Low Lag Gaming with Fast Video Cards

What many like to call lag actually refers to certain types of slowdowns. Graphics lag stems from general problems with the graphics system, which...
By Ogie Ogilthorpe, Published: Jan 30, 2018 | |
  1. If your PC is not optimized for performance, your gaming will not be the best. Intensive scenes will stutter at times, not every detail or effect will please. There are only so many ways to have your favorites play fluidly, for the most enjoyable experience.

    What many like to call lag actually refers to certain types of slowdowns. Graphics lag stems from general problems with the graphics system, which happens often enough that most of us recognize the ugliness when it appears. The overburdened PC cannot generate enough frames per second (FPS) to render every on-screen frame in a polished manner.

    Whenever slowdowns happen, the controls typically will become less responsive as well. Each virtual action will need a fraction of a second longer to take effect during graphics-heavy scenes. Even a discrete graphics processor (GPU) might require more time to render succeeding frames before they get transmitted to the display.

    Poor framerates and responsiveness have a few causes, outside of poor network connections (which is a whole topic in itself). If you are experiencing this, either there are too many applications and background processes eating up computing resources, or it could be that your hardware simply cannot keep pace with your habits.

    Question is, could there some means of removing or reducing regular slowdowns? You can try to resolve the situation by optimizing OS and game settings, reducing graphical requirements, or upgrading key hardware components.

    In this article, we cover the more common symptoms and discuss the more effective remedies, namely:

    • Optimize Windows settings, update drivers
    • Tweak in-game and graphics panel settings
    • Overclock the GPU and perhaps the CPU
    • Upgrade to a faster graphics card.
    Once the setup and optimizing problems have been eliminated, the next step ordinarily leads to video hardware upgrades, as this can offer a longer-term solution to most graphics woes. We will, therefore, focus on upgrading to the newest graphics processors from NVidia and AMD, in our follow-on review of the top five video cards.

    Note that we are seeing video card pricing climb quite a bit, especially in the market for premium discrete graphics cards. We specify GPUs that can fit various budgets, without compromising much basic performance at each price point.

    Gaming Lag Basics
    The majority of desktop gamers refer to almost any slowdown in online gaming as ‘lag’. Knowing what graphics lag is and what it is not can help you recognize and fix it whenever it occurs.

    When graphical slowdowns strike, it can seem that the whole game is running slow, with frames crawling and keyboard and mouse actions slowing during more intense scenes. But even if framerates crash, that condition is not the same as the lengthy feedbacks induced by input and network lags.

    Network lags are something else. Those conditions are different from what we would term ‘graphics lag’, which regularly results in lower FPS that manifests in intensive gameplay. This is not always a hardware or software misconfiguration problem, for it can also relate to poor local and online connections, which we plan to cover in later guides.

    These days, low framerates are rarely due to high network or control input latency. If you suffer consistently from low FPS performance, it may not be conventional lag that is occurring, it could be that the graphics processor is not able to keep pace with the graphical load.

    When graphics framerates drop badly, the screen may appear to present a succession of single frames that pass every second or so. In common situations, gameplay will still be recognizable, but stuff will feel jerky and far from smooth. You will most likely need a speedier video card, additional system memory, or a faster system CPU even.

    Whenever FPS counters drop to some 25 FPS or lower, particularly in fast-paced shooter games, you will be experiencing a certain amount of on-screen slowdown. If framerates fall to a range well under 20 FPS, you will definitely feel the drag.

    Three solutions will need to be considered. The first involves checking and customizing both Windows and game video profiles, so as to extract higher framerates. Updating the driver that was originally part of your PC setup or else was installed with your video card can also improve performance and reliability.

    If your favorite shooter and MOBA titles routinely loads huge levels, you could try turning off SuperFetch, aka Prefetch, as in this article: https://www.technipages.com/windows-enable-disable-superfetch

    Most gamers find that defragmenting a spinning drive from which game programs and files are loaded can make a huge difference. Regularly defragment (or in the case of SSDs, TRIM) your load drive to gain quicker access to humongous game levels and in-game videos.

    For another thing, every major AAA title has lots of configuration potential. Optimizing in-game video settings can lead to drastic enhancements in the manner they appear and operate. You could try a few of the less intrusive tips given here: http://www.tweakguides.com/Games.html

    Some settings affect gameplay more than the rest. For example, ambient occlusion and antialiasing functions can really lower framerates when applied indiscriminately. If you experience choppiness with these applied, experiment by disabling these functions and see if things improve.

