With this article we’ll continue our tradition of Gaming Week reviews that we started with our Seven Games and One Week: Games vs. GPUs article. It is the Christmas season that is most rich for new game titles and new hardware products, yet life is going on and we’ve already got some new games and new graphics cards in this year. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade?
Before making your shopping choice, it’s good to learn beforehand how your new graphics card, game or computer at large is going to behave. It is usually all clear with hardware. Every new product is welcomed on the Web with innumerable reviews that describe its technical aspects and capabilities in minutest detail. It’s different with games. The developers specifies minimum and recommended system requirements for their products, but the former may mean just the configuration the game can barely launch on while the recommended requirements are often understated. You can often find your recommended configuration being unable to run the game at the highest visual quality settings.
For a vast majority of computer systems – if we are talking about modern computers – it is the graphics card that acts as a performance bottleneck, and low speed of a modern game on your computer usually indicates that your graphics card is calling for a replacement. Our Gaming Week reviews are intended to help you make sure if you can still do with your existing graphics card or should upgrade it.
As always, the consumer 3D graphics market offers a large variety of graphics cards that deliver different performance at different prices, from $50 to $600 and even to over $1000 if you take multi-GPU SLI or CrossFire subsystems into account. The latter make up but a small share of the market, though. It is difficult to purchase, install and configure such a subsystem and its compatibility with games may prove to be deficient. This is why we will not talk about such solutions in this review. It is all about single graphics cards of different classes.
We’ll test a total of 11 graphics card models in 7 popular games. Hopefully, this test session will provide you enough information to make up your mind as to what graphics card suits you best.