Sunday, July 21, 2024

These are the best GPU board partners to buy

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The RTX 3060 installed in a gaming PC.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Buying one of the best graphics cards is a great way to ensure that your next graphics card upgrade is a good one. But it’s not always as simple as just picking between AMD and Nvidia within your price range. You also have the third-party board partners to choose from, which take Nvidia’s or AMD’s GPUs and repackage them with different specs and shroud designs.

Contents

  • Nvidia Founders Edition
  • PowerColor
  • EVGA
  • Asus
  • Gigabyte
  • MSI
  • SapphireShow 3 more items

If you’re looking to buy a new graphics card and want some help in choosing the right one for you, here are some of the best GPU manufacturers worth considering.

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Nvidia Founders Edition

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you want the most straightforward way to buy a new Nvidia graphics card, Nvidia’s “reference” models are a great place to start. You’ll often get them first, as Nvidia often likes to get ahead of its board partners with its own releases of next-generation designs (which they absolutely love, by the way), and you can rest assured that if there is stock of new graphics card, Nvidia is likely to have some.

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Nvidia cards are typically well built, have large, effective coolers with low noise levels, and there’s a good chance Nvidia keeps a lot of the best samples for itself, so you may get a really good example of the GPU. Nvidia warranties are robust and allow a free return within 30 days with no restocking fee.

Once you’ve bought an Nvidia GPU, make sure to tweak the settings to get the best performance.

PowerColor

PowerColor

If you want to buy an AMD graphics card, PowerColor is one of the best options available. Its range of Red Devil-branded GPUs typically offer some of the best performance among AMD third-party manufacturers, with strong cooling and higher clock speeds than AMD’s reference models.

Many of their graphics cards come with dual BIOS, so you can easily overclock or flash the BIOS without fear of bricking the card. It also offers cards with different color schemes, including white and pink, for gaming PCs that want to really stand out from the pack.

Even “Bad” PowerColor graphics cards can be great in the right hands.

EVGA

The Kingpin Edition 1080 Ti is one of the most iconic GPUs of its generation. EVGA

This is a legacy recommendation for older cards only, as EVGA no longer makes graphics cards for the latest generations. However, before its falling out with Nvidia, it was beloved as one of the best graphics card manufacturers.

EVGA cards were known for being rock-solid stable, and available in some seriously overclocked versions. The famous KINGPIN modified graphics cards from EVGA were some of the fastest of each generation and regularly won overclock and performance awards.

Asus

Asus / Asus

Asus might have hurt its reputation on motherboards with the Ryzen 7000 generation of boards, but its graphics cards remain some of the best that you can buy. Asus makes cards for both AMD and Nvidia, and offers a wide range of third-party cards, including entry level and very-high-end models, too. Indeed, with EVGA no longer producing its top-tier graphics cards, Asus’ STRIX ranges of cards are often some of the most overclocked and enhanced versions of the latest cards you can buy. They do come at a cost-premium, though.

While the cards themselves are good, Asus did tarnish its reputation with the AM5 BIOS debacle, which saw not only problems with its AMD chipsets motherboards but also raised concerns over its support system. It should work fine, but it means that Asus has gone from arguably the best, to merely being among them.

Gigabyte

Gigabyte is one of the longest-standing and most well-respected graphics card manufacturers, so you can rest assured that if you buy a Gigabyte GPU, you should get a great card with a solid return and warranty policy should something go wrong. Gigabyte isn’t really a standout brand in this space, with no major wins or scandals around its graphics cards. Just a solid brand that represents a good buy if you can find the card you want at a fair price.

Some of its top models are particularly good for overclocking, so if you’re looking for a graphics card for tweaking, consider some of Gigabyte’s best.

MSI

MSI

MSI produces a wide range of graphics cards for both AMD and Nvidia, with some more affordable models and some much-more-expensive options. Its top models are some of the best for aftermarket performance, with its liquid-cooled varieties in particular offering excellent stability and performance — at a very high price.

Check reviews and user experiences for lower-end models, though, as there have been some instances of coolers not being adequately seated and leading to overheating issues. That’s a rare problem, but it has happened more than once, so while MSI is typically great, some of its more cost-cut graphics cards aren’t always as worthy of praise.

Sapphire

Sapphire

Another one of the few companies that only manufactures AMD graphics cards, Sapphire is a longstanding name in this space and one you can feel confident will give you a great graphics card for your money. It’s consistently delivered excellent GPUs across multiple generations, with no major scandals or problems — that’s the kind of peace of mind few other GPU manufacturers can offer.

Sapphire cards are well known for having strong coolers with great thermals, so if you’re looking for a graphics card that runs cool and quiet — even the more low-end Pulse models — Sapphire is a brand well worth considering. Build quality is also regularly praised, but Sapphire does have a shorter manufacturer warranty period than other GPUs — pushing you onto to the retailer instead. That’s the only thing keeping Sapphire cards out of our top spots.

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