    Give attention to improving minimum framerates whenever possible. There is little point to screening things at 100 FPS or so if you will only get pulled down into sub-20 FPS action during action-heavy scenes. If there is a crying need to improve quality quickly, especially with a frag fest scheduled to start soon, you could always reduce video resolutions temporarily.

    Second, most GPUs can be clocked up a bit. The hardware bottleneck that chokes performance and generates stutter while playing is normally found in the PC graphics subsystem. Many gamers have learned to overclock their CPUs, so most accept that a slight uptick in GPU speed should not cause harm.

    To gain a little more performance, try overclocking the GPU just above its factory setting. This is not too tricky to do, as the majority of systems will automatically throttle or power down before any harm resulting from excessive clock settings can occur. In any case, we recommend only slight upticks, to a 15% overclock at most.

    For overclocking popular graphics processors, this guide can be useful: https://www.guru3d.com/files-details/msi-afterburner-beta-download.html

    Remember, exceeding the default clock rates of your various processors will increase stresses and temperatures within the enclosure and not only that of the system or graphics chips. The procedure needs to be performed with some care and attention. That said, you can normally finish with a PC that is some 5°C hotter than before, which is well within most manufacturers’ specifications.

    The third remedy will demand a big spend, particularly in today’s mining-hot GPU market. Gameplay quality tends to depend on the processing capability of your GPU chip far more than the amount of desktop RAM or the speed of the CPU. That is, assuming the hardware is more or less current.

    At some point, you will see that no level of smart optimization will be enough if your PC simply cannot rise to the job. Then you may have to consider upgrading the GPU and in the worst case, the CPU as well. For those suffering from low FPS or ‘graphics lag’ in their favorite games, upgrading the graphics card may be for the best.

    To this end, we look at configurations that span a range of prices, including parts that feature the greatest value or the highest quality. We do not just specify affordable as well as champion models. Most of these suggestions represent build basics that we would choose for our own use if we were also caught up in graphical lag with our current rigs.

    Considerations
    Well, there’s a big problem in the market. Cryptocurrency mining demand has been scooping up every available midrange GPU card that features a respectable compute block and shader complement.

    However, if you are only interested in affordable models costing about $150, or else in premium GPUs that are priced well beyond $500, then you may be comfortable with what you find. It is the $200-and-up segment where things can be hard for the average gamer on the upgrade treadmill.

    Most new midrange models are now selling at levels far above their original launch pricing. Even those GTX 1060 models with 6GB of GDDR5 memory that we can get excited about tend be priced anywhere up to $50 more over that suggested by their manufacturers. This is more than a small irritation, but gamers who are building midrange systems do have further options, at least.

    Although AMD presently offers a viable selection of GPUs that meet various performance levels, their current pricing and availability are generally not too appealing at the moment. Earlier RX 500-series models are now pricier than we would like.

    AMD’s newest RX Vega models are overly high-priced and backlogged at retail, wherever they are actually in stock. Conversely, NVidia’s latest are somewhat available and sell at comparatively reasonable prices across their ranges. Our selection follows accordingly.

    New Vega hardware was among the most anticipated in the past year. AMD’s RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 cards compete furiously with their GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 rivals on quality. But, their power/thermal efficiency still pales in comparison to the cooler-running Pascal designs from NVidia.

    Meanwhile, cryptocurrency miners are busy buying up AMD GPUs and driving up pricing, which has not made Vega cards easier to find for anywhere near their original launch pricing. It also does not help that, like any new complex silicon, these presently suffer from performance hits due to immature drivers.

    Vega cards also present power-efficiency profiles that are broadly outperformed by competing products. These newest GPUs may, therefore, deliver a less polished experience in comparison, all while drawing more current and generating more noise and heat in operation.

    With the scarce availability of AMD RX 570 and RX 580 GPUs in today’s market, we currently view GTX 1060 6GB cards as the best bang-for-the-buck option for most buyers.

    It has been dismal of late for those in need of a midrange video card like, right now. The huge demand for mining-optimized hardware has brought about a situation wherein NVidia GTX 1060 6GB and GTX 1070, as well as AMD RX 570 and 580 models, are now harder to find at their original suggested prices.

