Choose Your GPU Wisely, You Must

When it comes to choosing a GPU (or multiples) for your gaming rig, don’t just follow the herd. Don’t fall for the first awesome looking article boasting of the latest and greatest either. When you want to get the most out of your gaming rig for your hard earned dollars, you need to do some homework first and then ask: “What would Yoda do?”

Some questions to ask yourself before you choose that GPU:

  • Is it compatible with your system?
  • Is it worth the price?
  • Does it allow SLI / CrossFire / VR / 4K...
  • What kind of monitor(s) will you use? FreeSync, G-SYNC, 4K, QHD (A little tip here: don’t use a TV… it is a poor choice for PC gaming due to poor response rates)
  • What types of games do you play? E-sports at >60 FPS, AAA, Steam…
  • What do those games support? Vulkan and DX12; DX11; SLI and/or CrossFire? Tailor your rig to the games that you are going to play longterm.

If you already have a GTX 980, is it more cost effective to buy a second and use SLI, or do you want to go for the GTX 1080 now? Again, performance here may come down to the game you are running.

Add the functionality of Vulkan and DX12 in the newer games with the newer mobos on the market that allow SLI OR CrossFire, and you now have the option of running multiple non-matching GPUs (and integrated graphics) unlinked or matching GPUs linked with explicit multiadapter technology. This will add value to your graphics card(s) of choice.

Careful With Those Benchmarks...

Finally, don’t let yourself get sucked into hype-land. Make an informed decision based on your needs. Benchmarks are like a college statistics class from Hell these days. Depending on the results you are looking for, you can find a way to get there through tweaking hardware and software settings. Plus, benchmarking for Vulkan and DX12 is a different ballgame than the previous benchmarking for DX11 and its predecessors. How a game’s engine runs with the new formats is key. This can make an awesome graphics card look like a Model-T Ford. Tune into my podcast from 11/11 for more of a discussion on the new turn in GPUs and APIs. Presently, the DX11 API is Nvidia’s strongest API; however, they are now working on their DX12 results. For now, they are using brute force with their Pascal architecture to overcome the shortfall. For the most part, gaming enthusiasts will be the only ones the see the biggest differences in how NVIDIA handles their lack of async compute performance vs AMD.

One last thing to consider: Before you purchase that graphics card….make sure your rig has more than adequate cooling and power supply to run the graphics card you have chosen.

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