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Best Video Cards – High End November 2011
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Best Video Cards – High End November 2011

Sam ChenMarch 6, 2012

Hey whats up everyone! I know a whole lot of people are going to be building systems this holiday season so I’ve decided to put together a list of what I think are the best video cards of November 2011. I compare each video card by price to performance and include other extraneous factors such as aftermarket heatsinks and warranty as well.

Best of the Best

1. EVGA GTX 580

There’s no arguing that the GTX 590 and the Radeon 6990 are top dogs of the performance category and with dual GPUs on a single card, this is exactly what you’d expect; however, in my opinion purchasing cards like these are not the best option. Not only do very few games require that much video card power especially at resolutions of 1920×1200 or under, these videocards tend to create a lot of heat and eat up a lot of power.

For a single GPU option, the EVGA GTX 580 is a top pick in my book. At ~$500 USD, the card is currently the fastest single card on the market and would tear through almost any game you throw at it. In the warranty department EVGA offers a best in class lifetime warranty in case anything happens to your brand new $500 card.

For benchmarks between the GTX 580 and GTX 580 SLI(Scalable Link Interface – Allows you to install 2 or more GPUs to increase performance), please visit this link.

If you do plan to purchase the GTX 580, please be sure not to skimp on a high quality power supply. I recommend the Corsair AX750 for a single GTX 580 and if you do plan on doing SLI or Crossfire in the future, I go for a 1000w or higher PSU such as the OCZ ZX Series 1000w, OCZ ZX Series 1250w or Corsair AX1200.

The card is currently available for purchase through Amazon.

 

High End

2. EVGA Geforce GTX 570 Superclocked and XFX Radeon 6970 2GB

I consider the GTX 570 and the Radeon 6970 to be my high end cards. These are the cards I typically recommend people as they are the highest performing cards that do not carry a ridiculous $400+ price tags. While these are not as good of a value as the mid tier value cards, they are still extremely good value and should be considered when doing a new build.

In my recommendations list, I recommend 2 specific cards – the EVGA Geforce GTX 570 Superclocked and the XFX Radeon 6970 2GB.

On the Nvidia side, I recommend the EVGA Geforce GTX 570 Superclocked because it is a superclocked card which means it is overclocked from the factory. While this overclock is unlikely to yield more than a couple FPS (Frames per second), at a $20 price difference over the regular version, it is still an excellent deal. Additionally, EVGA does carry a very good lifetime warranty and have an excellent customer support staff in case the card gives you any problems.

On the AMD side, I recommend the XFX Radeon 6970 2GB because it is an excellent card at an excellent price. Just like EVGA, XFX offers a legendary lifetime warranty making it the best choice for your video card.

So how do you choose between these two cards? Please take a look at the benchmarks here. Consider what games you plan to play and look for the card that performs better. Unfortunately, video cards that compare in price also compare very similarly in performance therefore, I can’t recommend one card over the other based on price. If I did have to make a recommendation, I would pick the XFX Radeon 6970 2GB. Current generation Radeon cards do tend to run cooler and use less electricity than their Nvidia counterparts. They also offer the ability to run Eyefinity on a single card (Using 3+ monitors to play games)

Honorable Mention

MSI Radeon 6970 Lightning Edition

I put this in here as honorable mention because of its amazing Twin Frozr III cooler. This allows your card to run silently yet still perform well or if you do decide to do so, this card allows will allow you a pretty good overclock easily achieving 5% or more performance gain.

Take a look at the review here.

You can purchase the card now at Amazon.

By purchasing from the Amazon links above, you don’t pay anything extra, but you are supporting my blog and will allow me bring you more unboxings, reviews and other tips!

About The Author
Sam Chen
Hardware and Technology Enthusiast. SSD Evangelist. Editor-in-Chief. You can find Sam's full biography here