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NOTH­ING TOUCHES graph­ics cards when it comes to choice. Even when you hone in on a par­tic­u­lar GPU, you’ll find there are mul­ti­ple cards avail­able, of­ten from the same com­pany. The graph­ics card mar­ket is now so gran­u­lar that a few ex­tra dol­lars here and there can net you a slightly higher over­clock, a qui­eter cooler, or added bling in the form of pul­sat­ing LEDs. Whether you have $100 or $1,000, there’s a graph­ics card out there for you.

Amaz­ingly, if you’re on a tight bud­get, there aren’t too many GPUs worth con­sid­er­ing: At the bud­get we’ve set aside for the graph­ics sub­sys­tem, this essen­tially comes down to a toss- up be­tween the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and the AMD Radeon RX 560. This is a fairly straight­for­ward win for Nvidia, be­cause the 1050 Ti is a much stronger per­former, and 4GB mod­els are more read­ily avail­able than their RX 560 sib­lings. AMD’s Radeons seem to be suf­fer­ing from re­newed in­ter­est in cryp­tocur­rency min­ing as well, mak­ing for lim­ited stock pretty much ev­ery­where.

The EVGA card we grabbed boasts a slight over­clock over Nvidia’s base spec­i­fi­ca­tion—with a base clock of 1,354MHz against Nvidia’s base spec­i­fi­ca­tion of 1,290MHz. These days, the base clock is ac­tu­ally less im­por­tant than the boost, be­cause GPU Boost 2.0 au­to­mat­i­cally over­clocks the card, de­pen­dent on tem­per­a­ture—but, again, this over­clock ex­tends there as well, with a boost clock of 1,468MHz against the sug­gested 1,392MHz. The sin­gle fan cooler does a great job of keep­ing those 768 CUDA cores chilled with­out mak­ing a lot of noise, as well.

The other ben­e­fits of this Pas­cal card are its short form fac­tor and the fact that it doesn’t need any ad­di­tional power con­nec­tors, draw­ing all the juice it needs from the PCIe slot. Nvidia rec­om­mends you have at least a 300W PSU for any sys­tem us­ing this card, which means we have power to spare in our rig.

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