Whenever KitGuru runs a poll on which upgrade our readers spend the most time considering, the winner is invariably graphics.
To this date, apart from SSD, there’s almost nothing else you can do with your system to increase measurable performance than boosting your graphics grunt.
Given that a KitGuru reader might spend anywhere from £75 to £1,000, we’ve decided to appoint 2 winners per group.
One for ‘Makes your heart beat faster’ dream cards and the second for cards that will ‘make anyone’s life better’.
Definitely an area where you want to consider letting your heart rule your head, if you can afford it. While the GTX660 has been phenomenally successful, the turbo-charged 4GB version of the GTX670 from Asus really pumped our nads at the high end – beating many dual GPU solutions in the process. So the winner of our inaugural nVidia graphics product of the year award is the phenomenal Asus GTX670 Direct CU II.
In the mainstream, closer to £200, there are few cards that can stand against the Gigabyte GTX660 Ti Windforce. Once it established itself on the KitGuru performance charts, many a competitor tried to drag it down – but none succeeded.
You can stack all the Bumblebees you want in a pile (and augment them with All-Sparks etc), but surely you’ll never topple Sapphire’s very own Megatronic warrior: The 6GB 7970 Toxic. It’s an absolute monster and an engineering tour de force. In Crossfire it comfortably beats the Asus GTX690 and VTX 7990 cards in our last graphics group test of 2012. It’s not cheap, hard to find and it might make the lights in your home flicker, but it crushes the latest games like paper cups. Sure, you’ll need to sell your car, but who cares about driving anyway, right?
For the mass market, the Tahiti LE version of AMD’s 7870 arrived in December. It brought with it 7950 levels of performance – but was priced down closer to £180. That’s hard to ignore. For pioneering this kind of affordable power, the winner is the VTX3D HD7870 Black.