Best Video Cards: May 2014

by Ryan Smith on 5/29/2014 1:00 PM EST
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  • gobaers - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Just got an R9 280 for $220 with $20 MIR. Couldn't believe how cheap it's getting. Reply
  • JimmaDaRustla - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    $245 CAD here for the XFX Black Edition (OC'd to 1000mhz core) Reply
  • microAmp - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Two weeks ago, I got the Sapphire 280 for $209, if I get the rebate it'll be $199. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    I think there's a $300 reference 290: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Pretty ridiculous for a gamer that doesn't care about noise.

    I got my non-reference 290 for $366 including a $20 rebate that arrived last week. I wear headphones and it's been stupidly quiet (and relatively cool for Hawaii, ~80C). I almost regret spending the extra $65.
    Reply
  • trichome333 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    Yup, got mine for 229 plus 30 MIR. XFX DD, its a sexy card. Reply
  • JimmaDaRustla - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    I don't get this article - it starts out stating that the R9 280 has dropped significantly and the price of $249 makes much more sense now. It has 3GB and has more power than the GTX 760, but the 2GB GTX 760 is the "Runner-up" to the 270x. Reply
  • Morg72 - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Price/Performance is totally being dominated by AMD right now, So mentioning the 750ti, 760 and 780, I take it they are just trying to throw nVidia fanboy's a bone where they can. If looking for the best bang for your buck, the 780 at $499 makes no sense with performance similar to the cheaper 290 and a price similar to the 290x, thought the 290x has better performance, I don't see see where the 780 fits in. Reply
  • Anonymous Blowhard - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    If by "nVidia fanboys" you mean "people who use CUDA, want the extra featureset of ShadowPlay/GameStream, or want to run any kind of acceptable 3D under Linux" then yes, I suppose they need to throw them a bone. Reply
  • Morg72 - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    By "nVidia fanboys" I refer to those that see a price/performance list like this, and start claiming favoring or being in AMD's pocket and those that buy nVidia's products regardless if it's the best performance for their money. There are some of these on both sides, it's just that the AMD ones are happy right now.
    That bing said, I don't see what CUDA has to do with the 750ti, 760 and 780, as the compute performance is gimped on those cards. As for the rest of what you mentioned, it doesn't change the overall price/performance ratio, it just means that they get to see the premium they are paying for certain "features".
    Reply
  • Anonymous Blowhard - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    > There are some of these on both sides, it's just that the AMD ones are happy right now.

    Considering how hard they were getting railroaded when the cryptocurrency miners were hoovering up their cards, it's only fair they get a chance to gloat now I suppose.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    My daddy taught me "Two wrongs don't make a right". :)

    The fanboy mindset, clinging to a particular brand and saying it is better despite evidence otherwise, does no one any good. It would be better to discourage that kind of thinking than excuse it.

    (I'm not saying it is wrong to make a personal choice about which brand you buy, I'm saying it's wrong to ignore evidence that demonstrates the superiority of one product over another in the criteria measured. Of course it is rare that all of the criteria are measured in a review.)
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    I've also never had a Radeon card last more than 2 years before flaking out. My Sapphire 4870 eventually had failing VRAM (green artifacts) and my Asus 7750 has lately begun to bluescreen and 1/3rd of the time doesn't resume from standby (it fails to reinitialize the video.) Coincidently, there are tons of refurbs floating around on the market and a lot of people having the same issues even with the refurbs.

    To this day the most solid card I've ever had was my EVGA GTX560 (still working fine in my "garage" PC 3+ years later)

    If only EVGA made AMD cards, maybe they would have a reliable OEM. Because my experience, and many of my friends, hold AMD OEM's (and possibly the chips themselves) to be unreliable and drivers to be inherently sub-par.
    Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    This article is intentionally called "Best graphics cards" since price/performance is only part of the equation. NVidia is much better in power consumption and noise, so if you are like me and care about either of those, the extra money is worth it. Reply
  • RussianSensation - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    You don't have any argument there really.

    The noise and temperatures are not relevant since one can purchase an after-market R9 280/280X/290/290X that runs both cool and quiet:

    Low Noise - http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/R9_290...
    Low Temps - 73C - http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/R9_290...

    Now power consumption at Peak load:
    780 = 222W
    Sapphire 290X = 253W
    780Ti = 269W

    These GPUs will be in a system that will use 100-200W. You are looking at 30W extra power use over the 780 but significantly faster performance. Power consumption between 280X and 770 is also very similar. So again, from a cost perspective, 780/R9 290/290X/780Ti all a very similar amount of power.

