Get the Best Graphics Cards on a Budget

ContributorComputer Hardware

Today’s graphics cards are changing the gaming experience. Playing on your PC with a great graphics card can easily compete with the graphics on any current gaming consoles –and with the next gen of consoles not coming out until the end of 2013 at the very least, a good graphics card is are definitely your best bet for an awesome gaming experience in the meantime.

Nvidia vs. AMD

Nvidia and AMD are the two powerhouses for graphics cards, offering tons of different selections based on your different needs. Consider what they both offer.

Nvidia

Nvidia’s products are quite powerful and perhaps a little energy-hungry as well. Nvidia calls it’s gaming technology SLI — this technology allows you to use two of the same graphics card in order to boost your PC’s performance level. While you shouldn’t expect to get a 100% upgrade, the performance upgrade is definitely worth another card.

If you are looking to use more than one screen for gaming, Nvidia is definitely not the choice for you. But you could always run two cards on SLI for multiple screens –if you are willing to afford that kind of thing.

Nvidia has used 3D technology for years –almost four, at that. Because of this tons products can be paired with their 3D games and hardware. They are easy to find and reliable when you want a 3-dimensional gaming experience.

AMD

AMD’s products are usually less expensive than Nvidias and will make your electricity bill a lot happier too. AMD calls their tech CrossFire and also allows you to have dual graphics card capabilities. Although, not all motherboards and power supplies can handle this.

AMD is a great choice when you are using multiple displays. One card can handle running up to three monitors at once. A lot of serious gamers enjoy having as many screens as possible to make their playing time feel more real and sensory-fulfilling.

AMD’s 3D capabilities may not be as advanced or long-standing as Nvidia’s, they will still give you a great gaming experience.

2 Graphics Cards Options

AMD Radeon HD 6870

picture of AMD Radeon HD 6870

You can find this card for $234 from Capital Supply.
Radeon is the name of the chipset, some of features include a 256 bit bus width (very high rate of data transfer from the card back to the motherboard), a PCIe x16 interface (the slot it fits into on the motherboard), 1GB Memory size (how much geometry can be stored at one time), 1050 Mhz in memory (speed of memory; ability to handle high volume of geometry), GDDR5 SDRam (fastest type of memory), Processor Memory 900 Mhz (mid-range speed; speed which calculations are done).

AMD Radeon HD 7970

AMD Radeon HD 7970

If your budget is a little higher, you can get the AMD Radeon HD 7970 for $463.56 from Compuvest, manufactured by Sapphire. Sometimes 3rd party manufactures will create cards with either Radeon or Nvidia chipset and overclock them. It boasts 2048 stream processors and a base clock speed of 950Mhz. 3GB in memory size, 5GDDR in memory type and a 5700/5800 memory speed. When there is available power not being used, this smart gadget will overclock the GPU –saving you power.

A feature called PowerTune also streamlines the frame rate of the games you’re playing. When you aren’t worried about overclocking, you can also focus more on gaming. Definitely worth the money.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti

Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti

These graphics cards are generally a little cheaper than AMD’s and some might say they run slightly slower, although not noticeably enough to the average gamer.
You can get a version made by MSI with a 256-bit bus width, 1GB memory size, GDDR5 Sdram memory type, at a memory speed of 4008 Mhz.
You can order an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti for $218.47 from Capitol Supply.

In Unigine Heaven, the 3D real-time engine, the GTX had fps at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 and ran a little less than a second faster than AMD’s Radeon HD 6870. Making the two graphic cards very similar in this area.

ASUS Nvidia GeForce EN210 silent

ASUS NVIDIA GeForce 210 silent graphics card featured

If you’re looking for a video card that offers some half-way decent performance but you’re really on a budget, you might consider the ASUS Nvidia GeForce EN210. You can find it for $34.98 on Amazon. It’s a low-profile card, meaning it’s a bit smaller in shape than other cards, also it consumes less electricity, so it’s more economical.
Features include 1GB of memory size, GDDR3 is the memory type (not as fast as GDDR5), 1200 Mhz memory speed (this is good enough to handle Crysis on low graphics, Skyrim should work fine on medium at a low resolution), bus width is 64-bit (much slower communication between card and motherboard).

Check these graphic cards out if you are looking for a quick fix to enhancing your gaming experience. Not only will they make your graphics more eye-catching, but they can also make your computer run faster.

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Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer who works with online gaming site Fizzle Games. She writes on everything from gaming, tech, and health, and with a background in marketing, she understands how how to go about finding the best deals to improve any gaming experience.