PC gamers are used to upgrading their graphics cards quite frequently. Unlike CPUs, graphics cards do often see 30%+ improvement in performance with each subsequent generation and a new line of cards releases every year or two.
A triple-monitor or VR DCS setup is really going to be GPU a hog. But you don’t need to break the bank. Here is some good news: The newer VR headsets have a higher resolution which means you don’t need to enable Super Sampling as much. I run my Reverb at native resolution (100% super sampling) and get acceptable performance and super clarity. I had to run my Vive at 160% super sampling and it still looked bad. (Read my review of the Best VR headsets for DCS here if you want to know which is the best one).
Here are my top picks, or you can read the detailed breakdown below.
1. Best GPU for DCS (Premium Option)
- Real boost clock: 1800 MHz; Memory detail: 24576 MB GDDR6X.
- Real-time ray tracing in games for cutting-edge, hyper-realistic graphics.
The 3090 is the best premium option for DCS in VR right now. With a bit of tweaking and adjusting your graphics settings, you can maintain 90 FPS on most headsets. It will still drop below 90 sometimes because DCS is just not properly optimised that way. But the 3090 is still your best bet. The 3080 is almost similar in performance for a much cheaper cost but it is almost impossible to find.
You may get lag on missions which have a lot of entities like ground troops, ships and other aircraft. But that is mostly due to factors beyond your control and no amount of GPU horsepower will fix poor optimisation. You also need to make sure you have the fastest 32 GB RAM available for DCS along with a great CPU and fast SSD.
2. Best GPU for DCS (Mid-Range Option)
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The Nvidia 3070 is a decent performer and it sheds some performance for a reduction in price. Alternatively, you can try getting AMD Radeon 6700 XT at this price point.
Not gonna lie, it is pretty frustrating to make these lists because almost none of the cards are ever in stock. But with some luck and perseverance, I hope you can snag one.
3. Best GPU for DCS (Budget)
- Turing architecture, ray tracing cores, tensor cores, nvidia dlss
- 8gb 256-bit gddr6, 14gbps
Now we are in the budget section and the 2070 still reigns supreme here. You will lose about 6-7% when compared to a 1080Ti but that can easily be fixed by reducing your graphics settings a tiny bit. To me the difference is not noticeable – its not like its going to kill your immersion or anything.
The 2070 is perfectly fine if you have a Rift S, Odyssey+, Cosmos or a mid-range VR headset. If you have a Reverb or Index, then you are better off pairing it with something more powerful.
4. Best GPU for DCS (Used/ Second Hand)
- Real Base Clock: 1556 MHz/Real Boost Clock: 1670 MHz; Memory Detail: 11264MB GDDR5X
- EVGA iCX Technology - 9 additional temp sensors to monitor Memory and VRM
The 1080Ti is on roughly par with the normal 2080 when it comes to performance in DCS VR. It actually outperforms on some metrics, but it is obviously a slightly older architecture. The 1080Ti doesn’t have RTX either, which I personally don’t care about yet anyway. RTX is far away from being applicable to VR anyway.
The reason I recommend the 1080Ti is that you can find it quite easily in the second hand or used market because a lot of folks have upgraded. Which is why this is my top pick if buying second hand.
SLI or Crossfire?
Please don’t! Multi GPU options are really really bad and you should never spend real money on such options.