A discussion on which is the best graphics card is largely futile - the raw performance of a GPU comes down to sheer numbers. The biggest and the most expensive will always be the best, even if it isn’t necessarily the wisest purchase. But what about the graphics cards that proved the most disruptive to the PC gaming industry? Graphics processing legends that offered unparalleled price to performance, shifted tens of millions of units, and heralded in an all-new era of graphics card tech. It’s time to celebrate the graphics card heroes.
I’ll proffer a few of my favourites to get things going, but please share some of your favourites down in the comments section below!
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX
An undisputed giant, the GeForce 8800 GTX was arguably the most enduring graphics card ever made. Up until a couple of years ago it was still pretty common to see these in GD builds, roughly a decade after its 2006 launch. The GeForce 8800 GTX was a beast, ushering in DirectX 10 and lasting canny PC gamers the entire length of the seven generation of consoles. Its 128 Cores, 575 MHz clock speed and 768MB GDDR4 memory seems paltry by today’s standards, but in 2007 it was a monster. Sleep well, sweet prince.
3dfx Voodoo 2
My first ever graphics card, the 3dfx Voodoo 2 has a special place in my heart. It was one of the few chips that could play the original Unreal and I remember it absolutely blowing my mind at the time. It was very quickly usurped but it really was a great driver of PC gaming tech. It supported 1024 x 768 resolution for the first time and was comprised of three distinct chips. The Voodoo 2 was one of the last graphics cards released by 3dfx before they went defunct and Nvidia arrived to take over the scene.
Arriving shortly after the Voodoo 2, I never actually had an Nvidia GeForce 256 but I can just about remember the splash it made. This was Nvidia’s first ever GeForce graphics card (and the first to be called a GPU) and heralded the arrival of DirectX 7. This was an absolute Voodoo killer and marked the beginning of the end for 3dfx. It rocked a 150MHz core clock speed and had 32MB of DDR memory. From this, an industry legend was born.
What have been some of your favourite graphics cards over the years, and which do you think has been the best at the time it launched? Let us know below!