Best Graphics Cards for Fortnite at 144Hz and 1080p
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Fortnite was launched more than 2 years ago, in 2017, and quickly became popular due to its unique game mechanics and casual graphics which made it suitable for all age groups. However, Epic Games has continued to update Fortnite and its graphics and overall visual experience have evolved over the years.
While changes are great, such as the ones in Chapter 2, they often result in performance issues with most players complaining about frames per second dropping and GPUs heating up after major Fortnite updates (a lot of that has to do with poor optimization, but is understandable with a game at this scale).
So what can you do to have a better Fortnite experience amidst all these graphics updates? Not much except getting the best graphics card for Fortnite (within your budget) and tweak game settings.
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Why are high FPS important in Fortnite?
Every major online game today has competitive events and popular pros competing at the highest level along with the majority of the community (casual gamers) just playing for enjoyment. The ratio in Fortnite, when it comes to competitive and casual players is staggeringly different because all the cash prize tournaments and events have open qualification criteria, whereby anyone can try to compete and win.
This means there is a lot of competition in Fortnite, and the game’s mechanics have evolved tremendously in the last year – people have moved on from a simple stair and wall push to complex strategies such as side jumps and different retakes which showcase quick player building and editing skills.
With such mechanics, most of the player base, even casual ones, try to look for advantages to make their building and overall gameplay smoother, and as we know frames per second is the most important thing apart from latency when it comes to online gaming (if your frames drop, you can’t build, attack or escape in time).
The desired fps ranges are 120, 144 and 250 since these are the three different refresh rates monitors tend to offer. With 144 Hz being the sweet spot in this range.
Before we list the best graphics cards, it is important to note that most professionals and streamers in Fortnite prefer Nvidia cards and play on 1080p, so this article is mainly going to be focused on Nvidia cards supporting 1080p monitors with a 144 Hz refresh rate or higher.
#1. GTX 1060 (Budget Option – Tweaks Required)
This is a mid-level graphics card in the 10 Series and around 35% less capable than the GTX 1070, but with a few necessary tweaks you can easily bang out constant 144 fps in Fortnite using this card, which is more than enough to make use of a 144Hz refresh rate monitor.
In terms of specs, the card packs a base clock speed of 1500 with, 3 or 6 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory and standard ports. Fundamentally, it’s a powerhouse on a budget that enables you to play a lot of GPU demanding games at decent settings.
One of the best features about GTX 1060 is its minimal size and weight (the 3GB variant comes with a single cooler while the 6GB comes with a dual-cooler config and is bigger) but there’s a disadvantage to its compactness because it cuts down on its thermal headroom which causes it to heat up during intensive processing.
Moneywise, EVGA’s GeForce GTX 1060 isn’t decisively moderate or modest at retail price, but it is possible to find great deals on it, especially in used cards, since the card is part of the older generation.
Note: If your budget limits you to a brand new GTX 1050 or a used GTX 1060, go for a used 1060 for Fortnite.
#2. GTX 1070 (Medium to High Settings)
GTX 1070 is the middle option between GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 in terms of price, but if you’re looking for the best value for your money at 1080p resolution playing Fortnite, GTX 1070 will get the job done and deliver 144 fps right off the bat.
In comparison to the GTX 1060, GTX 1070 delivers around 30% improved performance in Fortnite and excels in all specifications – more memory (8GB), higher memory bandwidth, better floating-point performance, higher texture and pixel rates, more shading units and so on.
With the dual-cooler setup, the card isn’t prone to overheating as quickly either – all in all, making it a great upgrade over the GTX 1060. However, if you’re thinking of playing Fortnite on ultra settings with GTX 1070, you are going to be disappointed when the frame rates drop, especially during heated building, shooting and build-editing sequences.
#3. GTX 1080 Ti (Epic Settings)
Being the top card of the 10th series, GTX 1080 Ti broke all kinds of FPS records when it was initially launched and is still capable of tackling the most demanding titles in 2020.
The GTX 1080 Ti offers a lot of power with its 3584 shading units, 224 texture mapping units, and 88 ROPs. NVIDIA has placed 11,264 MB GDDR5X memory on the card, connected using a 352-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 1481 MHz, while the memory is running at 1376 MHz.
Being a dual-slot card, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti draws power from 1x 6-pin + 1x 8-pin power connectors, with power draw rated at 250W. The card connects with PCI-Express 3.0 x16 a slot and has a dual-cooler config, making it 267mm long.
When gaming on a 1080p monitor Fortnite settings for 1080 Ti can be set to ‘epic’ and the card will hold 144 frames constantly. However, you can push FPS higher by balancing between ultra, medium, and high settings.
Final thoughts (why you don’t need a 2xxx card)
In summary, the best graphics card for Fortnite depends on your needs as well as your budget but when we talk about playing Fortnite on 1080p, cards such as the new RTX 2080 Ti are overkill and should be considered if you want to play the game on resolutions higher than 1080p. While the GTX 2060 and 2070 are great cards coming in at retail prices similar to the 1060 and 1070, but you can get the 10xx variants much cheaper these days on sales and save money while still getting 144 fps in Fortnite.
As a reminder, the point of buying 10xx cards over 2xxx is saving money, so once again, we encourage you to find the cards listed above in used or refurbished (renewed) conditions at cheaper prices. If you’re going to pay retail, then getting a comparable 2xxxx card is a no-brainer. For Fortnite however, a GTX 1070 should fit the bill for most casually-competitive gamers.
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