The Best Video Card for RAGE

If you plan to upgrade your video card for the sole purpose of playing RAGE on PC — in order to play on the platform that will deliver the best experience — then you’re in luck. Now is a great time to find moderately-priced PC alternatives to the PS3 and Xbox 360. When these consoles first came out, it took a powerful — and expensive — gaming rig to match their graphics, but with our current console generation on its way to the retirement home, you no longer have to spend a fortune.

Of course, it takes more than just a video card to run a game smoothly — a low-end processor can bottleneck the performance of a high-end card — but for our purposes today, we’re considering the gamer who isn’t looking for a complete system overhaul.

RAGE is being built on iD Tech 5, a completely new engine, so we have no frame of reference, no benchmarks from other games built on that engine. However, we do know the engine was first demonstrated in 2007, that the PS3 and Xbox 360 can handle its graphics, and the RAGE system requirements provided by Bethesda:

Minimum: GeForce 8800, Radeon HD 4200

Recommended: GeForce 9800 GTX, ATI Radeon HD 5550

Working off that baseline, we’ll be using as a pricing point and select from what they have in stock.

We won’t bother with the minimum specs — we’re looking for a card that can comfortably run the game, not limp along at minimum graphical settings and 20 FPS. We also won’t recommend the most expensive video card you can find — this isn’t about finding the most powerful card on the market. This is about price efficiency. Most recently-released video cards will be able to run RAGE better than a console — we’re looking to get the best bang for your buck.

Let’s use the recommended cards as a springboard: the GeForce 9800 GTX and the ATI Radeon HD 5550. You may have trouble finding these for sale; online retailers have mostly moved on to newer cards, and local shops will tend to overprice these old cards when you can purchase a newer, better model for a comparable price.

The Radeon HD 5570 1GB DDR3 can be found for as low as $55 and is a step up from the recommended 5550. The GeForce 9800 GTX is actually a more powerful card than the 5570, but is difficult to find in stock.

Don’t you dare get anything less powerful than the 5570 HD. We’re only going up from here.

The Radeon HD 5670 512MB DDR5 is available for $75. While it has less on-board RAM than the 5570, its RAM is faster, and the card has excellent power-to-cost value.

The Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 is available for as low as $110. I’ve been using the slightly less powerful HD 5750 for a couple years, and can comfortably run most current AAA titles at high and sometimes max settings. The 5770 is a touch better than my 5750 for the same price.

The Radeon HD 6790 1GB DDR5 is available for as low as $130 and brings you even closer to maxing out games. Better yet, it has the best power-to-cost value of all the cards on this list.

The Radeon HD 6870 is available for as low as $170. However, the Radeon HD 6850 actually has comparable benchmarks for as low as $150, making it an amazing deal for the price.

If you want something more powerful, we’re moving into the $200+ price range, and there’s no need to spend that much on a card for RAGE.

By now, you may think I’m a Radeon fan boy — not so. I’ve exclusively used Nvidia cards ever since the GeForce 4, up and until my switch to the Radeon 5750. Based on current prices and availability, Radeon just tends to deliver the better bang for your buck.

Ultimately, what card you should get depends on how much you’re willing to spend. On the cheaper end, you can’t go wrong with the Radeon HD 5670 512MB DDR5. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Radeon HD 6790 1GB DDR5 is an amazing deal.

Note: We have not run full benchmarks these cards or reviewed them separately in an official capacity. This article is intended as a consumer’s guide to help make a purchasing decision easier. Prices can change on a daily basis, and we recommend consumers do their research before any purchase.

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2 Comments on The Best Video Card for RAGE


On September 22, 2011 at 3:15 am

How about a listing for Nvidia equivalents?


On January 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

The radeon 6790 is a really poor choice for rage,even with the latest drivers and patches it won’t run the game at all(1 fps if that) The card will run bf3 on ultra so its not the card’s performance.Given that the game came out last year and they haven’t fixed the issues in the game/Amd’s open gls drivers it is a safe assumption they won’t bother now.Suggest anyone reading this goes with an nvidia card as amd cards have major issues with rage