    Sounds like you have no credible argument at all but R9 290 4GB is just $400 while GTX780 6GB which is needed for Watch Dogs is at least $550. NV's pricing right now is horrendous and not worth the premium at all, especially once one starts scaling to 2-3 GPUs and these differences magnify.
    Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    The 290X Tri-X is $700 while a GTX 780 Ti is $680. All you proved is that if you pay extra - the same money as the NVidia card - you can have the same low noise (you still can't beat the power consumption). Reply
  • RussianSensation - Saturday, May 31, 2014 - link

    Huh? First you claimed that R9 290/X cards have high power consumption and heat and noise levels. I disproved it by showing Sapphire Tri-X as just 1 example. You can use any other R9 290 cards to prove the same, such as XFX Double Dissipation, PowerColor PCS+, etc. All of your claims that R9 290 run hot and loud is not true for any of the good after-market cards.

    Second, you proceeded to evade my response by claiming that 290X Tri-X is $700. The current price for Sapphire Tri-X R9 290X is $550, not $700:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Again, you are not seeing the big pictures. A gamer can buy say a HIS IceQ2 R9 290X for $460:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Since I already addressed your comments on power consumption, heat and noise levels which are all negated by after-market cards or have very little difference between AMD and NV, that leaves us with price. Here is picture for you one more time:

    On Newegg as of May 31, 2014:

    R9 280X vs. 770 4GB:

    After-market XFX Double Dissipation R9 280X = $260 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Cheapest GTX770 2GB = $310 --> but this card is like throwing $ into the toilet now since games like Wolfenstein New Order and Watch Dogs require 3GB of VRAM even at 1080P for ultra textures.

    Cheapest GTX770 4GB = $360! 38% price premium for similar performance.

    R9 290 vs. 780 3GB/6GB
    After-market HIS IceQ2 R9 290X = $360 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Cheapest 780 3GB = $480
    Cheapest 780 6GB = $580 (EVGA 6GB can be bought for $550 on their site).

    Cards like R9 290 and 780 are often used at 1440p/1600p and 3GB is not enough for Watch Dogs. One has to pay a ridiculous $550+ vs. R9 290's price of $360 to get a similar performing card. Insanely overpriced card from NV!

    GTX780Ti Gaming 3GB is the cheapest on Newegg at $600 vs. $460 for the HIS IceQ R9 290X I noted. Again, rip off.

    You can either keep posting outdated prices, or admit that NV needs to drop 25-30% off their prices.
    Reply
  • Vayra - Monday, June 02, 2014 - link

    You are completely right about pretty much everything you said, but you forget that at this point, the 3GB limit does not really bottleneck the 770 as much as you'd think. Benchmarks from different sources do show very little performance loss in games that utilize the 3GB limit versus a R9 280x.

    This makes sense, because the GPU can't process more than it can process. Having 3GB on this level of cards is still out of balance with the performance these cards can deliver. Really great to have 3GB on the R9 280x, but the fact is that you will only see a true benefit in Crossfire, when you actually have the power to drive so many pixels at a smooth framerate.

    Cheapest GTX770 2GB = $310 --> but this card is like throwing $ into the toilet now since games like Wolfenstein New Order and Watch Dogs require 3GB of VRAM even at 1080P for ultra textures. -- Actually no, cards of this price range are only just powerful enough to drive 1440p and games that go over 2GB at 1080p are notoriously crappy coded games. Simple as it is. Are you really going to buy a bigger card just to help shitty developing?
    Reply
  • trichome333 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    I think he pretty much addressed that question. Seems the development is about equal but Nvidia is either paying way more for it or counting on guys like you to ignore reality and flaunt the 20-30 watt power advantage. BTW 30 watts is like 30 bucks a year on 24 hours a day. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    I just bought an R9 290 OC Windforce a couple weeks ago and returned it. It was my own fault for assuming it would work, but AMD has dropped support of analog displays with Hawaii! I was shocked to discover that it did not have a DVI-I port, but only two DVI-D ports.

    A DVI-D to VGA adapter is at least $45 (usually closer to $100), but then most of them have a slow DAC, meaning no 1920x1200 or 2560x1600, and very few refresh rates over 60Hz. It now seems obvious to me as to where some of the cost savings come from with Hawaii - no DAC.

    NVIDIA has not dropped DVI-I. 780/780Ti for me, I guess.
    Reply
  • coburn_c - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Why on earth would you get a 250X when Newegg has the 260X for the exact same price. 1/3 again the number of shaders? Same price? Hello? Reply
  • Anonymous Blowhard - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    You mean "For Cheaper" right?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    PowerColor AXR7 260X 1GBD5-DH/OC Radeon R7 260X - $70 after MIR with free shipping.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Wow, that's a phenomenal price. At that price, 260X CF actually makes sense. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Nevermind... 1GB is pretty weak. If it were 2GB, then for sure. Reply
  • trichome333 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    Great find! Anyone on the fence about needing a discreet GPU should jump all over that! Just paid 199 after MIR on an r280...... wonder what 260x in CF does? lol Im sure 280 would smoke it. Right???? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    These guides are generally based on the prices/availability of the lowest quartile of cards. We do not draw recommendations from a single card that is on sale, as sales are fleeting.

