Aside from Black Friday, Christmas and the holiday season is typically the next best time of year to buy PC hardware. Between Christmas sales and retailers selling off end-of-year loss leaders, there are ample opportunities to score on upgrades or new builds.
With that in mind, we want to provide some insight on what’s a good purchase for Christmas 2015, and what you should hold off on purchasing.
The post-apocalyptic future is bigger and prettier than ever. Fallout 4 is out, and we have a brand new game build guide to help you build the best PC for Fallout 4.
Here it is: Building the Best PC for Fallout 4
If you want some spoilers, here are the graphics cards we recommend for running the game at 50-60 frames per second on Ultra at various resolutions:
3840×2160 (4K): 2x GTX 980s
Read our full guide for all the gory details.
Monday was a terrifying day to browse the web as the owner of an NVIDIA graphics card. News hit early this week that the company’s latest series of Maxwell GPUs, the GTX 900-series, could have a design flaw that compromises performance compared to AMD graphics cards when performing asynchronous compute in DirectX 12.
In short: A few weeks ago, Oxide Games released a benchmark demo of an upcoming game called Ashes of the Singularity, the first demo for DirectX 12, the soon-to-come update to Microsoft’s popular gaming API. Many Ashes benchmark reviews found that while NVIDIA graphics cards ran the game quite well with DirectX 11, AMD cards showed an enormous performance jump when upgrading to DX 12. NVIDIA cards, on the other hand, showed no performance improvements with DX 12, and in some cases, actually took a slight hit to performance compared to running the game with DX 11.
This week, NVIDIA launched the smallest member of its Maxwell GPU family, the GTX 950. Launch prices range from $160 to $170, depending on manufacturer, landing the 950 firmly in the ‘mid-tier’ GPU category.
After examining early reviews, we have added the new card to the Very Good tier on the U.S. parts list. Looking at its competition, it beats the AMD’s $150 R7 370 and matches the performance of AMD’s slightly pricier R7 270X.
An important part of any performance PC is the Graphics Processing Unit (or GPU, the brain of the graphics card), but the GPU is especially important when it comes to gaming. The GPU is responsible for processing the visual data that is seen on the monitor. Many CPUs come with integrated GPUs, but these are much less powerful than the GPUs in dedicated video cards. For gaming, you want a video card.
NVIDIA has launched its latest monstrosity of a top-tier graphics card, the GTX Titan X.
The Titan X is the new single-GPU king, beating the GTX 980′s performance by a good 25%-33%. Unfortunately, the price is not “25%-33%” higher, but instead nearly doubled. At $550, the 980 is already very expensive, and the asking price of $1,000 for the Titan X is ridiculous.
In recent weeks, the most-discussed topic in the PC hardware world has been the memory allocation of nVidia’s GTX 970. AMD has taken advantage of the controversy by lowering the price of their R9 290X card. As a result, we have made some changes to our high-end GPU recommendations.
After a slight delay, we finally have the release of the GTX 960, NVIDIA’s $200 mid-tier GPU for the 900-series.
Based on the numbers, the 960 is very power-efficient, but a little overpriced. The performance is on par with (or slightly lower than) AMD’s Radeon R9 280, which generally sells for a little bit less.