Best Gaming Graphics Cards 2012 - 2013 Video Card GPU

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EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked 1536 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 015-P3-1582-AREVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked 1280 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 012-P3-1572-ARSapphire Radeon HD 6950 2 GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/Dual Mini DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 100312SREVGA GeForce GTX470 Superclocked 1280 MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 012-P3-1472-ARXFX Radeon HD 6870 1 GB DDR5 Graphics Card HD687AZNFCEVGA GeForce GTX460 Superclocked 1024 MB DDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 01G-P3-1373-ARSapphire Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5 VGA/DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express Video Card 100315LSapphire Radeon HD5770 Vapor-X 1 GB DDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card 100283VX-2L
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked 1536 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 015-P3-1582-AR
EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked 1536 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 015-P3-1582-AR
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked 1280 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 012-P3-1572-AR
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked 1280 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 012-P3-1572-AR
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2 GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/Dual Mini DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 100312SR
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2 GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/Dual Mini DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 100312SR
EVGA GeForce GTX470 Superclocked 1280 MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 012-P3-1472-AR
EVGA GeForce GTX470 Superclocked 1280 MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 012-P3-1472-AR
XFX Radeon HD 6870 1 GB DDR5 Graphics Card HD687AZNFC
XFX Radeon HD 6870 1 GB DDR5 Graphics Card HD687AZNFC
EVGA GeForce GTX460 Superclocked 1024 MB DDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 01G-P3-1373-AR
EVGA GeForce GTX460 Superclocked 1024 MB DDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 01G-P3-1373-AR
Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5 VGA/DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express Video Card 100315L
Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5 VGA/DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express Video Card 100315L
Sapphire Radeon HD5770 Vapor-X 1 GB DDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card 100283VX-2L
Sapphire Radeon HD5770 Vapor-X 1 GB DDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card 100283VX-2L

Serious gamers know that their graphics card is the key to ultimate gaming performance. Without a good graphics card blurring, ghosting, and freezing can make your gaming experience less than fun. Gamer's with poor performance, not only experience low fps, but also the frustration caused by a poor computer that slows their reaction time vs. their opponents. This is why most gamers upgrade their video card every 12-18 months. With a new line of video cards replacing the old line every 6 months, it's understandable why they need to do this so often. The hard part comes when it's time to pick out a new card. Should you crossfire/SLI, overclock, or just get a good card that can handle all the games you play. When you are building a gaming computer, it's all about the most performance, simplicity, and reliability... for the least amount of money.

Radeon Vs. GeForce Graphics Cards

Some gamers are adamant about one brand name over the other. The Intel vs. AMD debate pops up in every discussion I have about CPU. In every discussion I have about graphics cards it's always Radeon vs. GeForce. The truth is that you should go with the best performance and reliability combo that you can find despite brand. Since a brand isn't loyal to you, you shouldn't be loyal in return.

Graphics Cards Under $300

For an up-to date graphics card that will play all their games, gamers typically expect to spend between $200-300 whether they buy a single card or two less-expensive ones. We've listed to the right in terms of reliability and performance where we'd put our money in 2012. The 2 main competitors in the $300 price range are the GTX 470 and the HD 6950. Although you could spend more money to get a card that would last a little longer, we feel that the happy medium between overpaying and performance lies with these two cards since neither of these should give you issues with any game for the next 18 months. This should be fine until you upgrade your PC with a new graphics card in a similar price range that will more than beat out the more expensive graphics cards in the higher-end price range today.

*For a good graphics card combo under $300 you could also consider purchasing dual Radeon HD5770s. Some of our readers have mentioned they get even better results this way.

Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 Graphics Card (100312SR)

Manufacturer's Technical Details:

  • PCI-Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
  • 256-bit DDR5 memory interface
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 Support
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Support
  • ATI Eyefinity Technology, support up to 3 displays

What Gamer's are Saying on Amazon:
"Great card, unlocked to a 6970 with a bios flash and overclocks like a beast. Runs every game i've come across at highest settings on 1080p with 30fps or better."
"Great to finally be able to play my games in DX11 also this will keep me good for a long while. Fast card and great FPS over my old one. I currently am playing all my games at highest settings."

EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Graphics Card (012-P3-1472-AR)

Manufacturer's Technical Details:

  • GeForce GTX 470 Superclocked with 625 MHz core clock
  • PCI Express 2.0
  • 1280 MB 320-bit 2.5ns GDDR5 memory
  • 3402 MHz memory clock and 1250 MHz shader clock
  • Windows XP, Vista and Windows7 support

What Gamers are Saying on Amazon:
"VGA makes this card super easy to overclock with EVGA Precision. Overclocking with EVGA Precision does not void your warranty. I was able to OC card to Core Clock 718 MHz, Shader Clock 1435 MHz, Memory Clock 1860 MHz which is higher than the GTX 480. I did this with out adding any voltage, no crashes, no artifacts and I can play for hours with no problems. Rock solid OC! If you add voltage you can go higher, but I see no need to. With OC settings my minimum frame rate does not go below 25 FPS for Crysis Warhead Ambush benchmarking tool with 1920 x 1200 Resolution with max settings no AA."

"I got 2 of these cards for a SLI configuration to replace an already-screaming GTX295... I would have preferred a dual-GPU card, but it doesn't look like any will be coming out for a reasonable price ... So, for about the same amount, I got 2 of these cards. My MSI X58 supports SLI, but the slots are spaced so that the video cards are right next to each other (no spacing). I was concerned at first, but after loading it up for a few hours, the top card got to 95C and the bottom card 92C, so not too different. The max is 105C so no concerns there, and the fan was only at 78% on the hottest card... "

In the end, buy the graphics card that works for whatever your needs are. Professional gamers may feel the need to crossfire/sli higher end graphics cards ($250-500), while casual gamers may find that a less expensive graphics ($100-250) card works perfectly fine with the games that they enjoy.

If you are looking to build your own custom computer, need to know which motherboard you should purchase, or are just looking for a new gaming case, then check out some of these.

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