Assuming Ultra profile at 60fps is the target, then for the 1440p in-game resolution setting an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, 1050 Ti or 1650 is fine. These graphics cards are from three different generations but are all good for 1440p which looks great on a 1080p TV or monitor.
The absolute minimum graphics card I would recommend for Zwift is a GT 1030 (GDDR5 version), which gets Medium profile and can often do 60fps at the 1080p resolution setting when not otherwise limited by the CPU. Whilst this is clearly inferior to the Ultra profile cards mentioned earlier, it still represents a much-enhanced experience over phones, most tablets, and Apple TV. Importantly, Medium profile gets rider shadows, which make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of the game.
The new Samsung SSD 980 (nope, no "EVO" today folks) enters the field of internal solid-state drives with some pretty stiff goals to meet. Its older brother, the PCI Express 4.0-based Samsung SSD 980 Pro ($229 for 1TB), blew out our testing benchmarks across the board when we reviewed it back in September of last year, and even though the PCI Express 3.0-based Intel SSD 670p ($154.99 for 1TB), launched last week, gives the SSD 980 some healthy competition, the SSD 980 has come right in and stolen the first-place performance and value crown for PCI Express 3.0 drives back for Samsung once again.
Finally, the PCMark 10 copy tests are also derived from PCMark 10 traces. At first, these numbers might look low compared with the straight sequential-throughput numbers achieved in benchmarks like Crystal DiskMark 6.0 and AS-SSD, charted further down. But that's due to the way this score is calculated and the nature of (and differences between) the source data sets.
The Zotac 970 comes with a base clock of 1102 MHz, and a boost clock of 1241 MHz, a significant increase over the 1050 MHz and 1178 MHz of the stock card. Impressively, that boost clock is also slightly higher than the 1216 MHz of a stock GTX 980. With all that power and cooling on board, there's definitely room to overclock the Zotac 970 even more (with some reporting stable boost clocks of 1469MHz), but the benchmarks below are based on the out-of-the box experience. Elsewhere, there's the same 4GB of GDDR5 memory as the GTX 980, tied to a 256-bit bus. You also get all the other benefits of Nvidia's Maxwell architecture, including support for VXGI, DSR, and MFAA, which you can read more about in the GTX 980 review.
Ah, the march of progress. The GTX 780 Ti--which commanded a hefty $699 (£559) at launch and used a full 250W of power--is now, less than year later, largely matched by a £289 card that consumes up to just 171W of power. AMD's flagships--the R9 290 and R9 290X--are now essentially irrelevant. They're wildly inefficient, hot GPUs by comparison, and cost around the same price (more in the US), but are easily bested in the benchmarks by the 970. Even AMD's monster dual-gpu R9 295X2, previously the best value choice for 4K gaming, has its work cut out for it. Two 970s would be far cheaper, run cooler, use less power, and--based on the single-gpu benchmarks at least--run faster. Such a setup would only cost slightly more than a single 980 too.
That's a very impressive result, and one that makes the substantially more expensive 980 that much less desirable. Of course, the 980 is more powerful, and if you want the absolute best in performance, it's still the GPU to get. It, too, is a similarly capable overclocker, which'll push its performance even further. But there's not as big a difference between the two as you might expect, and for those with a more modest budget, the 970 is, comparatively speaking, an absolute bargain. You get silky smooth 1080p at the highest settings, and excellent performance at 1440p.
A few weeks back we looked at the old Radeon RX 580, to see how it performs in today's games at 1080p and 1440p. It was great to see this 2017 mid-range GPU hanging in surprisingly well, as it didn't take much to achieve highly playable performance.
But this is another game that looks great even when dialed down a bit, and I've found visuals are still excellent with the 'original' quality preset. This allowed for 71 fps at 1080p and 49 fps at 1440p.
The GTX 1060 isn't quite as punchy as the RX 580 in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, though they are comparable with the medium quality preset. The 1060 does drop off a little when using the low and lowest settings, but even so we're talking about 75 fps on average at 1080p using low, and 88 fps with lowest, so a good experience overall.
Thus, Dirt 5 is an excellent title for the GTX 1060. With the medium quality preset, which looks excellent by the way, the GTX 1060 6GB spat out 65 fps on average. The low and ultra low results at 1080p are surprising. I went back and tested both models to verify this data. It seems there is some kind of bug on AMD's side that's heavily limiting the performance of the RX 580 under these test conditions and as a result the GTX 1060 was up to 42% faster.
