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Ryan B.

CEG’s Graphics Card RGB Gallery

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When selecting a graphics card, gamers consider many things – price, performance, size, fit – and while it’s been meme’d to death, the finishing touch which RGB lighting provides is important to them. The RGB illumination that pulses from your graphics card serves as the bow that ties your PC build’s aesthetic together. In this article we’ll take a look at some of our favorite RGB displays from cards that we offer in our Graphics Card Leasing Program.

SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+ - PN: 11293-03-40G

In our previous article discussing the different AMD RX 5700 XT models we raved about the performance of the SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+ with it’s staggering 2035 MHz boost clock speed. The NITRO+ also boasts an impressive ARGB (alpha, red, green, blue) display, which you can customize with SAPPHIRE’s NITRO Glow software designed to change lighting displays for a more personalized gaming experience. The NITRO+ also comes equipped with ARGB fans (backlit RGB underneath the fans) that create a swirl effect when all three fans are engaged. The SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+ has excellent performance for its low price-point ($449.99) and the display pushes the card over the top.

GIGABYTE RTX 2080 Ti AORUS XTREME WATERFORCE - PN: GV-N208TAORUSX W-11GC

The first RTX 2080 Ti card from GIGABYTE that we have carried is the GIGABYTE RTX 2080 Ti AORUS XTREME WATERFORCE. The AORUS card boasts a radiator with two 120MM RGB fans that provide advanced cooling to the powerful GPU. Check out GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion 2.0 software utilizing an integrated intuitive user interface that provides personalized lighting effect customization in tandem with the RGB lighting on the fans. In addition, RGB Fusion 2.0 features a “gaming mode” which syncs the lighting effects with a certain selection of games to create an even more immersive gaming experience. The end result is this great looking, better performing graphics card!

GIGABYTE RTX 2060 SUPER AORUS - PN: GV-N206SAORUS-8GC

GIGABYTE smashed it out of the park with the RTX series GPUs when it comes to RGB, and our next entry is also from GIGABYTE: the GIGABYTE RTX 2060 SUPER AORUS. The card also uses RGB Fusion 2.0 and features a three fan design that utilizes GIGABYTE’s alternate spinning technology. The fans feature a truly unique tri-color RGB design that allows for multi-color lighting on each fan simultaneously. This design in conjunction with the alternate spin technology combine to create a cool warp-like effect.

MSI RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z - PN: RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z

The last card on the list – and my personal favorite – is the MSI RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z. Using the MSI Dragon Center software, the LIGHTNING Z boasts a plethora of innovative lighting features. MSI created dazzling RGB lighting effects that have endless combinations, and also included popular preset effects like “color fusion”, “lightning strike”, and “magic”. Another awesome feature is the OLED panel that sits on the top of the card. The screen allows for customizable animations that work in tandem with the RGB lighting display. Animations include displays that show GPU temperature, memory usage, fan speed and more. The LIGHTNING Z features a backlit RGB design that rests behind the fans similar to the GIGABYTE AORUS card that we discussed earlier.

CEG’s Graphics Card RGB Gallery

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When selecting a graphics card, gamers consider many things - price, performance, size, fit - and while it's been meme'd to death, the finishing touch which RGB lighting provides is…

What AMD RX 5700 XT GPU is Right For You?

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We recently started carrying AMD's new RX 5700 XT graphics cards and they've proven to be extremely popular among the Cutting Edge Gamer community. There are several different versions of…

NVIDIA’s New GPU Line: Ampere

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NVIDIA released the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti all the way back in September 27, 2018 and since then little has been revealed about what is coming next. Until recently, more…

How to Properly Clean a Graphics Card

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These are the items you will need to properly clean and test a card: Compressed Air Can Pipe Cleaners 99% Isopropyl Alcohol Q-tips Cleaning Rag Phillips Head Screw Driver All…

What AMD RX 5700 XT GPU is Right For You?

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We recently started carrying AMD’s new RX 5700 XT graphics cards and they’ve proven to be extremely popular among the Cutting Edge Gamer community. There are several different versions of the RX 5700 XT, and in this post we will explore the similarities and differences between them in an effort to help those of you readers who are trying to decide which of the RX 5700 XT cards is the right fit for you to lease or purchase.

