Recently, my good friend’s trusty old GTX 780 GPU stopped working.
After several hours of enthusiastic Googling and troubleshooting, we came to the conclusion that the card was most likely dead. While it’s never fun to lose a piece of hardware to the ravages of time, it had provided nearly six years of reliable service. It was time to retire.
This friend is a passionate gamer, as well as a gaming journalist, and having a powerful PC is absolutely critical. The decision to invest in a new GPU is an important one, so we went back and forth over what to buy.
Nvidia or AMD
First we had to decide between Nvidia and AMD. Both brands offer a huge selection of GPU options at different prices, but for this particular project, we stuck with Nvidia. Here’s why-
- We wanted a high-end card, which eliminated the RX 500 line.
- We also eliminated the Vega 56 and 64 models, as they’re slightly less powerful than what we were looking for. Though they’re both solid mid-to-high level gaming options, we were looking to focus on the latest and greatest.
- The Vega VII, which can go punch for punch against the RTX 2080 at a very competitive price point wasn’t available at the time, and my friend needed his computer up and running as quickly as possible.
- The RTX line offers ray-tracing cores and DLSS tech, both of which my friend wanted.
Once we decided on Nvidia, there were still a lot of options, but we eventually settled on the RTX 2080.
Important GPU Choices
These were some of the options we considered before making that decision-
GTX 1660 Ti – This is a terrific card for $280. It’s only slightly less powerful than the excellent GTX 1070, while costing $50 less. We eliminated this one because while it would have been an upgrade over the venerable 780, it wasn’t enough of a leap for him. He wanted a card that would last him another five to six years, and a card that’s “only” as powerful as the 1070 doesn’t quite fit that bill longevity wise, despite its value.
GTX 1080 – This would’ve kept my friend in the xx80 part of the enthusiast range, but they’re surprisingly hard to come by, and when they are available, they’re less powerful and cost roughly the same as the RTX 2080. While the GTX 1080 is a great card, it’s was fairly easy decision to take this one out of the running.
RTX 2080 Ti – This is an utter beast of a card with a price to match, but given that my friend didn’t own a 4K or 1440p monitor, the large price premium over the RTX 2080 didn’t make much sense. However, for anyone who owns a 4K monitor, this can absolutely be a worthy investment. I own a 4K monitor, and my 1080 Ti can’t always hit 60 FPS with all settings at epic levels. The 2080 Ti, however, provides a significant advantage over the 1080 Ti in 4K.
In the end, we went with the RTX 2080 because it hit a few sweet spots:
- It lined up with my friend’s budget.
- It hit the price to performance point he was looking for.
- It’s powerful enough that he will be able to run games at decently high settings for several years.
- It pulled less power than the GTX 780, so we didn’t have to upgrade the PSU.
We specifically went for the MSI “Duke” 8G OC card because:
- The price was nice.
- It comes with Metro Exodus, Battlefield V, and Anthem. Who doesn’t love free games?
- We didn’t mind that the RGB implementation was fairly modest, though the multi-colored DUKE logo looked pretty cool when we powered it up the first time.
- My friend and I have purchased MSI products before and have been pleased with the performance.
- The triple fan will cool the card effectively, which should help performance and potentially longevity.
Keep in mind, that if you’re upgrading from an older card, you may need new cables. My friend was using DVI cables, and had to replace them with DisplayPort to DVI adapter cables because his monitors and old plasma TV had limited connection options.
My friend is pretty excited to get back to gaming, and see what a difference a modern GPU can make. Not only will everything run smoother, with higher frame rates, and more detailed graphics settings, he’ll also be able to take advantage of future tech like Ray Tracing. It’s pretty incredible how a new GPU can bring life to an older PC.
Shop for a new GPU here, and start upgrading your gaming experience.