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Graphics Card Performance Hierarchy Chart

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: October 2013
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This month we cover AMD's new Radeon R7 260X, R9 270X, and R9 280X cards in addition to the upcoming Radeon R9 290 and 290X. We also report on more significant price drops in the marketplace.

What about this other card that’s not on the list? How do I know if it’s a good deal or not?

This will happen. In fact, because inventory levels and prices change quickly, it’s guaranteed to happen. So how do you know if that card you’ve got your eye on is a good buy in its price range?

Here is a resource to help you judge if a card is a good buy or not. The graphics card hierarchy chart groups graphics cards with similar overall performance levels into tiers. The top tier contains the highest-performing cards available, and performance decreases as you go down the tiers from there.

You can use this hierarchy to compare the pricing between two cards, to see which one is a better deal, and also to determine if an upgrade is worthwhile. I don’t recommend upgrading your graphics card unless the replacement card is at least three tiers higher. Otherwise, the upgrade is somewhat parallel, and you may not even notice any worthwhile difference in performance.

At the request of readers, we've added mobile graphics and integrated chipsets to the hierarchy chart. We want to make it clear that there is very little performance data available for these graphics solutions. While the discrete video cards in the chart are placed in tiers based on a lot of information, many of the mobile and integrated devices in the chart are guesstimates based on their specifications. At worst, we doubt they’re more than one tier away from their actual performance, but this is something to keep in mind when considering mobile graphics chipsets.

Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart
GeForceRadeonIntel
Discrete: GTX 690
Radeon HD 7990

Discrete: Titan


Discrete: GTX 590, 780
Discrete: HD 6990, 7970 GHz Ed, R9 280X

Discrete: GTX 680, 770
Discrete: HD 7970
Discrete: GTX 670, 760
Discrete: HD 5970, 7870 LE (XT), 7950

Discrete: GTX 580, 660, 660 Ti
Discrete: HD 7870, R9 270X

Discrete: GTX 295, 480, 570, 650 Ti Boost
Go (mobile): 680M
Discrete: HD 4870 X2, 6970, 7850
Mobility: 7970M

Discrete: GTX 470, 560 Ti, 560 Ti 448 Core Discrete: HD 4850 X2, 5870, 6950
Mobility: 7950M

Discrete: GTX 560, 650 Ti
Go (mobile): 580M, 675M
Discrete: HD 5850, 6870, 7790, R9 260X
Mobility: 6990M

Discrete: 9800 GX2, 285, 460 256-bit, 465
Discrete: HD 6850, 7770
Mobility: 6900M

Discrete: GTX 260, 275, 280, 460 192-bit, 460 SE, 550 Ti, 560 SE, 650
Go (mobile): 570M, 670M
Discrete: HD 4870, 5770, 4890, 5830, 6770, 6790, 7750 (GDDR5)
Mobility: HD 5870, 6800M

Discrete: 8800 Ultra, 9800 GTX, 9800 GTX+, GTS 250, GTS 450
Go (mobile): 560M, 660M
Discrete: HD 3870 X2, 4850, 5750, 6750, 7750 (DDR3)
Mobility: HD 4850, 5850, 7870M

Discrete: 8800 GTX, 8800 GTS 512 MB, GT 545 (GDDR5)
Go (mobile): GTX 280M, 285M, 555M (GDDR5)
Discrete: HD 4770
Mobility: HD 4860, 7770M, 7850M

Discrete: 8800 GT 512 MB, 9800 GT, GT 545 (DDR3), GT 640 (DDR3)
Go (mobile): 9800M GTX, GTX 260M (112), GTS 360M (GDDR5), 555M (DDR3)
Discrete: HD 4830, HD 5670, HD 6670 (GDDR5), HD 7730 (GDDR5)
Mobility: HD 5770, HD 5750, 6600M/6700M (GDDR5), 7750M