XFX RX 5700 XT THICC II

The most recent addition to our graphics card inventory, the XFX RX 5700 XT THICC II, has earned its place in our GPU lineup. The THICC II boasts a sleek black finish and a dual fan configuration built upon XFX’s acclaimed Ghost Thermal 2.0 design. This design utilizes a 90% larger heat-sink which reduces noise by 35% (fans utilize idle-stop functionality, meaning fans won’t start spinning until the GPU is placed under a heavy load) while also keeping temperature yields low. AMD’s RX 5700 XT GPUs support the PCIe 4.0 interface, and the THICC II follows suit (note that PCIe 4.0 is currently only compatible with a Ryzen 3000 CPU and x570 motherboard). The THICC II utilizes the RDNA architecture that powers AMD’s 7nm GPUs delivering 1.25 performance per clock. The GPU also has 8GB of GDDR6 memory which allows for fast speeds and exceptional 1440p performance.

Performance-wise, the THICC II exceeds its NVIDIA counterpart (the RTX 2060 SUPER) in every way. In fact, the THICC II reaches frame rates that are close to even the RTX 2070 SUPER. The THICC II has a base clock of 1605 MHz and a boost clock of 1905 MHz. Currently, the XFX RX 5700 XT THICC II is available on our website for $50.99/month under our lease-to-own program, and also retails in most places for around $440.

The SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT PULSE & the SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+

The SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT PULSE and the SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+ serve as our first batch of RX 5700 XT GPUs made by SAPPHIRE. Both video cards provide great PC gaming performance at a low cost with each having distinct features that set them apart.

SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT PULSE

The SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT PULSE comes in a black/red/white color scheme which has a very different look from past SAPPHIRE cards. Like the XFX RX 5700 XT THICC II, the PULSE utilizes a 2-fan design. SAPPHIRE’s Dual-X cooling technology keeps the GPU, memory, and VRM components cool under heavy loads while keeping noise levels low. The PULSE features the new PCIe 4.0 interface and has 8GB of GDDR6 memory. Both the base clock (1670 MHz) and boost clock (1925 MHz) are faster for the PULSE when compared to the THICC II. The PULSE is available for lease on our website for $50.99/month and retails for $420-$430.

SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+

The SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+, the first 3-fan RX 5700 XT graphics card that we’ve carried thus far, is quite different from its other 5700 XT peers. The NITRO+ boasts all of the same game-changing features that the aforementioned RX 5700 XT cards have: PCIe 4.0, 7nm manufacturing process, and AMD’s RDNA architecture, but that’s where the similarities end. The NITRO+ has a much higher base clock (1770 MHz) than the THICC II and the PULSE, and its boost clock can reach up to 2010 MHz! To put that into perspective, most of NVIDIA’s 2080 SUPER cards have boost clock speeds that top out around 1900 MHz. The NITRO+’s lightning clock speed is possible thanks to SAPPHIRE’s Trixx Boost software. By slightly lowering resolution, Trixx Boost bumps up SAPPHIRE’s already impressive overclock speeds to unprecedented levels never before seen from AMD cards. That takes us to the best part about the NITRO+, the price. Gamers can get their hands on a NITRO+ for ~$460 or lease one from us for $53.99/month! In my opinion, the SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT NITRO+ is the best 5700 XT video card, and one of the best GPUs in general, that money can buy.

MSI RX 5700 XT MECH OC & the MSI RX 5700 XT EVOKE OC
MSI RX 5700 XT MECH OC

The first batch of MSI RX 5700 XT cards that we’ve made available are the MSI RX 5700 XT EVOKE OC & the MSI RX 5700 XT MECH OC. Both of the cards have a dual fan design with two distinct aesthetics. The MECH features the TORX Fan 3.0 design which has reduced GPU temperatures by 11%. The MECH has a base clock of 1670 MHz and a boost clock of 1925 MHz. This places the card on par with with the SAPPHIRE RX 5700 XT PULSE performance-wise. Like the other 5700 XT cards, the MECH is built upon AMD’s new RDNA architecture. The MECH retails for ~$420, and you can lease one from us for $50.99/month.

