Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
The best card for eSports
We weren’t expecting the GTX 1050 to be particularly good value, but at the time of review – and up against AMD’s excellent RX 460 – it just about did enough to stay ahead. With prices starting at £110, it’s £20 more expensive than the cheapest AMD Radeon RX 460s and £10 more than RX 560 cards. However, the benefits are that you get a much smaller board, lower power consumption and better performance. If your budget will stretch to the GTX 1050, it’s worth it for that.
The limitation is memory: in this day and age 2GB is probably too little, so be sure to check out the minimum requirements of new games carefully before you buy.
It’s interesting to note that you’ll find GTX 1050 in various mid-range gaming laptops such as the £900 Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming, where it gets 4GB of memory instead of 2GB. This should improve performance if you dare turn up the graphics settings in the latest AAA games.
AMD Radeon RX 570
Best AAA gaming card for £200
The RX 570 is a minor improvement to the RX 470 reviewed in 2016. It has slightly higher clock speeds and lower power consumption when not in use. It’s largely identical to its predecessor, however, so anyone running a 470 needn’t worry.
In terms of performance, expect to run the latest games in Full HD at High and Very High settings. 90+fps in the likes of Battlefield 1 at High settings in Full HD.
It’s now on a level with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in some benchmarks, and with 4GB and 8GB models available as well as loads of different cooler designs, it’s a great buy if you can grab one for under £190, you’ll be getting a decent deal. But if you can spend a little more, consider an RX 580 instead as the two are priced very closely.
Things have now got a little more complicated, because the rise in crypto-currency mining has resulted in huge demand for these mid-range GPUs. This has sent the price of 8GB models sky-rocketing to over £300 in some cases. It’s not clear when or if this trend will end, but for now it’s making life very hard for the average gamer on a budget.
AMD Radeon RX 580
A minor update to the RX 480, the 580 is the new graphics card of choice for those with a budget of between £190 and £220. It’ll play the latest games at maximum settings in Full HD, and you can drop to High if you fancy some 1440p action. It’s very similar to the RX 480, and is based on the same GPU. So don’t eliminate AMD’s 400-series GPUs from your shortlist.
There’s a variety of third-party GPU options available, with various levels of overclocking and lots of different cooler designs. It’s a bit of a power hog, however, and you’ll seldom find a compact version of the RX 580. It’s here, where the more efficient GTX 1060 rules the roost, with near-identical performance at a competitive price, Nvidia’s mid-range offering is better for that Mini-ITX build you’ve always wanted to do.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
Also consider: Full HD and 1440p for under £250
Nvidia’s third-tier GPU is very competitive, going toe-to-toe with the AMD Radeon RX 580. It has slightly less memory, with 6GB of GDDR5 on board instead of AMD’s 8GB, but the GPU itself is slightly more powerful. Prices have stabilised in recent months and the GTX 1060’s pricing is almost on a par with the 8GB RX 580. Considering it’s it’s a little faster in some games, the raw bang-for-buck figure is quite appealing, especially when picking the 6GB model.
Picking the cheaper 3GB model is a bit of a risk; our tests show performance is slightly lower than the 6GB version, and with AAA games becoming so demanding, it seems short-sighted to short-change yourself on memory, especially if you’re planning on playing at resolutions higher than Full HD.
The AMD Ryzen 8-core CPU pricing has just leaked out for Europe. The prices (including taxes) cover only three models of the entire Ryzen lineup, all featuring 8 cores and 16 threads.
According to a Spanish-based hardware site El Chapuzas Informatico, the flagship R7 1800X is priced at €599.99. The model is expected to operate at 4.0GHz base clock, with L2 + L3 cache of 20 MB (4 MB + 16 MB) and a TDP of 95W. Performance-wise, the chip should rival Intel’s $1000 Core i7-6900K.
The R7 1700X which is said to carry a price tag of €469.99. The chip will feature base clocks of 3.8GHz and should tackle the Intel Core i7-7700K and Core i7-6800K.
The non-X, R7 1700 priced at a “measly” €389.95. The chip has base clocks of 3.7GHz, with performance on par with Core i7-7700 (Non-K).
AMD vs Intel
The Ryzen R5 series will be a mix of 6 core and 4 core models with multi-threading. Multiple variants in this line feature clock speeds of 3.7GHz base and 4.0GHz boost. The R5 processors are expected to be priced around $250, which is arguably going to be the sweet-spot of the new Ryzen stack.
Last but not least, the Ryzen R3 series would simply be quad core models. These will be the only models in the entire Ryzen lineup that don’t feature support for SMT. The chips are basically designed to take on Intel Core i3 and Pentium series processors in the entry level segment.
All AMD Ryzen models will feature an unlocked multiplier for overclocking right out of the box. Each series would also include an “X” model which is tuned more to offer better overclocking potential.
As for the release date, AMD has already confirmed that its Ryzen processors will launch in early March “with widespread system availability from day one.”
AMD Ryzen processors for desktops are expected to be available beginning in Q1 2017 and AMD Ryzen notebook processors are planned to launch in 2H 2017. Drawing inspiration from the core’s name and AMD’s desire to push high-performance CPUs to a new horizon, AMD introduced Ryzen™, the brand which will span across “Zen”-based desktop and notebook processor families. Additionally, AMD introduced SenseMI, a set of sensing, adapting, and learning technologies built into the AMD Ryzen™ processor that combine with multiple other advances in architectural, platform, efficiency, and processing technology to address the demanding needs of gamers and enthusiast PC users.