The RX 580 and GTX 1060 are tightly matched here, and performance was excellent. Using the medium settings, which is what most Fortnite players use for a competitive advantage, the GTX 1060 was good for 158 fps on average at 1080p and then 101 fps at 1440p. Both are highly playable and enable an enjoyable gaming experience.
The GTX 1060 averaged 64 fps at 1080p using the medium quality preset, so it's certainly good enough to enjoy the game, and even with the high setting you're still looking at 55 fps on average. All that said, 1440p is a bit of a stretch with just 47 fps on average using the lowest quality preset.
Resident Evil Village is yet another brand new game release we tested. This one played significantly better with the Radeon GPU, though the GTX 1060 was still able to deliver highly playable performance at 1080p using the maximum preset. It was just 15% slower than the RX 580, and 20% slower using the balanced preset.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order plays better with the GTX 1060 and as a result we're almost getting 60 fps at 1440p using the medium quality preset. Dropping down to 1080p allows for a 60 fps experience using the maximum in-game quality preset, while 'high' allows for over 70 fps. The GTX 1060 is more than capable of delivering highly playable performance in this title using a respectable level of visual settings.
On a final note, a few people were upset about our use of the Ryzen 9 5950X test system for the RX 580 benchmarks, claiming it was inflating GPU performance and giving unrealistic expectations. I'd just like to point out that this isn't the case, even with a much lower end CPU such as the Ryzen 5 2600 as an example, in almost all of these tests you'll still be heavily GPU limited, because the RX 580 and GTX 1060 aren't very powerful.
Starting with 1080p, every single card, including our VisionTek Radeon R9 270X and GeForce GTX 960 runs the game at more than 60FPS. This completely demolishes the consoles in every way imaginable. Not only are you running GTA V at a higher resolution than the 'next-gen' consoles, but you're doing so at 60FPS average, or more.
As a rule of thumb, anything up to a GTX 965M will be more than suitable for 1080p gaming, albeit with varying levels of graphical detail and inconsistent frame rates in texture-heavy titles such as Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3. If you won't accept anything less than 60 fps with every graphics options ticked, expect to splash out on a 970M or 980M-equipped laptop - especially if you've set your sights beyond full HD.
The Origin EON 15-X chews through anything you throw at it thanks to its GTX 980M, which is backed up by a huge 8GB of video memory. Having that much vRAM onboard means you won't have to worry about the laptop coping with high-res texture-heavy titles like The Witcher 3, GTA V or Fallout 4. And yes: they all look stunning on the EON 15-X's 15.6-inch 1080p matte display.
If you're looking for a powerful gaming laptop that's also compact, the P35X v5 should be on your radar. Its GTX 980 GPU packs a punch thanks to its 8GB of video memory, which you can put to good use on its impressive 4K display. (A 1080p panel is also offered as a choice.) The P35X v5's solid benchmark scores beat those produced by more expensive 980M-equipped rival machines, so if you care more about what's under the hood than the hood itself, it's well worth a look-in.
Like its desktop equivalent, the GTX 970, the 970M does a better job of balancing performance and cost than the flagship 980M above it. Most models still offer plenty of video memory, but the 970M is less capable of hitting the high notes once you venture beyond full HD. Still, it's the ultimate semi-affordable solution for 1080p/ultra gaming on the go. The 970M packs 1,280 CUDA cores, uses a 192-bit memory interface and features a base clock of 924MHz (plus boost).
A silver-styled laptop with the strength of a silverback gorilla, the ROG G752 packs power and style. While not the lightest of laptops, the GTX 970M inside ensures eye-popping visuals and smooth frame rates courtesy of its G-Sync screen. The G752's display tops out at 1080p, which helps it score points in the value department at the expense of crisper visuals on the desktop and in games.
The MSI GS60 Ghost Pro is a stylish machine with a 1080p display. It pairs a 970M with an Intel Core i7 6700HQ Skylake processor making it one of the most capable full HD laptops we've ever tested. It's something of a multimedia all-rounder too thanks to its excellent screen and formidable speakers - plus it has one of the most comfortable keyboards doing the rounds on a gaming laptop.
With its large plastic body and orange trim, the fifth version of Gigabyte's P57W maybe isn't the best looking gaming laptop around. But don't let that fool you: a combination of Intel's i7-6700HQ processor and Nvidia GTX 970M (with 3GB of video memory) results in a gaming laptop that eats modern titles for breakfast. You probably won't want to venture too far beyond 1080p, which isn't a huge problem as the P57Wv5's attractive IPS display makes up for its lack of Ultra HD gaming. 2b1af7f3a8