The MSI RX 5700 XT EVOKE OC is similar in performance to the MECH, but different in design. The card boasts a beautiful champagne gold trim with a carved grill to improve dissipation. ZeroFrozr technology keeps the fan noise down under low loads, and TORX fan 3.0 keeps the GPU temperatures down. The EVOKE has slightly higher clock speeds compared to the MECH with a base clock of 1690 MHZ and a boost clock of 1945 MHz. The EVOKE is slightly more expensive than the MECH, retailing for ~$430, and you can lease on from us for $51.99/month. Choosing between these cards is more about personal aesthetic preference, and both cards will provide smooth 1440p gaming performance.

MSI RX 5700 XT EVOKE OC
Conclusion

AMD really hit it out of the park with the RX 5700 XT cards, and gamers are praising them more than any other GPU in recent memory. Whether you decide to go with the THICC II, PULSE, NITRO+, MECH or EVOKE, the RX 5700 XT will certainly elevate your PC gaming experience. If you’re interested in getting your hands on one of these cards, check out or graphics cards leasing program!

Comparing the 2080 Ti & 1080 Ti

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Introduction

With the launch of the RTX-series graphics cards, NVIDIA has cemented itself as the premier GPU manufacturer in PC gaming. The RTX 2080 Ti is the most powerful GPU in gaming, boasting unprecedented performance utilizing NVIDIA’s new Turing architecture and ray tracing technology. Gamers around the world are spending big money to upgrade their systems to include NVIDIA’s latest and greatest GPU, but how does it compare to the king of old – the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti? In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two cards, and explore whether it is an absolute necessity to upgrade.

Specifications

When it was released back in 2017, the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti was an absolute game changer. At the time, the 1080 Ti provided gamers with the biggest performance jump between Ti cards ever seen, with some estimating an increase of up to 35% over the previous generation’s GTX 980 Ti. Such an absurd performance increase makes it easy to understand why the 1080 Ti was (and continues to be) such a beloved GPU among gamers.

With this in mind, consider how insane it would sound if you told a gamer back in 2017 that an even more powerful card – capable of performing 30% better than the reigning king of GPUs – was merely a year away. The release of the RTX 2080 Ti was met with even greater enthusiasm than the 1080 Ti, and it currently dominates the PC gaming market. So how do these cards compare? Let’s take a look at the chart below.

As you can tell from the chart, the RTX 2080 Ti boasts improvements in nearly every specification over the 1080 Ti. CUDA cores have increased by nearly 1,000 cores from 3,584 to 4,352. This increase is astounding in its own right, but even more impressive is the addition of new RT and Tensor cores to the 2080 Ti. The new RT cores help to push the boundaries of the GPU’s graphical capabilities, and allows for the card to render images using highly anticipated ray tracing technology. The tensor cores work to more efficiently process anti-aliasing (smoothing) of images using artificial intelligence (AI).

In terms of clock speed, the 1080 Ti actually has a higher base clock compared to the RTX 2080 Ti (1,481 MHz vs 1,350 MHz respectively) but the real difference is in the boost clock. The 1080 Ti has a 1,582 MHz boost clock which is excellent and still measures up alongside many of the newer models of GPUs. Despite the impressive boost clock of the 1080 Ti, NVIDIA’s RTX 2080 Ti speeds past it. Thanks to a 90MHz factory overclock, the 2080 Ti reaches a max boost clock frequency of 1,635 MHz!

The 2080 Ti also comes packed with 11GB of GDDR6 video memory compared to the 1080 Ti’s 11GB of GDDR5X. The GDDR6 has lower power consumption and draws slightly less power than the GDDR5X. The memory speed for the 2080 Ti is also considerably higher at 14 Gbps (gigabytes per second) versus 11 Gbps for the 1080 Ti.

Performance

Performance-wise, the 2080 Ti leaves the 1080 Ti in its dust. This is not a slight against the 1080 Ti (which remains a considerably powerful card) but more a testament to just how powerful the 2080 Ti truly is. The 2080 Ti passes the 4K/60 fps test when games are played on ultra settings, with some games reaching 100+ fps! Furthermore, the 2080 Ti also draws less power than its 1080 Ti counterpart, although it does reach higher operating temperatures.

