Graphics cards: Top picks for budget and performance PCs

Whether you're building your own PC or seeking to upgrade, your GPU choice is critical. Here are our graphics card recommendations.

By Nate Ralph, PC World |  Hardware, gaming PCs, graphics cards

However, if none of those features interest you, and if you've picked a motherboard that supports integrated graphics, feel free to skip the discrete graphics card entirely, or to choose a less-expensive option.

Performance

Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 ($350)Cream-of-the-crop graphics cards will cost you upwards of $500 each, and models at the highest end remain difficult to find due to supply constraints. So I'm going to keep things sensible here, and recommend the Nvidia GeForce GTX 570, a mainstream card.

The GTX 570's main advantage is sheer power. For example, in Dirt 2, it posted an average frame rate of 99 frames per second, a significant improvement over my budget choice. And in our test using the shooter Crysis 2 at a resolution of 1920 by 1200 with 4x antialiasing, the GTX 570 reached 42.6 fps, noticeably higher than the 34.8-fps rate of a direct competitor, the AMD Radeon HD 6970.

Beyond that, though, the GTX 570 is a bit less feature-filled than the HD 6850. For instance, if you want to run three displays simultaneously, you'll need to buy a second graphics card. Nvidia's display options on this board are limited compared to AMD's, as well, consisting of just two DVI connectors and a Mini HDMI connector. On the plus side, the GTX 570 supports 3D Vision, Nvidia's 3D technology. 3D Vision has been on the market for years now, and as a result you can find a slew of monitors and games that support it.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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