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Best graphics card: EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2
Best graphics card: 2017 was a hard year for graphics cards. Nvidia’s GTX 10-series hasn’t been upgraded, and AMD’s long-awaited Vega wound up disappointing overall. Worse, cryptocurrency miners drove the price of mainstream cards through the roof. But despite all that, one GPU stood out from the crowd: Nvidia’s $700 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
The GTX 1080 Ti is the first consumer graphics card capable of delivering a no-compromises 4K gaming experience, and it doesn’t run any hotter than the GTX 1080 to do so. Nothing comes close to its prowess—and customized cards push the pedal to the metal even further in both cooling and performance.
Our favorite? EVGA’s GTX 1080 Ti SC2 ($770 on Newegg). Most aftermarket GTX 1080 Tis are gigantic. The SC2 sports a standard dual-slot design, yet it still manages to include a sizeable factory overclock and quiet, efficient cooling bolstered by EVGA’s revolutionary iCX cooling technology.
If the GTX 1080 Ti is too rich for your blood, check out PCWorld’s guide to the best graphics cards for any budget. —Brad Chacos
Best SSD: SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD
It’s been a wild year for lightning-fast SSDs, with Intel’s next-gen Optane SSD 900P bursting onto the scene and Samsung’s 960 Pro still melting benchmarks. But NVMe drives are pricey, and most people’s systems can’t even boot from them. So we’re sticking to SATA SSDs in the traditional 2.5-inch form factor for our top pick, and the best SSD we’ve seen this year is the SanDisk Ultra 3D.
The SanDisk Ultra 3D is an ideal upgrade for your pokey PC. It’s faster than any other TLC-based SSD we’ve tested, which lets it pack a delicious blend of both performance and capacity—the drive is available in up to whopping 2TB capacities. Better yet, it’s affordable, at just $140 for 500GB on Amazon. It’s easily worth your money.
To catch a glimpse of the exotic side of storage, check out Full Nerd’s best PC hardware of 2017. Our enthusiast-focused podcast chose a much, much different SSD for its top pick. —Brad Chacos