The Best Video Cards for Gaming in 2014

The video card is the star component in your gaming computer. Today we’ll look at the best video cards for gaming at various different price points so that you can get a good idea of the GPU that you’ll use to power your legendary gaming computer.

EVGA GeForce GTX 780 TiThere is no component that has a bigger direct impact on your gaming experience than your video card will.

And, if you’re looking to build a gaming computer in 2014 and you want to really take your gaming experience to the next level, then you definitely need to make sure you get yourself a solid video card.

A video card basically acts like a second processor.

However, the video card is only responsible for processing graphics-related tasks.

Therefore, having a high-end video card not only helps your system by improving the quality of visual effects that it can display, but also by relieving your main processor of the responsibility of having to carry out graphics-related tasks. This will give your computer a significant increase in performance.

When building a new gaming computer, you want to put a good portion of your budget towards your video card. It’s generally recommended to put at least 20-30% of your total budget into your video card.

In this post, we will take a look at the best video cards for gaming in 2014 at various price ranges for different budget sizes. I’ve broken down the categories into four different video card tiers.

For each video card tier there’s a chart that breaks down the different options and then below a few of those cards are highlighted with an overview. There are definitely other worthy cards made by other manufacturers, but as I update this I try to find the card that’s going to offer the best price-to-performance. So, if a certain reputable manufacturer’s card is on sale when I update this list, then I’ll likely add their card.

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THE BEST VIDEO CARDS – TIER 1

The Tier 1 video card comprise of the video cards you want to get if you have a high budget. While they are very expensive, these video cards will allow you to max out most games on a 2560×1440 monitor.

And, with all of the power that they bring to the table, they will stay relevant for a long time coming.

So, if you’re looking for the best of the best, and you’re planning on using a 2560×1440 monitor for better visuals, then you need one of these cards.

Tier 1 Video Card Comparison Chart

Picture Video Card Core  VRAM PSU +12V Price
ASUS GeForce GTX 780Ti 954 MHz 3GB 600W 42A Hover
Gigabyte R9 290X 1040 MHz 4GB 600W 33A Hover
EVGA GeForce GTX780 SuperClocked 967 MHz 3GB 600W 42A Hover
Gigabyte R9 290 1040 MHz 4GB 550W 31A Hover

ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB ($625-$700)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

If you’re looking for an incredible deal on a 780 Ti right now, then the ASUS DirectCU II 780 Ti is your best bet.

Right now on Amazon, the ASUS 780 Ti is only $630 after a $20 MIR.

That is easily the best deal for a 780 Ti on the market.

With the GTX 780 Ti it’s all about playing the top games on higher resolution monitors.

The 780 Ti allows you to play most games on max settings on a 2560×1440 monitor and it will even serve as an entry to 4K gaming (though you’d need at least two to see good results on a 4K monitor.)

So, basically, if you have a huge budget, and you want to run games on higher resolutions, then get the GTX 780 Ti.

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ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti Specs

  • DirectX 11
  • NVIDA PhysX Technology
  • NVIDIA 3D Technlogy
  • NVIDIA CUDA Technology
  • NVIDIA GPU Boost
  • NVIDIA Surround (Play on up to four monitors)
  • Kepler Technology
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • 3GB 256-bit Dedicated Memory

Customer Reviews

From Justin Wilson on Amazon:

Just upgraded to this card from an AMD 7990 HD 6gb dual card… I didn’t really believe a single 780ti could put the hurt down on games like the 7990 could. I was way wrong, it not only performs on par frame for frame with the dual 3gb 7970′s in CF but it performs on average 20c cooler under load while putting up higher benchmarks than the 7990 could even manage.

From Jason G on Amazon:

Just replaced my GPU with this beast and couldn’t be happier!!! Handed down my ASUS Matrix AMD RADEON HD 7970ghz Platinum for this card and was shocked on the performance gain, lower audibles, lower heat and for the life of me no more damn artifacts!!!


THE BEST VIDEO CARDS – TIER 2

These Tier 2 video cards bring a lot of performance to the table. While they aren’t as powerful as the Tier 1 video cards listed above, they aren’t that far behind either.

