Graphics Card Buyers Guide

For most users that aren’t playing games the onboard or default integrated graphics support is more than adequate for watching movies or general home/office use – they will even support multiple monitors. If you want something a little more advanced then the GT1030 is a power-sipping alternative with a good balance of price/performance for general use.

When it comes to gaming (or engineering or other advanced rendering tasks), the graphics card is what really drives the computer more than any other component. We sell a range of carefully selected new and used graphics cards. There are so many different makes, models and options that it’s often very difficult to compare. What most people often overlook is that while some of the old graphics card can be quite fast they can also be very power hungry – for example the GTX480 uses 250W of power and performs around 35% slower than the GTX1050 which consumes only 75W of power. In addition to the potential power bill (and heat generated in your room) the hotter cards can be more failure prone and need beefy power supplies or are simply unsupported in most standard off-the-shelf computers.

We did a comprehensive round-up of all the current most popular graphics cards in the market that have 2GB+ of ram, and offer good value for money and relative performance.  

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A more detailed view of the above graph with additional graphics cards for comparison is available here

At the entry level we recommend the GT1030 as a power sipping 30W graphics card that performs almost 3x as fast as a modern integrated onboard graphics card. The older and refurbished GTX650TI (110W), GTX750 (50W) and GTX750TI (60W) offer marginally better performance for around the same cost although use a little more power.

At the mid-tier we find probably the most popular mainstream graphics card the GTX1650. It’s popular because at 75W it works in most computers without ancillary power requirements and offers more than double the performance of the GT1030 representing good value for money. The GTX1650 is the replacement for the ever popular GTX1050TI which still commands a high price in the used market.  The RX570 (120W) is up to 50% faster than the GTX1050TI but at lower cost (new) than many used GTX1050TI are currently selling for.

Based on the current market pricing and demand for used cards we recommend moving exclusively to “NEW” graphics card options where the current RX570 and range of 1650 and 1660 (and Super variants of each) represent significant performance increases, great value for money and relatively low power consumption. For graphics card options above the GTX2060Super we recommend pairing with a new system to avoid the CPU becoming the system bottleneck.

Our recommendations:

  • Basic home/office use: Onboard graphics or GT1030
  • Entry level gaming: RX560, RX570 or GTX1650
  • Cost effective performance: RX570, GTX1650 Super
  • Performance gaming: GTX1660 Super or above

Note: if you’re using a small form factor (SFF) desktop case, only the GT1030, GTX1050TI and GTX1650 (non-super version) are available in low profile options.

Data Source: gpu.userbenchmark.com.  Userbenchmark.com compares the results of tens of thousands of individual end-user benchmarks to provide averaged performance results across a range of CPU, GPU and SSD options.  We selected the most common graphics cards from each major vendor to include on this summary graph using the userbenchmark average performance percentage and providing a relative comparison to the GTX1650 baseline (100%).