has also taken the wraps off a massive new chip you can’t afford and the final piece the Laird Gaming Dungeon™: Driver Edition has arrived. Yup, I’m liking 2016.

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