Current Top 5 Graphics Cards

By on September 30, 2010

The best graphics cards of 2010.

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With all the new PC games coming in recently (StarCraft II and Civilization V being prime examples), we think it’s about time we revisit the Top 5 graphics cards in the market right now. Listed below are the cream of the crop, the best money can buy. However, some cards are also the best performance you can afford within your budget. Note that we are not providing specific cards from different manufacturers (e.g. MSI, ASUS, ECS, Zotac, Gigabyte, etc.) as each of these provide the below 5 cards in various configurations and at slightly different clock speeds, cooling solutions and prices from the standard Nvidia and ATI reference cards.

Our main criteria for this list was best performance on a single card, so let’s start things off with…

ATI HD 5970

A year on and the HD 5970 2G is still the best graphics card on market. This is one card that can be easily overclock well beyond factory settings, even outperforming a pair of HD 5870s in CrossFire. Sadly this is also the most expensive card on the list, with a MSRP of $599 but actual retail prices touching around the $700 mark.

Still, the HD 5970 is the best money can buy right now on a single 30cm PCB, and slapping two HD 5850s on a single board is no easy feat. At the end of the day, if you just want one (really huge) card sticking inside your chassis without the hassle of CrossFire, then this is your weapon of choice.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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  • Joe

    Author clearly has no idea about hardware

    In fact, a pair of GTX 460s in SLI perform much better than ATI’s HD 5870,

    Lemme guess you looked at one hardcop article that did everything to favor the GTX460's comparing them to 5870's with broken crossfire drivers and took that as fact.

    Sorry but you fail and this article fails.

    • phil

      shut up

    • th

      Relax. Read.

      I said a pair of GTX 460 in SLi outperforms an ATI HD 5870. At no point have I stated the GTX 460 in SLI is better than HD 5870 in CrossFire.

  • Clinton Weyand

    Only Nvidia 400 series can Physx APEX, not to mention better tessellation as shown in the Heaven Benchmarks for Radeon and Nvidia comparison.

    Putting the HD 5970 ahead of the GTX480, despite 5970's higher frame rates on OLDER games (i.e. Crysis), only means you're not looking at the whole picture. Especially since you don't even mention Physx APEX nor tessellation.

    I'm not going to say the author failed, but I believe he is bias.

    • th

      I agree about the APEX PhysX performance on Nvidia cards, but how many games are there on the market that properly use this? Mafia II and…?

      Also agreed about the tessellation on Nvidia trouncing ATI cards, but then again, how many games have proper tessellation implemented? Metro 2033 is a great example of this, but that game can bring any card down to it's knees, and one game alone doesn't justify a higher ranking if all the other "older" games show the HD 5970 ahead of the GTX 480.

      • Clinton Weyand

        True… for now.

  • Deek

    I would honestly love to know where the author obtained his data. In every benchmark and test I've seen, the ATI 5850 out performs the NVidia GTX 470.

  • @RubenCalle

    I see nobody writing anything about the aditional costs of installing these cards. Like a new PSU (Power Supply Unit), aditional RAM and maybe if not always a new CASE with extra vents.
    These Cards drop too much heat inside the CPU that you could damage any other part of your computer for this, Memories, Hard Drives or the Mainboard Itself.
    An appropiated PSU can cost U.S.$120 dollars. For the case that could be arounf $150. So when you come to buy that new Video Card. Think again. You WILL need MORE MONEY.

    Also The author never mentioned the GTX 465 wich in my opinion should be on top the GTX 460.

    • Clinton Weyand

      I'm going to go out on a limb here and ask, "You don't install your own graphics cards and RAM?"
      Well, you should… it's free when you do it by yourself. And it's super easy, even if you've never done it before.

      As for a new case with extra vents, one might only need to do that if they bought a prefab PC from the local store. However, a front, a side, and a back fan should be plenty for most large cases (it's the M-ATX cases that you have to worry about). And if you're still having overheating problems, just get a higher RPM fan. It might be noisier, but it's cheaper and it'll work just fine. (BTW, mine has a top, bottom, front, back, and a 10-inch side… BTW, I built my own computer, so I hand picked my case and I only paid $80 for it.)

      As for a Power Supply, 600W is the recommended minimum on listed for the GTX480. However, like RAM, more [Watts] never hurts.

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