We will never grow tired of saying it: saving up on a graphics card for a gaming PC is like saving up on health care. You can risk, for sure, but soon you’ll have to spend twice the same amount of money. GPUs is notoriously the most expensive part of a whole system, but you don’t need to be scared by their prices: every year manufacturers find a way to cut costs on new models while updating their performances and it’s possible to find great graphics cards for under 500 $.
The first product we analyze is the AMD Radeon RX480 in its Asus’ or Sapphire’s branded version, that can be found at most online stores for just under our limit. Release with high expectations and the promise to be the “best budget GPU on the market”, AMD dropped a quiet beast on the stores: its most interesting aspects are the brand new Polaris architecture that reduces drastically the power consumption, the patented AMD FreeSync Technology for smooth visuals and two big fans for heat dissipation. Speaking of he numbers, the 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM will be enough to play most games with maxed out configurations at 1080p, while also handling 1440p pretty well. A really nice addition is the VR capability right out of the box, something you wouldn’t expect for this price tag.
Its first competitor is Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, especially the version distributed by Gigabyte. Its core strength has to be the ridiculously fast memory, with 8GB of DDR5 VRAM clocking at 8000MHz, a huge step up from the previous 6000/7000MHz models. Even if it can render beautiful 4k images, we recommend only playing at 1440p if your priority is a stable 60fps rate. Also, if you own a multi-monitor setup this is the card for you, as it comes with native support to four different displays, one HDMI 2.0b and three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs
A quick nod has to be done also to EVGA’s version of the GeForce 1070 called the “Founders Edition”. This evocative name is a hint at a very interesting fact: all the design aspects during the preliminary phases were guided directly by the original reference design of Nvidia. You can expect the same size, power necessity, heatsink and clock frequency of the original. While the price recently skyrocketed, it’s not hard to find stores that stay under the 500$ mark we set at the beginning.