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Close to the Metal Episode 4: Who makes the best video card?

Nvidia’s release of the GTX 1060 just a month after AMD’s debut of its Radeon RX 480 has forced us to wade into a question fraught with peril. Which of these companies deliver the best product for gamers?

That’s not an easy question to tackle, but the GTX 1060 and RX 480 give us an ideal platform for it. Both cards are new, and use the best architecture and production technology each company can muster. They’re also priced similarly, targeting the mid-range market between $200 and $250.

Reviewers have found that, generally, speaking, the GTX 1060 has a performance edge. But its margin of victory can be small, and appears to dwindle as resolution increases. There’s also major differences in how each card handles DirectX 12. AMD has an edge in that area, sometimes substantially so — but with DX12 titles still few in number, how much does that win matter?

Pitting the green team against the red team is complicated enough. And then Intel enters the equation. The company’s integrated graphics hardware has never been the ideal choice for gaming, but its minimum level of performance has increased over the years. Are the situations where Intel’s HD graphics can actually provide a viable alternative to a discrete card? And what, for that matter, about AMD — which also offers integrated Radeon graphics in some of its processors?

We’ll tackle these controversial questions, and more, in the fourth episode of Close to the Metal. It’s sure to be a fight.

This podcast features Matt Smith, Brad Bourque and Greg Nibler.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Wednesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.