The heart and soul of any gaming system is the graphics card. Because many gamers like to upgrade their cards every 12-18 months we decided it would be a good idea to put together an active “best rated” list so you can easily check from time to time.
We’ll sort these cards by giving one NVIDIA and one Radeon choice in each price range. Our picks are based off of customer reviews, professional ratings, and popularity.
Best Graphics Cards for Gaming 2012
Video Cards Under $100
In the under $100 category we wanted to make sure that we included two graphics cards that had HDMI ports for easy connectivity with your HDTV. While these dedicated graphics cards won’t play the newest games available, they certainly make a great option for your HTPC or games that don’t require higher-end specifications.
nVidia Pick: GeForce Gt430
Radeon Pick: HD4670
Video Cards Under $200
nVidia Pick: GeForce GTX 550
Radeon Pick: Radeon HD 6850
Video Cards Under $300
The Under $300 is the category that is a favorite for gamers as it’s in this price range that most go looking for a single card that will be able to run all of their favorite games. We chose the GTX560 which recently decreased in price as well as the HD6950 which many have been able to update (at their own risk) to a HD6970 with a flash of the bios. See Techpowerup.com for additional details on upgrading your card.
nVidia Pick: GeForce GTX560
Radeon Pick: HD6950
Video Cards Under $400
nVidia Pick: GTX 570
Radeon Pick: HD6970
Video Cards above $400
Because of the limited availability of Radeon cards in this range we chose to feature two nVidia GeForce Cards the GTX 580 and GTX 590. Cards in this price range are ideal for max resolution game settings as well as design and editing application.
We want to know what you think! Whether you love or hate our picks – leave us a comment below. Also check out our other related PC building articles in the categories section above.