Choosing the right combination of graphics cards is critical for a Dream PC as they are responsible for rendering games so that the on-screen action looks good, is fast, fluid and smooth. We recommend NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards, but just what is it that makes these cards so good?
The graphics cards in a Dream PC are tasked with rendering the on-screen graphics. Selecting the appropriate NVIDIA GeForce graphics card will determine which games you can play smoothly on your Dream PC. Although NVIDIA produces a huge variety of GeForce cards, ranging all the way from £80 to £900 inc VAT, we do not recommend the cheaper cards in our Dream PCs as they do deliver the ultimate gaming experience.
The table below shows which GeForce graphics cards we would recommend for a Dream PC. The best way to choose the right graphics cards is to select what gaming monitor you'll be playing at. Choosing a higher resolution monitor will make games look sharper and allow you see more of the game world at once, giving you an edge versus your competitors.
All Scan 3XS Dream PCs have the ability to support more than one GeForce card. Multiple GeForce cards use SLI technology to split the workload between the cards, making games run even faster than on a single card.
We hand select the best NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards for our Dream PCs, cherry picking the cards that overclock the most and run the coolest – ensuring you get the best experience with your Dream PC.
|GEFORCE||BEST FOR||OPTIMUM RESOLUTION|
|GTX 1070||Maximum quality settings in all games||2560 x 1440 (QHD)|
|2x GTX 1070||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|GTX 1080||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|2x GTX 1080||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|GTX 1080 Ti||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|2x GTX 1080 Ti||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|RTX 2080||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|2x RTX 2080||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|RTX 2080 Ti||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
|2x RTX 2080 Ti||Maximum quality settings in all games||3440 x 1440 (UW) or 3840 x 2160 (4K)|
We've also measured the performance of the most popular combinations of GeForce graphics cards in the 3DMark benchmark at these different resolutions. In each of the graphs a higher number indicates faster performance, which will mean a smoother frame rate in games.
2560 x 1440 (QHD)
2x GTX 1080 Ti
2x GTX 1080
GTX 1080 Ti
3840 x 2160 (4K)
2x GTX 1080 Ti
2x GTX 1080
GTX 1080 Ti
Nobody likes a PC that makes too much noise, the fans can break your attention when you’re gaming and are distracting during casual PC uses such as web browsing and watching videos. We recommend water cooling the graphics cards in our Dream PCs, as this significantly reduces noise and enables our engineers to overclock the graphics cards, boosting performance even further.
It’s one thing having the fastest graphics cards, but that doesn’t mean much if your graphics cards don’t have good drivers. To ensure that your GeForce cards give the ultimate experience NVIDIA runs a two pronged programme called The Way It’s Meant to be Played, or TWIMTBP for short.
The first element of TWIMTBP is an army of coders that NVIDIA sends out to help games developers optimise their game. You can tell which games have been optimised using TWIMTBP because they’ll display the program logo when loading and will run best on GeForce cards. Some TWIMTBP games even support exclusive GeForce features that aren’t supported by other manufacturers cards so look even better than other games.
The second element of TWIMTBP is NVIDIA’s promise to release updated drivers for every new major game, improving your experience and frame rate. If you have GeForce Experience installed, this will alert you every time a new driver is available to install. Alternatively you can visit the GeForce website and download a driver manually.
After you’ve enjoyed the luscious intro film of a game comes the dark side of PC gaming – messing around in the graphics settings menu for what seems like hours trying to find the best balance between graphics and a smooth frame rate.
NVIDIA has a solution for this too; the clever software packaged GeForce Experience. Integrated with the driver, with a single click GeForce Experience will search all the games you have installed and set their graphics settings for the best experience, without having to enter a single menu or manually tweak a configuration file.
GeForce Experience is powered by a huge cluster of servers at NVIDIA full of different graphics cards playing the latest games; and from this data NVIDIA knows which graphics settings to adjust on your PC to give the best blend of eye popping graphics and a smooth frame rate.