These video cards will easily max out any game on a 1920×1080 monitor and will even give you high-end performance on 1 2560×1440 monitor in most games.

So, if you don’t have an unlimited budget, but you are looking to get a high-end video card, these cards will give you a ton of power.

Tier 2 Video Card Comparison Chart

Picture Video Card Core  VRAM PSU +12V Price
EVGA GeForce GTX 770 Superclocked 1111 MHz 2GB 600W 42A Hover
Sapphire R9 280X 1070 MHz 3GB 550W 30A Hover
EVGA GeForce GTX 760 980 MHz 2GB 500W 30A Hover
Sapphire Radeon R9 280 850 MHz 3GB 550W 30A Hover

EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC 2GB ($310-$330)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

The NVIDIA 700 series of video cards sports the refreshed version of the Kepler architecture and is noticeably faster than the previous series of cards.

And, if you’re looking for a high-end video card between in the low $300s the EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC is a great option for you.

With all of the graphics processing power you could ever need, the GTX 770 is the perfect point between high-performance and somewhat reasonable spending. And it’s a great card to build a brand new gaming computer around.

It’s a tough decision when deciding between the GTX 770 and the R9 280X, especially since the price of AMD’s cards have come back down to normal.

In any case, if you’re looking for top of the line, then the GTX 770 is definitely a solid option.

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EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • NVIDA PhysX Technology
  • NVIDIA 3D Technlogy
  • NVIDIA CUDA Technology
  • NVIDIA GPU Boost
  • NVIDIA Surround (Play on up to four monitors)
  • Kepler Technology
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • 3GB 256-bit Dedicated Memory

Customer Reviews

From jolanar on Amazon:

I won’t go into too much technical detail, but the Nvidia GTX 770 is essentially a repackaged GTX680. As a layman that may sound like a bad thing, but it’s actually a good thing, since you are paying over one hundred less dollars to buy the 770. Expect this to play just about every game at 60fps on 1080p resolution with max, or near max settings on video games.

From JD on Amazon:

I finally pulled the trigger in upgrading to this card and it is well worth it. If you are looking for a great card that can handle ultra/max settings on 1080p resolution then look no further. This blows my CrossFireX HD 6870 out of the water! Card runs extremely cool, ran FurMark Benchmark and the temp have not exceeded 75C on 1080p Preset. Card is also extremely quiet, some cards tend to sound like an airplane taking off when temperature rises and the fan kicking in. Great card, great price, I highly recommend.


Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 3GB ($270-300)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Now that AMD’s prices have come back to earth, the R9 280X is yet again a very attractive option in the $250 to $300 range.

The Sapphire Radeon R9 280X is currently the best deal, coming in at below $300. That’s nearly $30 less than the cheapest GTX 770 on Amazon–a card that the R9 280X trades blows with performance-wise.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a card in the ~$300 range, you definitely can’t go wrong with an R9 280X.

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Sapphire Radeon R9 280X Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • Dual-X Cooling
  • Incredible deal compared to similarly priced cards
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • 3GB 384-bit Dedicated Memory
  • Eyefinity compatible

Customer Reviews

From Jedijo on Amazon:

I have been gaming since 1999 and this is only my 2nd AMD card but this was an amazing surprise from a power stability point of view. I would recommend it for sure.
On a last note – this card is massive – way bigger than my GTX660.

From Levman05 on Amazon:

Great graphics and a great price for a card with the new GPU and 3 gig of DDR 5 ram. It’s a Asus and I have had great luck with there motherboards, sound cards, and video cards!


Sapphire R9 280 ($200-$230)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Now that the the coin mining craze has ceased to make AMD graphics cards ridiculously priced, AMD’s R9 series of cards present excellent value. And,  in my opinion, the R9 280 is the best price-to-performance video card currently on the market.

At ~$210 the Sapphire R9 280 is very affordable for the performance it delivers.

The R9 280 will not only be able to handle anything on a standard 1920×1080 monitor, but it will also allow you to max out most games on a 2560×1440 monitor.

So, if you’re looking to make the switch to a higher resolution monitor and you want an affordable, but powerful, video card, then an R9 280 is probably exactly what you’re looking for.