Setting the RTX 2080 Ti aside, the 1080 Ti is still an extremely high-performing GPU. Many have compared the 1080 Ti’s performance to the non-Ti RTX 2080 model, and they do perform very closely. However, the 1080 Ti runs on NVIDIA’s old Pascal architecture while the RTX 2080 utilizes the new Turing architecture and ray tracing. This allows the 2080 to perform tasks faster, and also provides higher processing capabilities.

Looking at the FurMark scores posted above, one can see the significant performance gap between NVIDIA’s two GPUs. Some have claimed that running two 1080 Ti cards in SLI can produce similar (some say better) performance than the 2080 Ti, but that is mostly untrue. First of all, many games do not support SLI. Secondly, there are scaling issues with running SLI between two cards that often affects performance. In most cases, it is better to run a one card setup, and as the RTX 2080 Ti is the most powerful single consumer card money can buy it is your best option.

Price

NVIDIA’s RTX 2080 Ti may well be the most powerful GPU on the market, but it does come with a hefty price tag. The Founders Edition RTX 2080 Ti (900-1G150-2530-000) that we looked at earlier retails for around $1,199 and some 2080 Ti models retail for upwards of $1,899!

The 2080 Ti comes at a steep price, but how does it compare to 1080 Ti cards currently? To get your hands on a new 1080 Ti, you’ll still be shelling out around $1,000. Availability for new 1080 Ti cards has become increasingly limited ever since the launch of the RTX cards while popularity for the cards hasn’t diminished. This has contributed to the static pricing of the 1080 Ti model cards. You can find used 1080 Ti’s for ~$600, but even then a new RTX 2080 card of comparable specs can be purchased for nearly the same price. And as we discussed above, the RTX cards run on the new Turing architecture which allows for the ray tracing features to be utilized – something that the 1080 Ti cannot do, and something which can help you future proof your new PC.

Conclusion

So what have we learned? While the RTX 2080 Ti has proven to be a drastic improvement over its predecessor, the 1080 Ti continues to display enduring success and is a favorite GPU among PC gamers around the world. The 1080 Ti was an industry-leading game changer when it first arrived on the scene, and has set the standard for what graphics cards are capable of doing. Its high-performance, sleek design, and overall quality has solidified its place at the forefront of PC gaming. Pricing continues to be high for a new 1080 Ti card, and graphics cards of similar performance, namely the RTX 2080, are significantly cheaper.

The 1080 Ti will always have its place in PC gaming history as one of the cards that changed the game, but even still, the RTX 2080 Ti is such a vast improvement. If you are looking to upgrade your GPU but are frightened by the price tag on the 2080 Ti , but do not want to compromise your performance, we would recommend take a look at getting yourself a 1080 Ti.

Exploring the Hype Behind AMD’s 3000-Series CPUs

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Introduction

Last month, AMD announced the launch of its third generation of Ryzen CPUs. The Ryzen 3000s (a lineup consisting of five different CPU models across various price-points) were announced with a massive amount of hype, and gamers around the world were waiting anxiously with anticipation for their eventual release.

The time came arrived and AMD did not disappoint: The Ryzen 3000 CPUs might be their biggest success yet.

Boasting improvements in nearly every performance category compared to the massively successful Ryzen 2000 CPUs, The Ryzen 3000 is here to usher in the future of PC gaming.

The Lineup

The AMD Ryzen 3000 series consists of five CPU models: the 3600, 3600x, 3700x, 3800x, and the 3900x. All of the CPUs operate on AMD’s Zen-2 architecture, the successor to the Zen and Zen Plus architectures from previous generations of Ryzen CPUs. We’ll discuss the Zen-2 architecture later on, but for now let’s focus on the different CPU models.

The Ryzen 5 3600 is the cheapest model (retailing for around $200). It offers 6 cores and 12 threads, with a base clock of 3.6 GHz, and a boost clock of 4.2 GHz. The upgraded version of the 3600, the Ryzen 5 3600x, has the same number of cores/threads but a slightly higher base and boost clock speeds, clocking in around 3.8 GHz and 4.4 GHz respectively. This model retails for ~$250.

The Ryzen 7 3700x retails for ~$330, and has a slightly lower base clock (3.5 GHz) but its boost clock reaches 4.4 GHz. The main difference is in the cores/threads. The 3700x has 8 cores and 16 threads compared to the 6/12 configuration for the 3600 and 3600x. This gives the 3700x a significant boost in processing power, speeding up the execution of applications.

