OCC's Top 3 Video Cards of 2016ir_cow -
Category: Video Cards
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Top 3 Video Cards of 2016:
2016 is finally over, with a year of great surprises and a flurry of technological advancements for gaming, from VR to 165Hz monitors. Things are already starting to look great for 2017, with AMD VEGA video cards on the horizon and NVIDIA's rumored GTX 1080 Ti for Q2. Even though 2016 is over, it does not mean that all is forgotten. Therefore It it time to reflect on all the reviews and what really stood out, going above and beyond the competition. So without further ado, here are the Top 3 Video Cards of 2016.
#3 Video Card: AMD XFX RX 480 GTR
Starting off the countdown is the AMD RX 480. While this card cannot top what NVIDIA has provided, the RX 480 packs quite a punch and is considered the overall bang for the buck video card of the year. AMD's RX 480 uses the Polaris 10 GPU, which is based on a 14nm FinFET design packed with 5.7 billion transistors and 36 CU (Compute Units), giving a total of 2304 Stream Processors. Translation: this is one heck of card for 1080p gaming. Add in 8GB of GDDR5 memory and it can keep up with the big boys for most 1440p gaming scenarios.
Now let's do a 180° and talk about the XFX card that took this third spot. XFX has been in the video card market for over 10 years, providing quality products. Combine XFX with AMD and you get the XFX RX 480 GTR. AMD's answer to the mid range gamer is alive and well. The XFX GTR has a lot of nice features with a low price point, including Ghost 4.0 technology, which allows up to 40% more thermally efficient. Then you have the inclusion of Zero dB auto load sensing fans to keep this card as quiet as possible, all the while keeping thermals within check. Lastly, XFX has included its own Hard Swap technology. This allows for the user to swap out fans at anytime. XFX has even included a line of LED fans to chose from. Besides being easy to detach and clean, now you have the ability to replace fans long after the warranty period is over and continue gaming in style. If you are a budget oriented 1080p gamer, then this is the card you want hands down.
#2 Video Card: NVIDIA MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G
This year's runner up is the MSI GTX 1070. To be more precise, it is the Gaming X 8G Edition. On top of just a good year for NVIDIA, MSI has a long line of quality products and custom PCBs. Combine both those together and you get the Gaming X 8G Edition. The NVIDIA GTX 1070 is a beast in its own right, rocking a GP104 Pascal chip. Equipped with 1920 CUDA cores, the GTX 1070 will beat out last year's GTX Titan X (Maxwell) for a less than half the cost. On top of that, the specifications cover all the newest enhancements, like HEVC decode and encoding, and DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0b for smooth 4K gaming. MSI's X designation lets you know it is the factory overclocked model that receives a backplate and RGB lighting for the card. The X model also acts as significant boost to the core clock speeds and memory speeds over the Founders Edition, coming in at 1797MHz (Boost) and 8GB of GDDR5 memory running at 8108MHz. With the added feature of running a silent mode, MSI can easily achieve this using Twin Frozr VI cooling with Zero Frozr technology. The fans stop spinning for idle, multimedia, light gaming, or anything below 60 °C. Add in double ball bearings to give the TORX 2.0 fans extra beef and you have years of quiet gaming.
If you are looking at 1440p gaming or a VR setup, this is the card you want. While it can play games at 4K, you won't be maxing out all the games at this resolution. For that you need to look at the GTX 1070's companion, which is next on the list.
#1 Video Card: NVIDIA MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G
Coming in at number one for 2016 is the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G video card and right in front of its little brother, the GTX 1070. NVIDIA has had an amazing year of breaking records and keeping the reins for most powerful single video card. At the time of this article, AMD is trailing far behind above the mid-range market, as NVIDIA mops the floor with these ultra high end video cards. The GTX 1080 is also equipped with a Pascal GP104 GPU that is featured in the GTX 1070. However, the GTX 1080 edges out with 160 texture units over the 120 the GTX 1070 has. This brings the total CUDA cores count to 2560. Packed with 7.2 billion transistors, this card runs cooler and faster than the previous generation Maxwell cards. NVIDIA has pushed the boundaries once again to allow for smooth 4K gaming in a single GPU. Now take all of this and squeeze it into a MSI video card and you get the GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G Edition. Add in all the newest enhancements like HEVC decode and encoding, DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0b for smooth 4K gaming or VR, and you have a winner.
Don't let the naming convention fool you, as MSI's X designation lets you know it is the factory overclocked model that receives a backplate and RGB lighting for the card. The X model signals a significant boost to the core clock speeds and memory speeds over the Founders Edition. MSI has equipped this model with a 1847MHz Core (Boost) and 8GB of GDDR5X memory running at 10108MHz. With the added features like running a silent, gaming, and OC mode, MSI can easily achieve this using Twin Frozr VI cooling with Zero Frozr technology. The fans stop spinning for idle, multimedia, light gaming, and anything below 60 °C. MSI also adsd in double ball bearings to give the TORX 2.0 fans a long life. This GTX 1080 model comes as a full custom PCB with 10-phase power circuit for the maximum power stability. Considering this card is on par with last year's GTX 980 running in SLI, there is no reason not to buy this card if 4K gaming is in your near future.