GeForce Experience supports more than 200 PC games with more being added all the time, simplifying the process of configuring new games, giving you more time to enjoy the latest titles.
GeForce Experience not only helps to configure games but it also has the facility to record your games. ShadowPlay records a video stream straight off the graphics card, so is far faster than traditional game recorders such as FRAPS which slash the frame rate when recording.
Using ShadowPlay you can manually record a gaming session or using Shadow Mode it will automatically record the last 20 minutes of gaming. ShadowPlay can record up to 4K and has a built in function for uploading your greatest moments to online services such as Twitch.
PC games take up a lot of storage space, you can read our Dream PC Storage Guide to optimise your Dream PC so that you have the perfect blend of capacity and performance.
A Dream PC is the ultimate way to game, as the variety of games is far wider than any console and the more advanced graphics really help to draw you into the experience. However, there are times when you simply want to chill on the settee or sit in the garden and play games.
GeForce graphics cards can make this happen, via a technology called Gamestream. GameStream allows you to wirelessly stream games from your Dream PC with GeForce graphics cards to an NVIDIA Shield tablet, with all the processing work being done of your Dream PC. Of course, most PC games won’t really play very well if at all on an 8in touchscreen, so NVIDIA has also made an optional gamepad for the Shield. And while this will never take the place of a keyboard and mouse for an FPS or RTS game, the Shield gamepad is ideal for action, adventure and puzzle games. Like all good tablets, the Shield also has a mini-HDMI port, so you can connect it to a big-screen TV for watching TV, films and PC games via GameStream too.
This combination of GameStream and Shield is so potent it makes games consoles with their sub-PC graphics utterly redundant as with a GeForce card and a Shield tablet you can play PC games in your living room without having a PC in your living room.
Find out more about the amazing NVIDIA Shield Tablet.
Unfortunately, even if you own a Dream PC with three GeForce graphics cards you will still experience occasional tearing and stuttering in games. This happens when graphics cards send a rendered frame to the monitor while it is in the middle of a refresh, and so only the part of the monitor that still hasn't been refreshed will be updated with the new frame. This is known as tearing and is extremely distracting, with tall vertical objects split in half across the screen as you can see in the image above of a racing simulator.
Because monitors run at a fixed refresh rate, the graphics cards and monitor will only be in sync if the GPU is outputting at the refresh rate of the monitor, which is extremely rare as the frame rate changes from second to second as you move about in the game, so it's impossible for a graphics card to always output at the same frame rate.
A traditional work around for this problem is vsync, a feature that GeForce drivers do support. vsync forces the monitor to only display whole frames, eliminating tearing, but causing the monitor to skip over any frames that are sent over by the graphics card while the monitor is refreshing. This skipping is visible as a stutter, and is really visible when the frame rate changes a lot, such as when moving the view in the game world around quickly with the mouse.
However, you can bid farewell to both tearing and stuttering by partnering the GeForce cards in your Dream PC with a G-Sync Monitor. G-Sync monitors have an extra processor that enables the graphics cards to adjust the refresh rate of the monitor dynamically. This results in the monitor only refreshing when the GPU has finished rendering a new frame. The result is a silky smooth gaming experience, rather than one that suffers from ugly and distracting tearing (vsync off) or annoying stutters (vsync on). In short, G-Sync is amazing and arguably the biggest step forward in visual quality since the switch from software to hardware 3D acceleration.
A high resolution monitor with NVIDIA G-Sync really helps to draw you into games, but regardless how large a screen you buy you can still the real world at the edges of the screen.
In contrast, a virtual reality headset completely fills your field of view, drawing you into games in a way no monitor can. Scan 3XS Dream PCs feature the latest Intel processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards and are VR Ready certified - ensuring a great experience when playing games in VR.
VR headsets also track the movement of your head, so instead of panning your view in the game around with the mouse you move your head naturally and the headset does the rest for you. Some VR headsets will also be bundled with controllers that mimic your hands, allowing you to interact with objects in-game far more naturally than with a keyboard and mouse.