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.
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.
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.
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.
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.