Which Graphics Card Should I choose to Play in 1080p: Minimum level, Recommended and Optimal

Which Graphics Card Should I choose to Play in 1080p:
Minimum level, Recommended and Optimal

You have it clear, you want to update your PC to be able to play in 1080p without problems, but you have doubts about which graphics card you should choose. Do not worry, it is perfectly normal, both NVIDIA and AMD have a large number of lower-middle-range, mid-range, and upper-mid-range models that offer very different experiences when playing in 1080p.

Having a lot to choose from has a good side, and that is that we can find much more varied solutions and better adapted to our particular needs, but at the same time it has a negative side, and it is that it will be more difficult to make a fully successful decision, especially if We have a high budget and we can choose between different levels.

We are aware of how difficult the graphics card market has become to play in 1080p, and for this reason, we have encouraged ourselves to make this article where we will review which models are the best, differentiating in three levels:

  • Minimum: we can play in 1080p with high qualities and maintain a good FPS rate in almost all cases.
  • Recommended: at this level we will be able to play very high qualities in 1080p enjoying 60 fully stable FPS.
  • Optimal: we will have the possibility to play in 1080p with maximum qualities and total fluidity.
When choosing each graphics card, we have given priority to value for money, that is, we have not limited ourselves to choosing the most powerful solutions, but rather those that offer a better cost-performance ratio.

Playing in 1080p with guarantees: preliminary considerations

Before going to see the choices we have made in each of those levels I want to remind you of something very important, and that is that in order to enjoy a good experience playing in 1080p we must meet other important requirements at the processor and RAM level.

When we talk about 1080p we are referring to a count of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, a resolution that offers a good value thanks to its balance between image quality and demands at the hardware level. To give you an idea, Xbox 360 and PS3 used, in most cases, 720p resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels). For its part, PS4 renders most of its games in 1080p and Xbox One does the same in 900p (1,600 x 900 pixels).

Today we have three dominant resolutions when playing on PC: 1080p, 1440p and 2160p (also known as 4K). The first, which is the focus of this article, has a greater dependence on the processor than the others, which means that two systems with the same graphics card and a different processor can present very marked differences. Those differences will narrow at 1440p and will be virtually nil at 2160p.

Well, having clarified this we can go to see what two requirements we must meet, at the processor and RAM level, to be able to play in 1080p with all the guarantees:

  • Have a quad-core eight-core processor such as Ryzen 5 1500X or a Core i7 4770.
  • Have at least 8 GB of RAM, although some games occupy 10 GB or 12 GB if we have more memory available.
If we do not reach that minimum, the gaming experience will not be really good even if we fully comply with the requirements at the graphics card level, keep this in mind before updating your graphics card like crazy, as you may be disappointed.

What graphics card do I need to play in 1080p: minimum level

If you have a very limited budget but want to play with guarantees in 1080p and enjoy textures in maximum quality without problems, you are not dreaming of something impossible, the Radeon RX 570 of 8 GB is what you need.

This XFX model is currently reduced to 130 USD and also comes with three months of Xbox Game Pass. It is capable of moving almost any current game in 1080p with high qualities keeping 60 FPS stable, saving the classic exceptions of poorly optimized games such as Control or Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, where the usual is 30-40 FPS.

We must also bear in mind that its 8 GB of graphic memory make an important difference in some games that require having more than 4 GB to activate certain settings, or to raise the quality of the textures to «ultra».

RX 570 8GB Specifications
  • Polaris 20 architecture.

  • 2,048 shaders.
  • 128 texture units.
  • 32 raster units.
  • 256-bit bus.
  • 1,328 MHz GPU.
  • 8 GB of effective 7 GHz GDDR5.
  • Requires a 6-pin connector. You will need a 25A, 450-watt power supply.

What graphics card do I need to play in 1080p: recommended level

In recent months, the demands of triple-A games have risen considerably. In some cases, the blame falls squarely on the developers, who have not done a good job of optimizing their titles, while in other cases we find ourselves implementing very demanding tweaks that are not used in the console versions, and that they improve the graphic quality at the cost of taking a good bite out of the FPS rate.

If we want to be able to play in 1080p with very high qualities without having to give up good fluidity even in the most demanding (or worst optimized) games of the moment, we must opt ​​for a GTX 1660 Super, a graphics card that offers a good price-performance value, since it performs almost at the same level as a GTX 1070.

This graphics card is capable of moving even titles as poorly optimized as Control and Red Dead Redemption 2 with a mix of high-to-high qualities while maintaining a good level of fluidity. It is, on average, 35% more powerful in 1080p than the RX 570.

GTX 1660 Super Specifications

  • TU116 graphic core at 12 nm.
  • 1,408 shaders at 1,530 MHz-1,785 MHz.
  • 88 units of texturing.
  • 48 raster units.
  • 192-bit bus.
  • 6 GB of effective 14 GHz GDDR6 memory.
  • 125 Watt TDP, requires an additional 8-pin power connector and a 450 watt, 24A supply.

What graphics card do I need to play in 1080p: optimal level

If you want to make sure that you can configure any game in ultra quality and play in 1080p with absolute fluidity, we have bad news, not even a GTX 1660 Super can achieve that goal in each and every one of the current games, and the reality is that this It will only get worse in the coming months due to the proximity of the new generation consoles.

To ensure a fully optimal experience in 1080p resolution with maximum qualities and total fluidity in the long term we must go up one step and look in the upper-middle-range, a level where we find two great alternatives, the Radeon RX 5700 and the RTX 2060 The former offers higher gross performance and has more graphics memory, but the latter supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing and DLSS.

The price of both is very similar since they are around 349-399 USD, so we have a complicated decision since the ray tracing is still in an early and poorly optimized state and DLSS technology has only just begun to show its true potential. Both are, in their own way, a good option, although I would personally lean towards the Radeon RX 5700 for a very simple reason: it offers superior performance today (it performs 28% more than the GTX 1660 Super ), that is, It is not a purchase supported by technologies to be exploited.

Specifications of the Radeon RX 5700

  • Navi 10 graphic core (RDNA architecture).
  • 2,304 shaders.
  • GPU at 1,465 MHz base frequency, 1,625 MHz game mode, and 1,725 ​​MHz in turbo mode.
  • 144 texturing units.
  • 64 raster units.
  • 256-bit bus.
  • 8 GB of GDDR6 at 14 GHz.
  • 180 Watt TDP. Requires two power connectors, one 6-pin, and one 8-pin. You will need a 550 watt 32A source.

Endnotes: each game is a world

Before finishing I think that it is necessary to make an important reflection, and that is that, as we have indicated, each game is a world, and the performance that the graphics cards that we have indicated can offer can vary significantly depending on the particularities of each title in concrete.

For example, the Radeon RX 570 8GB is a graphics card that does its best in 1080p and high qualities, but in many games that work with DirectX 12 or Vulkan and that have a good optimization, it can offer a perfect experience with qualities highs, while others like Control or Red Dead Redemption 2 may have trouble overcoming 40 FPS with high qualities.

The GTX 1660 Super and the Radeon RX 5700 do not get rid of that reality either, and that is that in the end, the optimization of each specific game ends up making a huge difference, so much so that it can make a graphics card theoretically inferior to another end up beating it.

Finally I want to remind you that right now there is no point in buying a higher graphics card than the Radeon RX 5700-RTX 2060 if we are going to play in 1080p, unless we have a monitor of 120 Hz or more and we want to make the most of it.

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