The Finest Gaming Graphics Playing cards: 1920×1200 & 2560×1600

A powerful graphics card is probably the most expensive component in your PC if you're a gamer. However, with all current and past GPUs in the $ 100-500 range, it can be difficult to find the right solution for your needs.

To narrow things down, we're going to compare today's major game cards, which sell for $ 200 or more, and test them in a range of games to see how they break down when we search for the best graphics cards for gaming are looking for resolutions of 1920×1200 and 2560×1600.

Most GPU versions pass our test bench. However, when we review these graphics cards, the GPUs are relatively new or barely making it to market, the drivers are not fully optimized, and most importantly, actual market pricing has not been set to value in the long run.

Models Start Code name Fab Bandwidth release
price
Current
price
GeForce GTX 670 May 10, 12 GK104 28nm 192.2 GB / s 400 dollars 400 dollars
GeForce GTX 680 22-Mar-12 GK104 28nm 192.2 GB / s $ 500 $ 500
Radeon HD 7870 19-Mar-12 Pitcairn XT 28nm 153.6 GB / s $ 350 $ 310
Radeon HD 7850 19-Mar-12 Pitcairn Pro 28nm 153.6 GB / s $ 250 $ 250
Radeon HD 7950 31-Jan-12 Tahiti Pro 28nm 240.0 GB / s $ 450 $ 350
Radeon HD 7970 9-Jan-12 Tahiti XT 28nm 264.0 GB / s $ 550 $ 450
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 25-Jan-11 GF114 40nm 128.2 GB / s $ 250 $ 230
Radeon HD 6870 10/22/10 Barts XT 40nm 134.4 GB / s $ 240 $ 180

Relative performance often performs the same throughout the life of the GPUs, but our approach to best value changes completely once Nvidia or AMD decide to adjust their prices. To give you a clear example, the Radeon HD 7970 launched last January with a sticker price of $ 550. A few months later, the GeForce GTX 680 came out and offered better performance for less money. AMD was quick to respond and cut the price of the HD 7970 to $ 450. Likewise, the slightly slower HD 7950 has been cut from its original price of $ 450 to just $ 350.

The table above contains all of the cards we will be comparing, starting with the most recently published. Note that while we have the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition on hand, we didn't include it in this review as we don't know why anyone would buy the factory overclocked solution for a $ 50 premium.

Test methodology

We selected ten games for our review, six of which are DX11 titles and feature recent releases such as Max Payne 3 and Alan Wake. Games will run at 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600, as we believe these are the resolutions that gamers are targeting with today's graphics cards over $ 200 with monitors between 24 and 30 inches. All games are tested with Fraps, which allows us to record 60 seconds of playing time.

Test system specifications

  • Gainward GeForce GTX 680 Phantom (2048 MB)
  • Gainward GeForce GTX 670 Phantom (2048 MB)
  • Gainward GeForce GTX 680 (2048 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 590 (3072 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 580 (1536 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 (1280 MB)
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti (1024 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 7970 (3072 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 7950 (3072 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 7870 (2048 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 7850 (2048 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 6990 (4096 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 6970 (2048 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 6950 (2048 MB)
  • HIS Radeon HD 6870 (1024 MB)
  • Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition (3.30 GHz)
  • x4 4 GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 (CAS 8-8-8-20)
  • Gigabyte G1 Assassin2 (Intel X79)
  • OCZ ZX series 1250w
  • Crucial m4 512 GB (SATA 6 Gbit / s)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
  • Nvidia Forceware 301.42
  • AMD catalyst 12.7

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