Next we have the Ryzen 9 3800x. These CPUs retail for ~$400, and will offer performance upgrades over the 3700x, with a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a boost clock of 4.5 GHz. The 3800x also has a significantly higher TDP than the 3700x, pulling 105w compared to the 65w for the 3700x.

Lastly, we have the CPU to rule them all – the Ryzen 9 3900x. The impressive 3900x is the first mainstream consumer CPU to have 12 cores and 24 threads. It boasts a base clock of 3.8 GHz and a boost clock of 4.6 GHz. The 3900x is being hailed as the “best mainstream CPU on the market” and rightfully so. The CPU can be purchased for $500, and is a direct competitor with Intel’s new i9-9900k.

Zen-2 Architecture

As mentioned previously, the next Ryzen 3000 CPUs are manufactured with AMD’s new Zen-2 architecture. Built upon 7nm and 12nm process nodes, the Zen-2 processors increase instructions per clock (IPC) by a significant margin over previous versions of the Zen architecture. The chipset for the new 3000 CPUs is the x570, and they are based on the same AM4 socket utilized in the last two generations of Zen.

A massively significant improvement with the Ryzen 3000 CPU architecture is the inclusion of PCIe 4.0. With the capability to nearly double the bandwidth of PCIExpress 3.0, PCIe 4.0 will allow for ridiculous speed and amazing graphics. SSD performance will reach nearly 30% better performance with PCIe 4.0.

It’s been rumored that AMD already has plans for Zen-3 in the works, but for now Zen-2 stands as an incredibly impressive CPU architecture.

Conclusion

Having researched many of the new CPUs hitting the market in the last few months, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900x is head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Offering ridiculous processing capabilities with its multi-thread cores, PCIe 4.0, and increased IPC, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900x is sure to give you unprecedented PC gaming performance.

The 3000 CPUs are already extremely popular, and initial stock sold out very quickly. People all over the world lined up for a chance to get their hands on the new CPUs, and many went home empty handed. Availability is currently very limited with no real updates from AMD. If you want to get your hands on one, you’ll have to get lucky finding one!

Preview: The NVIDIA RTX Super Series

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Introduction

Last week, NVIDIA shook up the PC gaming world once again with the announcement of its brand new line of graphics cards – the RTX SUPER series. Due to hit shelves a mere nine months after the launch of the massively successful Geforce 20-series, the RTX SUPER GPUs arrive boasting high performance, sleek design, and low cost. In this article, I will discuss what sets the SUPER cards apart from the rest of the field.

Performance

You might be wondering what kind of performance boost a RTX SUPER graphics card will give you vs a regular RTX GPU. The answer, in short, is a big boost. Referencing the chart below depicting some recent scores from FurMark tests we ran, let’s take a look at the performance between the RTX 2060 SUPER and the original RTX 2060.

The RTX 2060 SUPER is an upgrade over the RTX 2060 in seemingly every specification category including processing cores (2,176 vs 1,920), base clock (1,470 MHz vs 1,365 MHz), video memory (8GB vs 6GB), memory interface (256-bit vs 192-bit), and more. In fact, the RTX 2060 SUPER shares many similarities performance/spec-wise with the original RTX 2070 and scores closely. Similarly, the RTX 2070 SUPER is on par (slightly lower performance) with the original RTX 2080. In addition to the performance boost, the SUPER GPUs all run NVIDIA’s Turing architecture which means that they’ll all be capable or real-time ray tracing and support other advanced gaming features like NVIDIA adaptive shading, mesh shading, deep learning super sampling, and more.

While the RTX 2080 Ti still reigns king over the growing field of PC gaming GPUs, the RTX SUPER series cards serve to fill in the gaps between the current tiers of performance. If you’re looking to get a little more out of your current GPU, upgrading to a SUPER series graphics card could provide you with a significant boost.

Price

When AMD announced its new NAVI 5700 GPUs, it seemed like they were in a real position to secure the low-mid level pricing tier of graphics cards. Within days, NVIDIA announced the pricing for the RTX SUPER cards and all of a sudden, AMD was worried. In fact, the pricing on these new SUPER GPUs was so competitive for the performance that AMD had to lower the prices on their new NAVI cards. So what will it cost you to get your hands on one of the new SUPER cards?