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Sapphire R9 280 Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • Dual-X Cooler
  • Will Max Out Any Game on 1920×1080 Resolution
  • Can Handle Many Games on 2560×1440 Resolution
  • CrossFireXCapable
  • 3 GB 384-bit Dedicated Memory

Customer Reviews

From Bron B on Newegg:

Runs every game I have on max settings, it runs super cool in my case, this is not a power hungry card, it was drawing under a volt from the PSU, Do not worry about running BF4 on ultra, this card can handle it.
The fans go SILENT when the card is not under load.

From William C on Newegg:

This is one of the best deals going as I got the card for $209 .. cooling is very good and it overclocks to the XFX DD 280 speeds very easy with Trixx as I set it to 10% board power and made gpu clock 1005mhz and memory clock is 1301mhz ..Heaven 4.0 got it up to 66c with these clocks speeds and i’m sure it will go higher!


THE BEST VIDEO CARDS – TIER 3

The Tier 3 video cards are the sweet spot for gamers playing on a 1920×1080 monitor. These cards are powerful enough to max out pretty much any game at 1920×1080 resolution and they’re much more reasonable in price.

They will struggle with more demanding games at higher resolutions, but overall they are excellent options if you are sticking with a 1080p monitor.

So, if you have a more moderate budget, these cards are the perfect options for you.

Tier 3 Video Card Comparison Chart

Picture Video Card Core  VRAM PSU +12V Price
MSI GeForce GTX 660 1033 MHz 2GB 450W 24A Hover
MSI Radeon R9 270X 1030 MHz 2GB 500W 24A Hover
ASUS R9 270 975 MHz 2GB 500W 24A Hover

MSI Radeon R9 270X ($170-$190)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

AMD’s R9 series of cards is back down to normal levels now after the coin mining craze has stopped impacting video card prices. Right now, the MSI Radeon R9 270X is sitting at $175 with a $15 MIR on Amazon.

In terms of performance, the R9 270X is a very capable card. On a 1920×1080 resolution there aren’t too many games that the 270X won’t be able to handle.

So, if you’re looking for a solid video card for under $250, then the Sapphire R9 270X might be your best bet. Though, if you can stretch your budget to the GTX 760, it would be worth it.

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MSI R9 270X Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • AMD Eyefinity Compatible
  • AMD PowerTune
  • AMD ZeroCore Power
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • CrossFireX Capable
  • 2GB 256-bit Dedicated Memory

Customer Reviews

From Charlie C. on Amazon:

This GPU is in my opinion the best for the price. It gives you nice high settings in almost all games for only $200. Msi also has their twin frozer fans which make it extremely quiet. Even if you are a Nvidia fan you have to admit this is the best performance for the price.

From Jake on Amazon:

It’s hard to beat this card at the 200 dollar pricepoint. I used this in a budget 500 dollar build and can play everything @ 1080 on high with hardly any frame drops. It does need to be put on medium/high settings for Battlefield 4 or Crysis 3 but handles everything else without any issues. Excellent cooling system as well, it has been used for ~3 hours at a time without any overheating issues.


THE BEST VIDEO CARDS – TIER 4

Tier 4 video cards aren’t ideal, but they still offer really good performance for the price. In fact, these video cards can max out a lot of games on a 1920×1080 monitor.

They may not allow you to turn on all the eye-candy settings in the more demanding games, but if you’re looking for a nice budget video card, these are definitely good options.

Ultimately, they’ll allow you to play all of the games you want to play on medium-to-high settings.

Tier 4 Video Card Comparison Chart

Picture Video Card Core  VRAM PSU +12V Price
Sapphire Radeon R7 265 900MHz 2GB 500W 21A Hover
EVGA GeForce GTX 750Ti SC 1176 MHz 2GB 400W 20A Hover
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC 1032 MHz 1GB 400W 20A Hover
MSI Radeon R7 260X OC 1175 MHz 2GB 450W 19A Hover
Gigabyte Radeon HD 7790 1075 MHz 1GB 500W 21A Hover

Sapphire Radeon R7 265 2GB ($150-$160)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

AMD has done a good job mitigating the inflated prices of their cards due to the crypto miners. They’ve come out with a couple of new additions (the R9 280 and the R7 265) to help provide more options for their gaming customers.

