If you are building a gaming computer then you probably already know that the graphics card is one of the most important parts of your rig.

It's always a good idea to try and get the best modern card that you can get with your money as it is the main deciding factor in the games you can play and the graphical fidelity you will be able to achieve.

You'll want a graphics card that will be easy on your wallet, but also keep you gaming for a few years.

In this article we will look at the top 5 graphics cards for 2012 and help you decide which one is best for your computer and overall gmaing experience.


5. AMD Radeon HD 6970

 The 6000 series is AMD's latest series of mid to high-end graphics cards. The 6970 is the fastest available in it's line of single core graphics processing units and although AMD's single cores are typically a bit slower then Nvidia's this card is almost half the price of other high-end cards.

This card has all of the features you will need and some of the best rendering technology available but it is let down by a slightly lacking video memory. For the price this card cannot be beaten but if you have more to spend then you should consider one of the below options.


4. Nvidia GeForce GTX 580

 The GTX 580 is the first model in the 500 range of cards from Nvidia. For the cost the 580 is one of the best performing cards available today. It will deliver outstanding performance on all current-generation games but it may struggle with it's single core in the future.

Priced similarly to the AMD Radeon HD 6970, this is the better option overall.


3. ATI Radeon HD 5970

 The 5970 sacrifices extra features and space consciousness to deliver pure performance. The 5000 series is slowly being overtaken by the 6000 series but this is still one of the best cards on the market.

If you have the space in your rig for a larger-sized card then this is going to do everything you need it to for now and a good time into the future.


2. Nvidia GeForce GTX 590

 The Nvidia GTX 590 is the biggest card available in the 500 series and although it is quite pricey it offers some real punch. This card seemingly gives up some speed that it could otherwise have in order to run a bit more quietly when under a heavy workload.

This is great if you want to make a quieter machine but if you prefer raw power and don't mind a bit of extra whir then you should consider another card.


1. AMD Radeon HD 6990

 The 6990 from AMD is one of the most powerful cards on the market. However, this can be a hard card to get running correctly unless the rest of your machine is top-notch. Unless you are prepared to pay for a high-end machine in all other areas the 6990 is not the card for you, it would be like putting a jet engine on a bicycle.

However, if you plan on making the best machine money can buy then this card is the treat you are looking for.