    That is if any are even in sellers’ inventories. The majority are regularly out of stock since mining users tend to be particularly interested in AMD GPUs. Even midrange NVidia models such as GTX 1070s can be in short supply, for the demand is pushing the pricing of these midrange models to rather high levels.

    It is still possible to snap up a reasonably-priced GTX 1070 game bundle if you look long enough. But if you can spring another hundred Dollars, we think that the quality boost afforded by a non-GDDR5X GTX 1080 (which features a memory architecture that is unpopular with miners) can be worth the extra cost.

    The newer NVidia GTX 1080 Ti holds the undisputed single-card performance title. Most brands offer versions of its GP102 graphics processor with customized coolers. Pricing has been rising, but that has rarely put off competitive gamers, especially those already planning high-end upgrades.

    Whichever video card you choose, we continue to recommend maximizing graphics memory regardless of the model. Any model with under 4GB of memory installed is a poor bet for a new gaming build. With the newest range of AAA titles, it has become much too easy to be trapped in bad outlier scenarios, where memory runs out and game time gets degraded as a result.

    As usual, NVidia is not supporting VESA’s Adaptive-Sync standard (FreeSync) in its newest products. So, if you are keen on getting the benefit of a smooth variable-refresh-rate with less expensive GTX models, you will still have to see if your budget can accommodate a VRR display based on NVidia’s G-Sync standard, which typically costs around $300. if you can afford one, a midrange GeForce card would make for a decent partner.

    Serious players on a less serious budget may want to try a lower-end Vega card along with a cheaper FreeSync monitor. Of course, this assumes that midrange GPU pricing will be coming down sometime soon. Mining and the demand it generates for fast GPUs is defeating the platform pricing advantages of the FreeSync standard to an extent.

    With the past year’s launch of AMD’s Ryzen APUs, PC gamers have been anticipating a design that combines Zen and Vega core in a desktop part. Well, the good news is that this long-awaited Raven Ridge design will be arriving soon, along with a variety of new AM4 motherboards. A pair of enticing models will launch in the coming months, the Ryzen 3 2200G/Ryzen 5 2400G due.

    AMD’s Ryzen 5 2400G is the first full-fledged, high-powered Raven Ridge system in the market. Featuring quad Zen cores with 11 Vega compute units, it runs at a 3.6 GHz base speed with up to a 3.9 GHz boost and should sell for around $170.

    On the other hand, the Ryzen 3 2200G with 8 Vega units defaults to 4-core/4-thread operation at a 3.5 GHz base clock and with up to a 3.7 GHz speed boost. This capable quad-core APU will sell at launch for a particularly appealing MSRP price of about $100.

    Both operate within a 65-Watt TDP profile, with fully unlockable CPU/GPU clocks that will surely please overclockers on a budget. When the performance of the Vega 11 integrated graphics processor (iGP) of Ryzen 5 2400G was actually compared to that of the Intel i5-8400, the latter’s Intel Graphics 620 iGP was handily outperformed by AMD’s more advanced design.

    It will take a GTX 1030 coupled with an Intel i3-8100 to deliver performance as good. With a faster processor, you may find yourself desiring a more capable video card. It follows that a 4-core/8-thread CPU such as the i5-8400 would be even better, especially for CPU-bound games and live streaming platforms that can take advantage of the higher computing IPC and core counts.

    A locked Intel i3-8100 may need to be paired with a relatively pricey Z370 motherboard though since less expensive 300H- and B-series boards are still scarce at best. Users will be spending upwards of $300 among video card, processor, and board, in order to outfit even a basic Core i3 system.

    The main advantage of AMD’s Ryzen platform is that a 2400G, when paired with a suitable B350 board, is likely to cost a bit less than $300. Better yet, it will be readily overclockable as well. If all things were equal, a Ryzen 5 2400G would offer a sweet spot for basic gaming as well as small-form-factor systems that have no space for full-sized or even half-height video cards.

    AMD hopes to exploit the marketing dwell between its first-generation Ryzen GPUs maturing and its next-generation parts arriving, the better to compete with its formidable rival. For the second generation of Ryzen APUs, the company is launching a newer platform known as the X470, although its latest APUs will still remain compatible with current X370 boards.

    Meanwhile, NVidia’s release of its new champion GPU, the Volta-based Titan V video card, has brought a lot of conjecture. The company may well have a variety of newer-architecture GPUs ready for an upcoming launch.