The R7 265 is a very solid video card option in the $150 range. In most benchmarks, the R7 265 outperforms NVIDIA’s GTX 750 ti. And, if you’re playing Mantle-friendly titles like Battlefield 4, the performance difference is even more clear.

So, ultimately, if you’re looking for a solid budget-friendly video card, the R7 265 is a very excellent option at around $150.

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Sapphire Radeon R7 265 2GB Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • AMD Eyefinity Compatible
  • AMD PowerTune
  • AMD ZeroCore Power
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • CrossFireX Capable
  • 2GB 256-bit Dedicated Memory

Customer Reviews

From David K. on Newegg:

I’m upgrading from a Sapphire HD4670 so this card is HUGE in comparison. Only game i really play is WOW at 1400×900 resolution getting 90-100 FPS at Ultra settings. I don’t mine so can’t help ya there. Paired up with my Phenom ii x4 965 at 3.8GHZ.

From Anonymous on Newegg:

Upgraded to this card from a Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition. I figured the performance increase would be minimal but boy was i wrong. I went from playing Titanfall on med some high settings to max across the board! This card wipes the floor with Nvidia’s new 750ti just check the online vs test.


EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti SC ($150-$160)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

The GTX 750 Ti is part of NVIDIA’s initial release of their new Maxwell architecture. Although initial benchmarks show that the 750 Ti doesn’t give a significant performance increase over the 650 Ti, the 750 Ti offers incredible power efficiency.

In the table above I posted EVGA’s recommended power requirements of a 400W PSU with at least 20A on the +12V rail. This number is actually a lot higher than is necessary. Considering that the 750 Ti doesn’t even require a PCIe connection from the PSU and will run solely off of the power from the PCI slot, you can pair this with a power supply that you normally wouldn’t consider for a gaming PC (thus saving you money).

This improved power consumption also makes the 750 Ti a great choice for gamers who want to upgrade their video card, but who wouldn’t otherwise be able to, due to their lower-end PSU.

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EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti SC Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • G-Sync Support
  • SC Edition for Better Performance
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • SLI Capable
  • 2GB GDDR5 Memory

Customer Reviews

From Ahsan on Amazon:

If you want to play modern titles on 1080p on a single monitor (games such as: Battlefield 4, Titanfall, COD: Ghosts, Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag, Skyrim, The Witcher 2, etc.) this is by far the best graphics card to buy at the moment.

From Michele M. Wolford on Amazon:

2x better than the GTX 645 that came in my Alienware x51 also runs cooler and quieter. Very happy, cant wait to see future driver updates


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti ($130-$150)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

The GTX 650 Ti is perhaps one of the best price-to-performance cards on the market. With a price consistently around ~$150 or lower, the GTX 650 Ti is capable of maxing out most games on a 1920×1080 monitor.

And, with AMD’s prices fluctuating like crazy due to BitCoin miners buying their cards like crazy, the 650 Ti is probably the best option in the price range.

In any case, if you’re looking for a solid budget card, the GTX 650 Ti will get the job done and then some.

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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti Benefits

  • DirectX 11
  • WINDFORCE Cooling
  • OC Edition for Better Performance
  • PCIe 3.0 Compatible
  • SLI Capable
  • 2GB GDDR5 Memory

Customer Reviews

From Amazon Review Dude on Amazon:

I purchased this because of the small form-factor to use in a mini-ITX build. It works fantastically for that purpose. I haven’t had any heat problems with it, even given the cramped quarters in the small case.

From Michele M. Wolford on Amazon:

This is a great video card, the graphics are excellent for gaming as well as videos. The prices are fantastic for what you get, and the shipping was lightning fast. Over all this is an great buy, well worth the money I paid.


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Comments

  1. Johnny says

    Can someone please leave a link to the HD 7970, I’m new into building PC’s and am interested in this card over the EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC 2GB. I’ve looked for it over google but I always find different results.

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