    Plus the card you speak of is a 1GB card.
    Reply
  • coburn_c - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    The 99 dollar 250X is 1GB as well, and the range is 99-150, which includes 260x 2GB models at the same price as the 250X 2GB model. Just a bad recommendation when you consider for 10 dollars more, any way you toss them, the 260X has 1/3 more shaders. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    $99 is something of a hard price point. Cards above it are far better, and it has been that way for years. But sales data shows that $99 (and $199) are hard price points; certain groups of consumers will stick to a strict budget and not spend more than that, hence we offer a recommendation at that price. Reply
  • coburn_c - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Saving 10 dollars and getting a card that can't muster 30fps in most games is not what someone who read a guide would do. It's what someone with a lobotomy would do. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    You should really start a website where you make GPU recommendations, coburn_c. Reply
  • Communism - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=Radeon+R9+290... Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Just got my brother a 270x for $160 shipped. Pretty sweet deal at that price.

    What is Nvidia thinking with the GTX760 being over $200? Makes no sense.
    Reply
  • Torashin - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    It's really depressing reading how cheap you yanks can get cards for. $200 for a 280? That's mad! Here in the UK they start at £180 ($300) :'( Reply
  • garadante - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    We were also completely boned for all of the beginning of this year with AMD card prices between hyperinflated. We're just -finally- getting back to 7950s/280s not being $400 cards. Considering the architecture is 2.5 years old and the 7950s were in the high $100s before retailers started running out of stock, we should really being seeing more cards in the high $100s and some in the mid $100s after a good rebate. That they're still over $200 even with sales and rebates is sad when you take it all into context. Reply
  • RussianSensation - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    HD7950 only fell below $200 near end of life when cards were discontinued. Today R9 280 costs $200 every day of the week:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    The card it competes with is either a 760 2GB (lack of VRAM) for $210 (cheapest on Newegg) or 760 4GB for $250. In both cases the R9 280 is as fast and either costs $50 less or has more VRAM.

    R9 280X costs as low as $260:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    770 2GB which is now insufficient for games like Watch Dogs, but the cheapest on Newegg is $325. 770 4GB which is really a competitor to the R9 280X 3GB costs at least $370.

    Looks like NV needs to drop prices on 760 4GB about $50 and on 770 4GB at least $80. Because of this, AMD has no need to drop prices on R9 280/X cards as they already offer the best price/performance in their class.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, June 02, 2014 - link

    Your countries charge tarrifs to import stuff. Also, shipping is expensive. Also, smaller market. Also, exchange rate. We pay $200 you pay E180. You are actually paying less, based on your local currency. You can't compare cross country prices as if the conversion makes them equal. That's why money has different values, different economies of different countries. $180, in your country, is equal to $180 in my country. It's only when you try to spend your money in my country, or vice versa, that exchange rates come into play. Reply
  • hadesm5 - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Great selection for gaming, but what about other use cases?

    I'm want to build a PC for work that supports a 3840x2160 monitor. Main use would be CAD and text editors, so the video card wouldn't have to be high-performance. Just looking for something that can push that many pixels, with price and low noise being more important than performance. Anyone have a comparable setup?
    Reply
  • HappyHubris - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    It's a shame that AMD cards come with AMD drivers; they offer excellent raw performance for the price. Reply
  • RussianSensation - Saturday, May 31, 2014 - link

    AMD drivers are fine. R9 295X2 is the fastest dual-GPU card and R9 295X2 + 290X Tri-Fire is the best setup for multi-monitor gaming and 4K gaming. If drivers sucked, how can these cards be awarded a Gold Award?

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2014/05/13/amd_rade...

    The driver argument is getting old.
    Reply
  • xomm - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Surely if you've got the money for a 290, you can afford a decent monitor... Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, June 02, 2014 - link

    surely those are just nvidia fanboys who tries hard to blame anything amd has to offer.

    i have over 10 graphic cards, 70% of them was nvidia due to the fact that i thought nvidia are somewhat better with drivers. (granted i never had any issue with amd/ati either). However, my nvidia device dies on my more offen than AMD/ATI device, and soemtime i need to replace the entire unit (as was the case in my T61P). my latest purchase, 290x, has been the best purchase in graphic card i made in recent years. it was a asus 290x with default blower design. i heard ppl say how load and how hot this guy is, guess what? it runs cooler and quieter and much much more powerful than my 570. and i never had driver issues at all. nvidia fanboys can keep drinking their kool-aid and pay 700 dollar for 780ti, but i am very happy with my 350 dollar 290x in my htpc.
    Reply
  • gmoney7105 - Tuesday, June 03, 2014 - link

    Get your Graphic Cards at TigerDirect.com, they have a running promotion called Never Settle Forever for Free up to 3 free games. Visit "http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/campaigns/... and get you free games with a purchase for AMD Video Card. Reply
  • gmoney7105 - Tuesday, June 03, 2014 - link

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/campaigns/... Reply
  • VeauX - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    What about the best low profile / HTPC discrete / silent card? Reply
  • spartaman64 - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    um the titan z is like the worst graphics card Reply

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