Available July 9th, pricing for the RTX 2060 SUPER starts at $399.99 (vs $349.99 for the regular 2060), and the RTX 2070 SUPER starts at $499.99. Later in the month on July 23rd, the RTX 2080 SUPER will be available starting at $699.99. That means that you can get a RTX 2070 SUPER and a RTX 2080 SUPER for the same price as their regular RTX counterparts!

AMD RX 5700 vs NVIDIA RTX SUPER

So how do the NVIDIA SUPER cards compare to the AMD RX 5700 cards? We already discussed price (and the fact that AMD had to lower their pricing to compete NVIDIA’s own aggressive pricing model) in which AMD has a slight edge over NVIDIA, but is the performance worth the price?

Taking a look back at the graph of FurMark scores we referenced earlier, we can see that the RX 5700 outperforms the 2060, and that for the same price of $399.99, the RX 5700 XT outperforms the RTX 2060 SUPER. So if you’re looking for a card in that $300-$400 range, the AMD cards are very nice pickups if your looking to buy or finance a graphics card with solid performance. However, if you take a the leap and spend that extra $100, the RTX 2070 SUPER provides a significant performance leap over both AMD cards. If we go to the RTX 2080 SUPER tier, none of the other cards even come close.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the NVIDIA RTX SUPER series cards package considerable PC gaming performance at a reasonable cost. If you’re one of our members who recently leased a RTX 2060, 2070, or 2080 – don’t worry – we’ll have the SUPERS soon and you can always upgrade at any time!

The PC vs Console Gaming Debate

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Introduction

Over the course of the video gaming industry’s nearly four decade history, video games – and the companies that produce them – have diversified in their uniqueness and creativity. As the popularity of video games has grown, so has the number of mediums on which they are played. Today, gamers have a wide range of choices to consider when selecting the best platform most suitable for enjoying their favorite games: Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo, & more. In addition to theses well-known, more traditional home-entertainment consoles, PC gaming has grown significantly in recent years. The growing selection of gaming platforms has led to a schism among gamers centered around one integral question – which is better: console or PC gaming? Some extremely passionate debate has spread throughout the gaming community regarding this topic, and in this article I will discuss some of the similarities and differences that makes PC and console gaming truly unique experiences.

Graphics

Graphics in video games have come a long way over the years. Gone are the days of block-y pixelated landscapes and textures, and in are the hyper-realistic real world simulations. Most modern gaming platforms are capable of outputting amazing graphics, but what sets them apart? While the Nintendo Switch can produce some good-looking games, it prioritizes quality games and playability over graphics. Leading the consoles in terms of graphics output is Microsoft’s Xbox One X and Sony’s Playstation 4 Pro. Of the the three main home-entertainment consoles, these are the most powerful machines. Both consoles are capable of producing producing high quality textures and details at high resolutions while also possessing the capability of outputting in 4K. Of the two, the Xbox One X is the more powerful machine. It doesn’t suffer from dynamic scaling issues that the PS4 Pro has been known to suffer from, and it often runs the same games at higher resolutions. So to recap, Microsoft’s Xbox One X is the most graphically capable gaming console, but how does it compare to a PC with a high-end graphics card?

Some of our members who’ve been able to lease one of our new RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards will tell you that nothing can compare graphically to NVIDIA’s new series of ultra powerful GPU’s. With this new line of GPUs, video game graphics have reached never before seen heights. Real-time ray tracing has paved the way for the most realistic simulations of light in video games to date. DLSS ( an edge-smoothing technology that uses AI to boost performance and output the highest possible resolutions) support has taken graphics even further. Gaming seamlessly in 4K, gaming on a PC with a high-end graphics card edges out what the big three consoles can do in terms of graphics output.

Price

Probably the most significant factor impacting a gamer’s platform decision is price. In terms of price, Nintendo has always been the most affordable option. The Nintendo Switch has a huge selection of great titles available on its platform, and you can pick up a Switch for only $300. Compared to Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony’s consoles are a bit more expensive. The Xbox One X retails for $499.99 and the Playstation 4 Pro will cost you $399.99.

