|MSI GeForce GTX 950 2GD5 OCV1 2GB||$125 after rebate|
|ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 4GB||$245|
|XFX R9 390 R9-390A-8DFR||$250|
Now, if you can wait for nVidia's entry-level Pascal GPUs or for AMD's RX 470 prices to fall a bit, we would recommend doing so. The rumored entry-level Pascal cards have yet to be announced and we don’t know their price or performance numbers, so if you've already got a functional system and don't need a new card today, it might be worth seeing how the 1050 & 470 play-out. These cards may bring down other card prices as they saturate the market, and we don’t yet know how powerful they will be.
On the AMD side of things, you can find an R9 390 at $250, which is $100 less than its MRSP of $350. If you already have an R9 390, adding a second one for CrossFire will bring GPU performance close to GTX 980 Ti performance. The downside, as always with multi-GPU, is that R9 390s in CF will be more power-hungry and picky about games when compared to a single card setup. We’d expect a system with two R9 390s to pull about ~600W at full load, depending on the CPU selection and other components. It should be noted that, depending on the games you play, you might see some effects of negative scaling. This is where the 390s in CF actually perform worse than what a single R9 390 could do by itself. Averaged, games that support CF well will give you about a 40-50% boost in graphics performance.
Another good option for those looking to increase their current GPU budget is the GTX 970 at $245, which is $70 less than the card’s MSRP of $315. If you already have a GTX 970, you could consider increasing GPU performance by getting one to put them in SLI together. The same dual-GPU rules apply for adding in a second 970 to your system, you’ll need make sure you know what games you will be playing and if SLI will positively impact your in-game performance. You may also see some games show negative scaling when using an SLI setup to game on.
If you are going to be spending $250 on just a single card setup, please read our RX 480 and GTX 1060 reviews. You’ll want to go with one of these cards in your build instead since they’ll perform better than the R9 390 and GTX 970 in most benchmarks. Both the RX 480 and GTX 1060 sport new architectures and are much more power efficient than the previous generation of GPUs.
When buying older hardware, it is best to buy right after a product refresh happens. The demand for the older products lessens and retailers lower prices to get rid of remaining stock. After a few months pass, retailers normally bring prices back up to normal levels. These cards will eventually have their prices inflate past a reasonable buying price. Retailers sometimes over-price older hardware over time, so they can capitalize on the market demand and overcharge $200 on a card that used to have a $150 MSRP. In any case, it’s always best to do your homework before buying a video card, CPU, or motherboard to see what the going market rate is for your component and to make sure you get the best price possible.
Pay close attention to the site as we continue to review board partner models of the new GPUs.
- Chris Zele.