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Minecraft is one of the most popular games of all time. It’s also a common starting point for people to get into PC gaming. This means quite a lot of people will purchase or build a PC specifically for Minecraft. When it comes to graphics cards, you want to make sure you buy one that can actually run the game, but you probably don’t want to spend too much on a graphics card that’s overkill. This is especially true considering Minecraft doesn’t actually require a very powerful graphics card and is much more CPU heavy.
In this guide we’ll take a look everything you need to consider when deciding on a GPU, and then look at some of the best graphics cards for Minecraft to hopefully find one which is perfect for your needs.
Things to Consider
Before you decide on which graphics card will be best for you, there are a few things you need to consider. Primarily, whether or not you actually need a new graphics card or if a new CPU will be a better option.
- Minecraft is more CPU intensive than GPU intensive – Compared to some beautiful looking modern AAA games like The Witcher 3 or Tomb Raider, Minecraft is quite unimpressive graphically. Because of this, it doesn’t actually require a powerful graphics card to run. However, what it does require is a fairly powerful CPU. If you’re current setup is struggling to run Minecraft, head over to Game Debate to see if it is your graphics card, CPU, or perhaps your RAM that needs upgrading.
- Minecraft with shaders – Having said that Minecraft doesn’t require a powerful graphics card, it’s a slightly different story if you will be using shaders. Shaders are mods you can install which turn the games fairly plain graphics into something quite beautiful. If you install shaders, you will need a little bit more power in the graphics card department. Check out the video below to see what shaders do.
- Your monitors resolution and refresh rate – You also need to consider your monitors resolution and refresh rate. A higher resolution will require a better graphics card to run smoothly. Likewise, if your monitor has a high refresh rate, you probably want to get a graphics card that is powerful enough to get enough FPS to make use of it.
- Other games you might play – Although Minecraft isn’t graphically demanding, many popular games are. If you will only be playing Minecraft or other easy-to-run games like CSGO for example, you can get away with a cheaper card. But if you also plan on playing newer, graphically demanding games like Battlefield 1 or The Witcher 3, you will need to invest a bit more.
Best Graphics Cards for Minecraft
Whether you need a super budget-friendly graphics card perfect for running Minecraft or something a bit more powerful for running shaders and more demanding games, we have you covered. Depending on your situation, and as long as the rest of your rig is up to snuff, all three of the cards below are great for running Minecraft.
1. Nvidia GeForce GT 710
The GT 710 is an extremely budget-friendly graphics card. It’s quite old now and not very powerful at all, but for running Minecraft without shaders it should easily get 60 FPS at 1080p. However, if you have a higher resolution monitor or plan on also playing graphically demanding games, you will need a more powerful card.
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 GPU
- 1GB 64-bit DDR3 VRAM
- 1 HDMI, 1 DL-DVI-D and 1 VGA (D-sub)
- Low-profile Design
See the GT 710 in action.
2. Nvidia GeForce GT 1030
The GT 1030 covers the middle ground. It’s quite a bit more powerful than the GT 710 and is certainly capable of running Minecraft with shaders at around 60 FPS at 1080p. This card will also run most modern AAA games, but you will likely only get around 30 – 40 FPS on low or medium settings.
- Chipset NVIDIA GeForce gt 1030
- Video Memory 2GB GDDR5
- Memory Clock 6008 MHz interface PCI Express x16 3 0
- DisplayPort/ HDMI
See the GT 1030 in action.
3. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
The GTX 1050 is an entry level graphics card, part of the latest Nvidia GTX 10 series. For running Minecraft, it’s about as powerful as you will need to go. As long as your CPU can handle it, you should be able to get well over 60 FPS with shaders installed at 1080p. This makes it a good option if you have a 144hz (or similar) monitor. You should also consider the GTX 1050 if you have a 1440p monitor. This card should run most AAA games at around 60 FPS which is perfectly playable in my opinion.
- Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
- Video Memory: 2GB GDDR5
- Memory Interface: 128-bit
- Bus: PCI-Express 3.0 x16
See the GTX 1050 in action.
Last update on 2021-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API