But how does the PC stack up price-wise against the other home entertainment platforms? Simply put, not good. While PC gaming has many advantages, it is often the most costly option for playing your favorite games. Graphics cards alone can cost upwards of $2,000 – and that’s without the entire rest of your PC build! Many PC enthusiasts turn to services like ours here Cutting Edge Gamer to lease a GPU, essentially financing a graphics card with monthly payments. So if you’re looking to game affordably without having to finance a graphics card, the Nintendo Switch is the platform for you!

Customization

There’s plenty of reasons to prefer one gaming platform over the others. Maybe you like  Xbox over Playstation because of your controller preference. Maybe you like the Switch for its affordability and portability. Maybe you prefer Playstation’s exclusive game titles over the others. With PC, you have the ability to bridge many of these preferences. You can use a wide array of different controllers (including Xbox and Playstation), keyboard and mouse, joystick, etc. You can play games available on Steam, Origin, Epic, etc. Not to mention you can customize the hardware within the PC itself far more than the consoles. Simply put, gaming on a PC offers more diversity and customization. Of course there are console exclusives that aren’t available on the PC too, however. At the end of the day, like all things, your gaming selection will come down to comfort and preference.

Ray Tracing: The Power Behind NVIDIA’s 20-Series GPUs

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What Is Ray Tracing?

Remember in August of last year when NVIDIA announced the launch of the brand new RTX 20 series graphics cards  and the internet exploded with speculation and mass hysteria? I do. That’s because the announcement of a new line of graphics cards – the successor to the incredibly popular Geforce 10 series – from NVIDIA was and still is a big deal.

Boasting unprecedented graphics capabilities and pc gaming performance,  the anticipation for the RTX 20 series cards was so high that NVIDIA faced extreme difficulty fulfilling initial orders for the cards during the immediate months proceeding the launch. Feeding into the anticipation was the announcement that the new RTX cards would have the computing capability to perform ray tracing in real time. Now if you’re like me, you probably asked yourself, “Well, what the hell is ray tracing?” I wouldn’t blame you for not understanding, especially after NVIDIA’s meme-able RTX ON/RTX OFF video. Dubbed “the holy grail of gaming graphics” by NVIDIA, ray tracing – simply put – is a rendering technique that “traces” a path or paths of light in a digital image to create a realistic simulation of the interaction between the light and a virtual object. Still sounds confusing, right? Let’s look at the example below.

RTX ON/RTX OFF

Here we have two screenshots from EA’s Battlefield V running on our testing rig using an EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 GAMING card. Both images have impressive graphics, but there are subtle differences that set the RTX cards apart from previous graphics cards. In the first image, you can see the explosion near my character, but notice how the foreground of the scene remains dark. Now look at the second image. Notice how the light from the fire illuminates the gun my character is holding and how it reflects of the puddles of water on the ground? That’s the effect ray tracing produces. Any way I decide to have my character move throughout the scene, the light from the fire will reflect off of surfaces that it normally would in real life, and adjust accordingly in real time. In contrast, in the first image you can see the fire, but you cannot see how the light from the fire illuminates and reflects off the metal on my character’s gun or the water puddles. The comparison below further illustrates the effects of ray tracing on virtual objects.

Enabling Ray Tracing

Alright now that you know what ray tracing is, you’ll need to know how to turn it on. Unfortunately, activating ray tracing isn’t as simple as slapping a RTX gpu in your system and playing a ray tracing enabled game. You’ll have to make sure you’ve completed a couple of steps first:

  1. Make sure that the GPU drivers are up to date.
  2. Update Windows 10 to at least version 1089 (You may have to manually download this update).
  3. Go to the video settings in your ray tracing enabled game (Battlefield V is under “Advanced” video settings) and enable DX12.
  4. You’ll have to then restart the game for the changes to take effect.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to experience ray tracing in all its glory!

Conclusion

Look, I know what you’re thinking. Improved lighting effects and renderings? Really? It might seem like a trivial upgrade, but real-time ray tracing is a big deal and an enormous step forward in terms of what pc gaming graphics are capable of. It uses cutting edge technology to visualize lighting in a way never before possible in real time. While there aren’t many games currently available that utilize NVIDIA’s ray tracing feature (Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodues, etc.), you will find yourself playing one that does soon, when you do remember to turn ray tracing on!