Discrete: 8800 GTS 640 MB, 9600 GT, GT 240 (GDDR5)
Go (mobile): 9800M GTS, GTX 160M
Discrete: HD 2900 XT, HD 3870, HD 5570 (GDDR5), HD 6570 (GDDR5)
Mobility: 6500M (GDDR5), 6600M/6700M (DDR3), 7730M

Discrete: 8800 GS, 9600 GSO, GT 240 (DDR3)
Go (mobile): GTX 260M (96), GTS 150M, GTS 360M (DDR3)
Discrete: HD 3850 512 MB, HD 4670, HD 5570 (DDR3), HD 6570 (DDR3), HD 6670 (DDR3), HD 7730 (DDR3)
Mobility: HD 3870, HD 5730, HD 5650, 6500M (DDR3)

Discrete: 8800 GT 256 MB, 8800 GTS 320 MB, GT 440 GDDR5, GT 630 GDDR5
Go (mobile): 8800M
Discrete: HD 2900 PRO, HD 3850 256 MB, 5550 (GDDR5)
Mobility: HD 3850

Discrete: 7950 GX2, GT 440 DDR3, GT 630 DDR3
Discrete: X1950 XTX, HD 4650 (DDR3), 5550 (DDR3)
Integrated: HD 7660D

Discrete: 7800 GTX 512, 7900 GTO, 7900 GTX, GT 430, GT 530
Go (mobile): 550M
Discrete: X1900 XT, X1950 XT, X1900 XTX

Discrete: 7800 GTX, 7900 GT, 7950 G, GT 220 (DDR3)
Go (mobile): 525M, 540M
Discrete: X1800 XT, X1900 AIW, X1900 GT, X1950 Pro, HD 2900 GT, HD 5550 (DDR2)
Integrated: HD 7560D

Discrete: 7800 GT, 7900 GS, 8600 GTS, 9500 GT (GDDR3), GT 220 (DDR2)
Go (mobile): 7950 GTX
Discrete: X1800 XL, X1950 GT, HD 4650 (DDR2), HD 6450
Mobility: X1800 XT, HD 4650, HD 5165, 6400M
Integrated: HD 6620G, 6550D, 7540D

Discrete: 6800 Ultra, 7600 GT, 7800 GS, 8600 GS, 8600 GT (GDDR3), 9500 GT (DDR2)
Go (mobile): 7800 GTX, 7900 GTX
Discrete: X800 XT (& PE), X850 XT (& PE), X1650 XT, X1800 GTO, HD 2600 XT, HD 3650 (DDR3), HD 3670
Mobility: X1900, 3670
Integrated: 6520G, 6530D, 7480D
Integrated: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Discrete: 6800 GT, 6800 GS (PCIe), 8600 GT (DDR2), GT 520
Go (mobile): 7800, Go 7900 GS, 520M, 520MX
Discrete: X800 XL, X800 GTO2/GTO16, HD 2600 Pro, HD 3650 (DDR2),
Mobility: X800 XT, HD 2600 XT, 3650
Integrated: 6410D, 6480G

Discrete: 6800 GS (AGP)
Go (mobile): 6800 Ultra, 7600 GT, 8600M GT, 8700M GT, 410M
Discrete: X800 GTO 256 MB, X800 PRO, X850 Pro, X1650 GT
Mobility: HD 2600
Integrated: 6370D, 6380G

Discrete: 6800, 7300 GT GDDR3, 7600 GS, 8600M GS
Go (mobile): 6800, 7700
Discrete: X800, X800 GTO 128 MB, X1600 XT, X1650 Pro
Mobility: X1800, HD 5145, HD 5470 (GDDR5)

Discrete: 6600 GT, 6800LE, 6800 XT, 7300 GT (DDR2), 8500 GT, 9400 GT
Go (mobile): 7600 (128-bit)
Discrete: 9800 XT, X700 PRO, X800 GT, X800 SE, X1300 XT, X1600 PRO, HD 2400 XT, HD 4350, HD 4550, HD 5450
Mobility: X800, 3470, HD 5470 (DDR3), HD 5450, HD 5430, 6300M
Integrated: HD 6310, HD 6320
Integrated: Intel HD Graphics 3000
Discrete: FX 5900, FX 5900 Ultra, FX 5950 Ultra, 6600 (128-bit)
Go (mobile): 6800 (128-bit)
Integrated: 9300, 9400
Discrete: 9700, 9700 Pro, 9800, 9800 Pro, X700, X1300 Pro, X1550, HD 2400 Pro
Mobility: X1450, X1600, X1700, 2400 XT, X2500, 3450
Integrated: HD 3200, HD 3300, HD 4200, HD 4250, HD 4290, HD 6250, HD 6290 

