Best Graphics Cards For The Money: June 2014

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Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan Z, the company’s new flagship, is finally available. We consider this juggernaut’s value proposition (or lack thereof), and also serve up analysis on a surprising number of price reductions across AMD’s Radeon line-up.

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great, assuming you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, a gamer needs to know what the best graphics card is for their money. So, if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right card, then fear not. We’ve compiled a simple list of the best gaming cards offered in any given price range.

June Updates:

The big news this month is the release and commercial availability of Nvidia’s dual-GPU flagship, the GeForce GTX Titan Z. We’ll start with the good stuff: this board boasts two fully-functional GK110 GPUs with a total 5760 CUDA cores, 480 texture units, 96 ROPs, and 12 GB of RAM between the pair of processors. The bad news is that this triple-slot (technically, two and a half slot) monster employs a 705 MHz base and 876 typical GPU Boost frequency, which lands well behind Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan Black. Two of those, then, are going to be faster, occupying four total expansion slots. Worse, while the Titan Blacks sell for $1100, you’d pay $3000 for Titan Z (or twice as much as AMD’s competing Radeon R9 295X2).

Nvidia cools the Titan Z with a large heat sink and fans; we have no real indication of the card’s thermals or acoustics, though, because the company chose not to send any of them out. In comparison, we’ve had our hands on a few Radeon R9 295X2s. And although AMD chose to implement a closed-loop liquid cooling-based solution with its own installation prerequisites, its engineers did a solid job ensuring that two Hawaii GPUs remain cool, quietly. Better still, one Radeon R9 295X2 is roughly as fast as two R9 290Xes; no performance sacrifice is made putting a pair of processors on one PCB.

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