Best Video Cards – Mid Tier November 2011
Hey whats up everyone! I know I recently wrote an article regarding the best video cards in the top tier, but what about the middle? We’re not all able to justify a $500 video card so what options do we have?
AMD Radeon HD6950 and the Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 Ti
If you haven’t noticed the theme from my last post, I am a big fan of the XFX video cards. This is because all their video cards include a lifetime warranty and are extremely modder/overclocker friendly not to mention (from first hand experience) that their customer service department is extremely helpful.
In addition to the benefits of having an excellent hardware company behind the product, the XFX AMD Radeon HD6950 2 GB also includes a factory dual fan cooler which should keep the card cool and quiet. Depending on your luck, you may get a little overclocking done or for those looking for every last ounce of performance, you can flash the bios on the 6950 to unlock the locked shaders and turn it into a 6970!
Finally, for those of you looking to run a new eyefinity setup, make sure to purchase an AMD Radeon card. Unfortunately at this time, the only way to run 3 monitors while gaming using an Nvidia card is through SLI which requires the purchase of two video cards.
For the price, the 1GB edition of the XFX AMD Radeon HD 6950 is excellent value. If you don’t plan on running an eyefinity setup (using 3 or more monitors simultaneously to play games) or using a monitor larger than 27″ (1920×1200 resolution), take a good hard look at the 1GB edition of this card. It will give you nearly identical performance to the 2GB edition of this card for a much lower price.
The other pick for top mid tier video card is the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti DS Superclocked. Just like XFX, EVGA has an excellent customer service department and they similarly offer a lifetime warranty on their products.
Additionally, you can see that the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti DS Superclocked also includes a factory dual fan cooler which allows this card to run cooler and quieter. This card is also of the “superclocked” variety so the card comes from stock from the factory overclocked to 900mhz from 820mhz for that extra 10% performance over reference.
For those of you on the overclocking side of things, the ASUS ENGTX560 TI DCII is also an excellent choice. It comes overclocked to 900mhz from the stock 820mhz giving an 80mhz increase in speed which translates to an approximate 10% faster graphics performance.
This card also includes an excellent dual fan cooler as well as the option of voltage adjustments for further overclocking. The ASUS ENGTX560 TI DCII comes with a standard 3 year warranty.
So which one would I recommend?
I recommend the card that will fit your budget and will play the games you’re looking to play better. A good website for looking up such benchmarks would be here.
However, with that said, I do recommend the XFX AMD Radeon HD 6950 1 GB. The reason being is that it is an extremely good value. Currently cheaper than the three other alternatives. Additionally if you are comfortable working with the video card bios, unlocking the shaders, and overclocking, the videocard can easily gain a performance boost of 10% or more.
Both these video cards are highly power efficient and a Corsair TX650 would be an excellent budget conscious choice for a PSU. For those looking to purchase 2 of the above video cards for an SLI or Crossfire setup, you may purchase the Corsair AX850 Professional Series Gold Power Supply.
Please feel free to discuss additional alternatives or visit the forums to discuss any other questions you may have!
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!