Finding the best graphics card to play CS:GO with is mostly a question of cash. Graphics cards are the lifeblood of your gaming PC, so if there’s one thing not to skimp on, it’s the GPU. But not everyone’s budgets can stretch as far as the moon, and if all you’re going to be doing is mainlining CS:GO to get better, you might not need bells and whistles. So here are the best graphics card to get for CS:GO depending on your budget.
High end GPUs
GeForce GTX 1080Ti
This is obviously, really really obviously, overkill for CS:GO. But oh man, is it fun to see those frame counters cruise through the triple digits. Nvidia’s latest and greatest graphics card will make a huge dent in your rebuild budget, running you $700 at launch. But if you want to play games other than CS:GO then maybe the 5 years peace of mind is worth it to you. And who knows, maybe Dust2’s rework will be as badly optimised as Nuke’s. You’ll be thankful of the extra power then, trust us.
GeForce GTX 1080
Stepping down from the precipice of madness, the 1080 is a much more sensible choice for indulging in excess. Still far beyond CS:GO’s minimum specs, it will keep a solid 144Hz even at 1440p if you’re a widescreen fan. The good news is that with the Ti coming out, the 1080 will now be tumbling in price, and we’ve already seen sales of some manufacturer boards with $300 lopped off.
AMD Radeon RX “Vega”
If you fancy waiting just a little longer for your frame-boosting fix, the next AMD Vega architecture of GPUs is looking promising. Code-named the RX Vega, latest benchmarks put it squarely between the GTX 1080 and 1080Ti in performance. And with Radeons generally a lot cheaper than their GTX counterparts, perhaps the Vega-based board could let you have your GPU and still afford to eat, too.
GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
Here are your totally reasonable cards for the level of performance CS:GO needs. The 1060, being part of Nvidia’s newest salvo of 10-series Pascal GPUs, is absolutely up to the task of keeping your frames high and edges sharp. Here we’ve picked out the 3GB version as, despite the 50% reduced VRAM, it is still a great runner. Also brings the price down a touch, giving you more to spend on a monitor to match.
AMD Radeon RX 480
AMD’s first real look-in here is an under-appreciated beast. Costing less than even a 3GB 1060, the 480 runs a close race with both versions of Nvidia’s mid-range champion. For that you’ll bag an ample 8GB VRAM and a bigger memory bus to shift those textures over. Of course it doesn’t matter if your gun skin looks amazing if it’s shown through a powerpoint presentation, but the 480 will manage frames of 120Hz upwards on full quality.
GeForce GTX 1050Ti
This tiny card can pull out big tricks for its size, but you’ll still need to dial back a few settings. If you don’t care about seeing the reflection of yourself in the grenade pin you just pulled, then you’ll have no issues keeping well above the golden 60 frames per second. If you’re having a hard time getting together the capital for the rest of your kit, we’d suggest making cuts elsewhere. But if you’re already on a shoestring, this will be enough to maybe win your first LAN and get the cash rolling in.
AMD Radeon RX 470
The 1050’s arrival forced AMD into a price war for their lower-specced Polaris card, dropping the 470 below $150 in some places. Though it’s definitely not a spot on its 480 stablemate, the 470 will destroy the 1050Ti in a straight race so it’s best to go with the red team for a budget card. But if you can stretch just a little further, the 480 will see a massive improvement in 1080p performance with CS:GO.
If you’ve got enough left over for a new monitor, take a look at some of our other guides on what you should be looking for. And if you just want to put your CS:GO skills to the test, check out the rest of the site.