DCS-GPU

Best Graphics Card for DCS VR (2020)

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.

Best Premium
Best Used
Value for Money
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
Best Premium
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
Best Used
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
Value for Money
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...

Nvidia RTX 2080Ti (Best Premium)

The 2080Ti 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 2080Ti is still your best bet.

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.

Nvidia RTX 2080 Super (Jack of all, master of none)

The 2080 Super is a decent performer and it sheds some performance for a reduction in price. It’s in a  weird place in my opinion because I don’t feel that price reduction is worth the performance drop. An enthusiast should get the 2080Ti while budget conscious peeps are better off with a used 1080Ti or a 2070.

The 2080 Super is about 4-5% faster than the normal 2080. I think that’s a decent bump in performance. I am not going to comment on value because it is up to you how much your dollars are worth, and prices keep on changing everyday it seems.

DCS-GPU

Testing GPUs

Nvidia GTX 1080Ti (Best second-hand option)

The 1080Ti is on roughly par with the normal 2080 (and better than the 2070) 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. Its not applicable to DCS either.

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.

Nvidia 2070 (Best mid-range)

Now we are in the mid-range section and the 2070 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.

SLI or Crossfire?

Please don’t! Multi GPU options are really really bad and you should never spend real money on such options.

Best Premium
Best Used
Value for Money
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
Best Premium
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI-O11G Overclocked 11G GDDR6 HDMI DP...
Best Used
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming, 11GB GDDR5X, iCX Technology - 9...
Value for Money
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP DirectX 12 VR...
About the Author

Gary (Flanker)

Gary has been "hard landing" into runways and driving his Mitsubishi Evo off of cliffs since the early 2000s. These days, he spends most of his precious hobby time with his favorite flight, racing and space simulations in VR. He also has an Engineering Degree in Computer Science which helps a lot with his obsession with optimizing PC hardware like CPUs, Graphics Cards, VR Headsets, HOTAS, Racing Wheels etc. for high end sims.