    One other thing: the introduction of NVidia’s Pascal-generation processors has regularized technology that can render 4K AAA titles at a reliably smooth 60 FPS. However, only the higher-end 1080 TI and Titan XP/V GPUs are designed to meet the most demanding UHD-1 (2160p) requirements.

    To be sure, there is a lot of groundbreakings and possibly game-changing gaming tech just around the corner. Competition has brought us certain benefits in this round of the ever-running GPU contest. But as we will see, market forces are diminishing the upgrade prospects of gamers who hope to build more than an entry-level gaming rig.

    Advantages (and not) of upgrading your GPU
    Our suggested configurations specify quality components at (mostly) reasonable prices. The midrange configurations are meant to deliver the most value-for-money.

    Except for the ultimate build at the end, our higher-end recommendations feature the best performance currently possible, without indulging in exotic components that fail to add extra functionality overall.

    For buyers on budgets, there are a lot of video cards that are still selling at affordable prices. You can readily find under-$150 models such as the NVidia GTX 1030 that can handle virtually any modern title with moderate graphics quality.

    With only a bit more of a budget, you could get the much faster GTX 1050 Ti. So long as you do not push gaming resolutions much beyond 1920×1080 resolution at 30 FPS (1080p30fps), it will serve you well. It also operates more quietly and outputs less heat than a more-or-less equivalent RX 560 4GB card.

    One benefit of the more affordable choices is that none require an extra PCIe electrical connector, most will readily work in any modern system they can slide into. The absence of affordable FreeSync support is about the only drawback of these units, although the quiet yet powerful operation does make them ideal for a gamer-oriented HTPC.

    As we said, a GTX 1050 Ti is not that capable of pushing things well beyond 1080p30fps, to 1440p30fps and higher. A GTX 1060 6GB can do the job if you are willing to cut back on game details and effects. Moving from 1080p30fps to 1440p30fps gaming can be seamless as a GTX 1060 typically provides a low-cost resolution boost for most AAA games.

    Due to the highly power-efficient operation, many GTX 1060 versions with quiet custom cooling are available. Most generate high framerates with hardly any fan noise and all consume much less current than an RX 580.

    Smooth, low-lag gaming with game details set to high is the norm at this GPU performance level. ‘Ultra’ settings may lead to slight stutters on occasion in certain AAA titles. But, a setting or two usually can be lowered to improve framerates without any noticeable loss in graphics quality. Certain games can go the distance without further optimization. Doom on ultra-quality settings is known to run fluidly at 1440p60fps on a GTX 1060 or an RX 580.

    If you are considering a Virtual Reality set up, the GTX 1060 6GB already provides good performance at 1080p60fps and 1440p30fps levels, along with certain VR rendering functions that are exclusive to its Pascal GP106 architecture. That said, good 120 Hz displays without NVidia’s proprietary G-Sync feature can be found for less than $200.

    What’s more, the up-level GTX 1070 offers the level of performance of a GTX 980 Ti for less than what the latter card retailed for at its peak. Not to mention that an even speedier GTX 1070 Ti/G-Sync setup can deliver even more performance that is not too far off from that possible with a high-end GTX 1080 GPU.

    But as we mentioned earlier, the mining-focused market has not been kind to midrange GPU buyers. High prices and low stocks are threatening to choke off Radeon GPU sales, just when interest in AMD’s champion GPUs is riding high.

    To explain, AMD has returned at the market’s higher end on the wings of its powerful new Radeon RX Vega GPUs. The RX Vega 56 matches overclocked GTX 1070s in performance, while that of the higher-end Vega 64 nearly paces that of its GTX 1080 rival.

    Although AMD’s new processor launches had rocked rival Intel back on its heels last year, the earlier market situation does not currently apply to the prospects of the company’s new Vega GPUs. At present, it seems that these are being priced out of regular consumer markets and into industrial mining territory.

    NVidia has its issues with market availability as well for certain midrange and high-end offerings. The popular GTX 1070 had been ideal for intense high-refresh-rate gaming on a 1440p monitor. But, these GPUs are now all but impossible to find at a reasonable price and as result, cannot be recommended for now. Particularly when faster GTX 1080 packages can be had at a slightly higher cost.

    Near the top of the heap is NVidia’s GTX 1080. This superfast GPU is ideal for rendering graphics-intensive titles with the highest refresh rates at 1080p or at 1440p60fps, or else smoothly playing the same at 2160p. Then there is the GTX 1080 Ti, the high-end champion until very recently. A bit pricier, it does offer a nice big jump in performance.

