What to look for in a good GPU: the quick and dirty

This is intended to be a quick summary when purchasing a GPU. I will be writing a post in greater detail about this later on.


MSI 980Ti Lightning

The MSI 980 Ti Lightning Source: MSI

So you have picked a specific model of GPU. Great – now there are a ton of brands and PCBs within that model that you must choose from.


Why does it matter? Not all GPUs are alike.  You want to get the best GPU for your money.


The most important things are:

  1. A good quality PCB, which includes a very solid power delivery system
  2. Good quality VRAM (ideally Samsung for GDDR5, although right now HBM2 is expected to replace GDDR5 on most GPUs)
  3. If you intend to use air cooling, then you need a good cooler for the GPU (most importantly, it is the temperature to noise ratio that matters the most)
  4. VRMs on the GPU are cooled
  5. Outputs support the monitors that you use
  6. No major issues or design flaws
  7. The manufacturer’s reputation for honoring their warranty (you never know when things go wrong)


If you intend to water cool, you’ll need to weigh between the possibility of using a water block (if one exists for the PCB) or a universal cooler, which is a lot cheaper.


It’s hard to assess most reviews for this, as they usually offer more marketing than anything else.


This is a quick summary – I will go more in depth in a later post.

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