Discrete: FX 5800 Ultra, FX 5900 XT
Go (mobile): 6600, Go 7600 (64-bit)
Discrete: 9500 Pro, 9600 XT, 9800 Pro (128-bit), X600 XT, X1050 (128-bit)
Mobility: 9800, X700, X1350, X1400, X2300, HD 2400
Integrated: Intel HD Graphics (Core i5-6x1), 2000
Discrete: 4 Ti 4600, 4 Ti 4800, FX 5700 Ultra, 6200, 8300, 8400 G, G 210, G 310
Go (mobile): 315M
Discrete: 9600 PRO, 9800 LE, X600 PRO, HD 2300
Mobility: 9700 (128-bit), X600, X1300
Integrated: Xpress 1250
Integrated: Intel HD Graphics (Core i3 5x0, Core i5-6x0)
Discrete: 4 Ti4200, 4 Ti4400, 4 Ti4800 SE, FX 5600 Ultra, FX 5700, 6600 (64-bit), 7300 GS, 8400M GS, 9300M G, 9300M GS Discrete: 9500, 9550, 9600, X300, X1050 (64-bit)
Mobility: 9600
Integrated: Intel HD Graphics (Pentium G)
Discrete: 3 Ti500, FX 5200 Ultra, FX 5600, FX 5700 LE, 6200 TC, 6600 LE, 7200 GS, 7300 LE
Go (mobile): 5700, 8200M, 9200M GS, 9100
Integrated: 8200, 8300
Discrete: 8500, 9100, 9000 PRO, 9600 LE, X300 SE, X1150
Mobility 9700 (64-bit)
Integrated: GMA X4500
Discrete: 3, 3 Ti200, FX 5200 (128-bit), FX 5500,
Go (mobile): 5600, 6200, 6400, 7200, 7300, 7400 (64-bit)
Discrete: 9000, 9200, 9250
Mobility: 9600 (64-bit), X300

Discrete: FX 5200 (64 bit)
Go (mobile): 7200, 7400 (32-bit)
Integrated: 6100, 6150, 7025, 7050
Discrete: 9200 SE
Integrated: Xpress 200M, Xpress 1000, Xpress 1150
Integrated: GMA X3000, X3100, X3500
Discrete: 2 GTS, 4 MX 440, 2 Ultra, 2 Ti, 2 Ti 200 Discrete: 7500 Integrated: GMA 3000, 3100
Discrete: 256, 2 MX 200, 4 MX 420, 2 MX 400 Discrete: SDR, LE, DDR, 7000, 7200 Integrated: GMA 500, 900, 950
Discrete: Nvidia TNT Discrete: Rage 128 Discrete: Intel 740

Now all that’s left to do is compare performance to your budget, and you'll be able to confidently decide which board is right for you - we even put in the legwork to help find you the best prices!

Display 3 comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    MajinCry , 18 October 2013 20:43
    AMD does appear to have come out as the winner in this article.

    'Bout time.
  • 0 Hide
    Russellini Fitler , 20 October 2013 13:22
    I'm not sure why you would recommend a 7870 over an R270X when the prices are roughly similar (+/- £8 )
  • 1 Hide
    Menigmand , 21 October 2013 11:16
    I don't get your recommendations.

    For 205 pounds, I can either get "Great 2560x1600 performance" or "Good 2560x1600 performance in most games with lowered detail"?

    Why would I ever choose the latter? Why are those two cards placed as a tie?

    (GTX 760 vs HD 7950 Boost)