    For 4K and VR performance at decent refresh rates that deliver the greatest lag-free experiences bar none, only the newest and priciest Titan V card can offer a faster option to those with money to burn.

    Top Five Video Cards
    In these reviews, we list range models that can cover the needs of most gamers. We think that these suggested GPU/CPU configurations are nicely balanced to meet various requirements for performance and value.

    MSI GeForce GT 1030 2G LP OC

    Economy gaming. This entry-level GPU plays well with an equally basic Intel Pentium G4620. Along with 200/1001-series boards, this configuration has a lot of all-purpose computing capacity for a dual-core/4-thread design. The combination may be slightly down range but is yet capable of running popular titles such as DOTA 2 with moderate detail at 1080p and with reasonable framerates in the range of 60 FPS.

    This low-end gaming station may not deliver the most amazing scenery or highest-FPS action in the big-name AAA games. However, it offers a minimum of good playability in most of them, so long as display resolutions and details are set at reasonable levels.

    See customer reviews for this video card here


    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti G1Gaming 4GB

    Better economy gaming. The ever-popular GTX 1050 Ti remains the budget desktop GPU of choice. This is a rather decent $150 card that will let you play the majority of AAA games with higher details at 1080p30fps. A good match would be the Ryzen 3 1300X, the newest Socket AM4 CPU from AMD.

    The combination performs nicely in multi-threaded tasking as well as in AAA titles that can take advantage of quad-core and higher CPUs. It will be hard to find a better set up for a still-affordable machine that is not too reduced in performance. Intel’s i3-8100 also meets this CPU price point, but just be aware that suitable Z370 motherboards can cost much more than basic but inexpensive Ryzen motherboards.

    See product details


    EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan), 6GB GDDR5

    Midrange gaming. The midrange segment fits out nicely with Intel’s i3-8100, a great all-purpose CPU that is well matched to the bandwidth needs of an NVidia GTX 1060 6GB video card. This duo is powerful enough to support 60 FPS or higher gaming at 1080p and some higher resolutions.

    Certain AAA games may play smoothly at 1440p60fps with this configuration, although it would depend on the rest of your system hardware choices. The earlier-generation AMD RX 580 8GB would be a nice graphics option but for the fact that most models now cost around $300, due to the incredible demand for high-bandwidth GPUs from cryptocurrency miners.

    Read product reviews here


    MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 256-Bit 8GB

    Better midrange gaming. Although the GTX 1070Ti offered nowhere near the best value upon its launch, it would be a very decent choice today, market considerations aside. A plain GTX 1070 was not much cheaper then, while the new RX Vega 56 models are still mostly out of stock.

    This was the configuration that used to present the most performance for the money at one time. NVidia’s GTX 1070 Ti is a powerful GPU, but maximizing its potential can be difficult. If you can find a new one selling for near its launch price, it can still be very satisfying for gaming at and beyond 1080p60fps resolution.

    The 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 1600 CPU features a 3.6 GHz speed boost and good overclocking ability, which is good for rendering multicore-friendly titles such as GTA 5. It would be the best match if you can get one at its earlier price. The CPU/GPU combination should be enough to render complex scenes smoothly in nearly all AAA titles at 1440p60fps and faster, with most details set to high.

    All those extra cores would also be great for running HD live streams and captures in real time and with reduced processing lag. We noted that the Intel i5-8400 can rival the Ryzen 5 in most low-core workloads, i.e. most popular games. Just be aware that adding this locked CPU to a pricey Z370 board may not always a reasonable choice.

    For a similar but somewhat faster configuration, you can range up to Intel’s new i5-8600K, the latest Coffee Lake processor that features a 6-core/6-thread design, 4.3 GHz Turbo clock, and an unlocked multiplier that readily enables high overclocks for better low-latency gaming.

    Like the Ryzen 5, the i5-8600K will keep framerates high and frame times low in heavily threaded games and live streaming on the side. At some $300, it will not be easy to pick another CPU on Intel’s Z370 platform that is as well-balanced at performing simultaneous gaming and content production tasks.

    Buy this card at Amazon.com


    Gigabyte AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 8G

    Higher-end gaming. In place of less expensive systems that meet smaller budgets, we look at a number of powerful configurations from here on that scale up in both performance and cost.

    NVidia’s GTX 1080 is a great partner for any high-end CPU and can also be a reasonable buy when compared to the many overpriced GTX 1070 Ti cards out there. Not only can it render any graphics-intensive game at the highest refresh rates, it is also the minimum NVidia solution that is presently capable of running most AAA titles smoothly at 4K resolutions and with higher refresh rates.

    A good argument for the GTX 1080 would involve Intel’s Core i7-8700K, which features 6 cores and double the number of threads. This chip performs great in graphics-intensive gaming, live streaming, and content production, although the $400-plus pricing does represent the cost of an entire low-end box. But if you’ve got the gaming chops or the productivity mission, it can be well worth the higher expense.

    See customer reviews here>>>

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N GAMING 11GB

    Even higher-end gaming. GTX 1080 Ti models with GDDR5X memory configurations tend to be overlooked by miners and can offer relatively good value to gamers on the warpath, especially when compared to the pricey GTX 1070 Ti cards that are presently infesting the market.

    We were amazed at the well-balanced performance of the Intel i7-7820X, which nearly matches that of AMD’s formidable Ryzen Threadripper 1920X for a few hundred Dollars less. Installed on an LGA2066-based X299 board with DDR4-3200 memory, the configuration provides for smoother gaming with more processor-bound games such as Battlefield 1.

    A CPU bump up to the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X will get you a 16-core/32-thread chip that clocks at its 4 GHz maximum on X399 boards. A monster at heavily multi-threaded tasks, the bounty of cores can be especially good for tackling multiple simultaneous HD captures and live streaming tasks during competitive sessions.

    See customer reviews

    Highest-end gaming. For GPU-heavy workloads, such as those that deep-learning algorithms fill, there is simply no more capable a graphics system than that of the NVidia Titan V and its next-generation Volta architecture. Its 12GB of HBM2 memory running on the 3072-bit bus theoretically provides some 652 Gbps of bandwidth to I/O and thread-heavy tasks.

    As a theoretical exercise for us, we think it would be neat to pair a Titan V with a Core i9-7960X, even if we would not spend for it ourselves. The 16-core/32-thread CPU from Intel counts the same block numbers as that of the less pricey but not much less capable Threadripper 1950X. Thing is, each Skylake-generation cores can run at higher clocks and with more instructions per cycle than is possible with AMD’s best.

    Although the Titan V is considered to offer rather poor value for a gaming GPU, it is indeed the fastest one available. If you have the money and the inclination to pair this beastly GPU with an equally awesome AMD or Intel CPU, we can only be envious.

    Conclusions
    It is a costly way to eliminate lag, but sometimes only a big hardware upgrade will do. From the least costly video card to the priciest and fastest GPU wonder, you can at least be assured that our recommendations balance gameplay quality against the burden of coping with diminishing returns that comes with buying high-end gear.

    For the average gamer who needs a graphically lag-free fix for popular MMORPG games, we would suggest an NVidia GTX 1060 6GB model paired with an Intel i3-8100 or higher CPU. Those who were lucky enough to find an RX Vega 56 card at launch will likely find the slightly pricier card to be a good GPU for the long run as well.

    It is unfortunate that GTX 1070 Ti cards have become scarce and expensive, whereas the more available GTX 1080 GDDR5X models sell for hardly more. When RX Vega 64 cards finally re-emerge in the market at their original retail pricing, they will likely be the GPUs to get. But for now, it is wait-and-see.

    Going up the desirability vs. cost scale, the NVidia GTX 1080 is a good match for either an Intel Core i5-8600K or i7-8700K. Depending on the refresh rates you intend to use, it can deliver ultra-high-quality gaming at 1440p and higher resolutions.

    For buyers with less limited means, we would recommend a GTX 1080 Ti. We think the faster clock is worth the additional cost when it comes to next-generation 2160p and VR gaming at decent refresh rates.

    Installed along with an Intel i7-7820X, you will gain what is essentially a full-fledged workstation that can run loads of multi-threaded tasks and handle any UHD-ready AAA game extant. As a bonus, the extra cores of these higher-end CPUs will be great for multiple HD captures and streaming runs.

    These configurations are great for some seriously hardcore gaming at various resolutions. As always, a good CPU/GPU combination ensures that you will not be disappointed with dragging game scenery during your most intense moves.

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